This week I trimmed the fat off my list (there’s still a lot to be trimmed, sadly) to make way for the Trinity War which began in Justice League #22, delved deeper into Astro City’s comeback in Astro City #2, fell even more in love with Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men with #8, and remembered why I’ve been loving Tom Taylor’s Injustice with #26.
Weekly Spotlight: Justice League #22
Trinity War, Chapter One: The Death Card
Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis
After two years of teasing and several months of mysterious build-up, the biggest event in New 52 history (hey, it’s been a short history) is finally here. And good grief does it start with a bang. As a mysterious visitor to Madame Xanadu opens her eyes to a vast and terrible future-to-be, we get glimpses of the various Justice Leagues and the Trinity of Sin as pieces long in motion begin to fall perfectly, and terribly, into place.
The Xanadu tarot-reading framework strengthens this huge and sprawling issue in a way which is difficult to articulate but immediately understood. It explains and facilitates the frequent scene-changing and provides the perfect excuse for the knowledge that we as readers need but might otherwise not be privy to. Something much bigger than anyone realized has been working behind the scenes for a long time, and as one card after another falls, we join the Madame in horror at the scale and inevitability of what we already know won’t be ending well.
I’m spotlighting this issue not so I can spend the most time talking about it, but to encourage you to pay attention to Trinity War and to pick up this issue. A lot happens, and the impact will be massive on the entirety of the DCU. I know it’s cliché to point to a crossover and say it will change everything, but history is already being made one issue in, and the cards…they’ve only just begun to fall.
Astro City #2. Astro City #1 was a bit of a surprise for me. Somewhere between Alex Ross’s cover and the old-fashioned feel of the characters, I got a sense that I was revisiting the fabled golden age of comics despite not having ever been there before, and not even really knowing what that means. There was just something tangibly good about it, something which said “this is the superhero comic you were looking for,” and I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was. After another issue, I’m still guessing, but it no longer bothers me. Here we have an entire comic universe which feels familiar and real and refreshingly new all at once, a world in which even a phone-answering desk job takes on an air of thrill and adventure. So many other books dwell on the tension and trust issues between superheroes and everyday people, but Astro City shows a world in which the two have found a way to exist in efficacious harmony. Do yourself a favor and pick up these first two issues. Even if you think you’re tired of cape stories. Because Astro City isn’t a great superhero comic; it’s a great comic that happens to include superheroes.
Uncanny X-Men #8. Let me get my one gripe with this issue out of the way first: if you were hoping for a follow-up to the Strange cliffhanger of the previous issue, you’re going to be disappointed, because Stephen is nowhere to be seen. Magik is back and functioning in her “magicbus” capacity once more, and there’s not so much as a hint of her journey into the past for some mystical R&R, so we’ll just have to wait and assume Bendis will eventually bring it back up. That said, there’s plenty to love in this issue, as the auto-controlling mutant we got a glimpse at a few issues back returns and finds himself at the center of yet another “by the way, things are really bad for new mutants” confrontation, prompting the X-Men to arrive with absolutely fantastic dialogue (some of the best in the series). Meanwhile Scott and Magneto have a conversation they honestly needed to have, and Fabio gets his homecoming wish, albeit with some unforeseen complications. I continue to believe this is the superior Bendis X-book on shelves, and this was one of the best issues yet. Bachalo being back in the saddle certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
Injustice: Gods Among Us #26. I’ll admit, for the past several issues I’ve felt my passion for this book waning. Twice in a row I didn’t even bother to read it until Wednesday, even though it’s a Tuesday release. But this week recaptured my attention, with two brilliant halves (the Kents talking with Lex, and Superman playing chess — in more ways than one — with the Flash) ratcheting up the tension and reminding us that this series is finally truly addressing the complicating factors of both Superman and Batman’s philosophies with dealing with evil in the world, and the slippery slopes that are absolute power and corruption.
Dropped: Batgirl & Suicide Squad. I’ve been sticking with Gail Simone since the beginning but after a generally enjoyable run with the Ventriloquist, she is taking the series down a road I have no interest in following her down. There are some fundamentally silly things going on and even the insanely gorgeous covers (seriously, have you seen them) of these newer issues aren’t enough to keep me picking it up. I don’t know when I’ll be returning, but it’s not this week, and it won’t be next week. As for SS, I have absolutely adored Ales Kot’s first two issues, and will eventually pick up his next two; but with him suddenly no longer on the book after just getting on it, and with him being the only reason I gave it a try in the first place, this was an easy cut. The book may still end up being good (I hear his replacement is more than capable), but when I’m looking at an overlong list and I see a book whose main draw for me is about to go away, the result is fairly predictable.
On the Horizon
It’s worth noting that as I head off to graduate school and am responsible for a great many more bills, my comic reading capacity is going to enter a bit of a crisis mode (and don’t forget, comics are only a recent hobby of mine, whereas gaming — an arguably more expensive lifestyle — is at the core of my avocation and now vocation as well). This means that not every book I want to pull will actually be pulled, and unless I start generating a second source of income (which, hey, I do hope to do, but it’s not there yet) my pull list will increasingly become my go-back-and-pull-eventually list. Meantime, I’ve decided to add to each week’s Weekly Pull the issues I would like to be picking up the following week, based on the solicitation dates I have (I never really know until Monday which issues are definitely coming out). Next week, then, should be Justice League of America #6 (Trinity War: Part Two); Mara #6 (the end of the miniseries, sadly); Supergirl #22; Aphrodite IX #3, and Cyber Force #5 (the last free issue should finally be out). I also have Pandora #2 and Constantine #5 on my list but I’m pretty sure those solicits are out of date. And of course, there’s always another Injustice!