The final week of June brings a lot of comic books to discuss, so that means I shall dispense with the charming introduction to this segment of ‘catching up on comic books I bought some time ago and am only now getting round to talking about’.
Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #3
Pirate Batman. Brings a smile to my face writing that. Except, it’s not really Pirate Batman, but Batman (lost in time) meeting Blackbeard in 1718, who is searching for treasure in very familiar caves just outside Gotham … Bruce Wayne’s memory is returning, and the Miagani tribe allow him to discover part of his heritage in the course of this adventure, beautifully drawn by Yanick Paquette. This is an inventive and fun story from Grant Morrison, as he slowly returns Bruce Wayne to his own time, including nice linking moments along the way. Very enjoyable.
Fantastic Four #580
Jonathan Hickman tries something different with this issue of Fantastic Four – he goes for a bit of comedy with Impossible Man and Arcade, but it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t help that Neil Edwards’ art (which I don’t particularly like) is totally inappropriate for a whimsical tale involving the silliness of Impy; it requires someone with a more cartoony approach, with a lighter feel to the art. Also, the issue feels completely out of place with the rest of the Hickman run, which seems to be aiming for an expansive sweep in its huge (interminable) build-up to … something. Then, to top it off, the kids in Reed’s new progressive classroom come up with a cure for Ben Grimm, which will make him human for about a week in the year. I know that curing the Thing is always a big part of anyone’s tenure on the Fantastic Four, but this one seems even more out of nowhere and inconsequential, thus diminishing Reed’s attempts even more. I’m really not sure about continuing to buy this any more …
Joe The Barbarian #6
I’m definitely repeating myself when it comes to Joe The Barbarian: enchanting story and art, nice interplay of fiction and reality, kudos to Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy. Let’s assume this will stay the same until the end of the series, shall we?
The good thing about Powers is that it can be unpredictable because Bendis and Oeming can do anything they want to with their own book. This leads us to Walker being heartbroken because his girlfriend has left him because of horrible visions of the future involving Walker. It’s a pretty downbeat issue, with ugly art to match Walker’s mood (although I did like the tribute to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks); it’s not exactly a fun book to read, but at least there’s the last page reveal of the return of Deena, which can only mean that things will get interesting …
X-Factor #205 and #206
This is confusing and embarrassing – it would seem that my records were not accurate; when I thought I should have been talking about X-Factor #204 in my post about books bought on 20 May 2010, I should have been talking about X-Factor #205. I’m such an idiot. So let’s talk about two issues of X-Factor to compensate. Aren’t you lucky?
So, the last issue saw what we thought was the end of Madrox, Longshot and Rictor when they were riddled with bullets in their car – which I definitely remember happening, so I know I have that comic somewhere – only for Peter David to deftly misdirect us (with something he foreshadowed in the last issue). Nicely played, Mr David. I’m not sure about the Bastion part of the story, but the multiple (if you’ll pardon the pun) plot strands are moving along nicely. In issue #206, which has a very good cover from David Yardin, sees the team come together again (apparently due to Longshot, according to him: ‘Any other requests?’) and do battle with the Mutant Response Division. The art from Valentine De Landro is getting better but it can still be quite ugly and inconsistent – X-Factor really needs a regular A-list artist to take it to the next level.