This week on the GeekNation Pull List: DC Comics launches a new weekly series exploring the future of the New 52, the leader of the X-Men gets a second chance at a childhood he never had, and a new horror/mystery book delves into the makings of serial killers. Check out this week’s comic book reviews below!
From DC: The New 52: Future’s End #1, by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen (Story), and Patrick Zircher (Art)
Time for a confession: I have a problem with weekly comics series.
DC has seemed to be the only major publisher that’s dabbled in doing them for the past several years, and my automatic distrust of weekly comics is their fault. Mostly because the first one I read from them, 52, was awesome: it had their four best writers at the time (Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison[!], Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid), and told a unique story where the DC Universe itself was the star. When DC followed that weekly up with Countdown to Final Crisis, it was a swing and a miss. When they then followed that series up with one focusing on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in Trinity, it was an even further miss. So, by that point, I had pretty much given up on weekly comics from DC.
Fast forward to this week, where DC has already launched a weekly series in the form of Batman Eternal, and now where they introduce us to The New 52: Future’s End. Yes, that’s right: two weeklies. While I enjoyed Eternal‘s first issue, I also enjoyed the first issues for the previously mentioned weeklies that ended up going rather terribly, but I’m always interested when DC introduces a series that they feel can sustain enough story for an entire year (or in Eternal‘s case, more than that). Which brings us to The New 52: Future’s End. As with Eternal, there are some very promising names on the creative team, including Brian Azzarello (Joker, Wonder Woman), and Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Sweet Tooth). The basic premise is this: in the far future, the Brother Eye satellite has managed to infiltrate organic life and conquer the Earth as we know it. In order to try and stop this before it happens, an elderly Bruce Wayne sends the new Batman, Terry McGinnis (of Batman Beyond fame) into the past to make sure that Mr. Terrific doesn’t end up building the satellite. Although Terry manages to get sent into the past, he arrives seven years too late, which is five years in the future of current New 52 comics. This, already, is a mild turn-off, since it’s kind of an outdated yet often used mechanic for time travel stories. I tend to prefer the idea that says if you travel back in time, you’ll create an alternate universe (a la 2009’s Star Trek film).
From the first issue alone, we can see that there are some pretty notable differences that may come to pass in the future. Humanity has been recovering from some undisclosed “war” that tore its way across the Earth, several heroes seem to be in different places, and it looks like an even greater degree of chaos is about to bust loose. The first issue didn’t give us a lot of hints about heavy hitters, but Terry may want to stay away from this era’s Batman if the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue to the series is any indication.
Future’s End looks like an interesting series, but DC generally makes that statement true of the #1 for a new weekly. Whether or not it can keep up the momentum? We’ll just have to wait and see. 8/10
Honorable Mentions from DC This Week: Batman/Superman #10, Green Lantern #31
From Marvel: Cyclops #1 by Greg Rucka (Script) and Russell Dauterman (Art)
Although he’s been the leader of the X-Men for practically its entire existence, Cyclops has probably been one of the least popular. Many readers complain about a perception of rigidity in his character, that he doesn’t listen to his teammates, and that he’s a massive jerk when he seems to have very little right to be. In the wake of Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men event, which saw a Phoenix-possessed Cyclops murder Professor X in cold blood, he became even less of a liked person within the Marvel Universe, especially after his escape from prison and creation of a new team of X-Men to militantly pursue anti-mutant attitudes and forces. Not long after that, though, a series called All New X-Men began, which saw the original lineup of the team – as 16-year-olds no less – make their way into the present. Cyclops was now confronted with the boy he used to be, and for the younger Scott Summers, he had no love for the man he would become.
Which brings us to this new series by highly acclaimed writer Greg Rucka (Lazarus, Gotham Central). The younger Cyclops has left the X-Men, and the planet altogether, after discovering that his father is alive. Not only that, but his dad’s a space pirate, and for a 16-year-old with a wild imagination and more than a few personal problems, going into space and becoming a pirate might be the exact kind of crazy you might get up to.
Beautifully penciled by Russell Dauterman, Cyclops isn’t weighed down by some of the heavy melodrama that can be found in several current X-Men books and instead tells a somewhat glorious tale about a kid who gets another chance to be just that. For most of his life, Cyclops has been burdened with leadership of a group that is both hated and feared by people all around the world, and the fact that he gets to leave that behind for awhile and go into space with his dad in a somewhat whimsical story (at least for the first issue) is…nice. There’s no other word I can use to describe it. I felt happy reading this, because you could tell that not only did Cyclops need this, but even his father is excited about the possibility of having his son back, and living up to his title.
I’ll be really interested to see where this series goes next, because on top of profiling a younger version of one of the most iconic X-Men, there’s a heart to this issue that we should all hope beats through the rest of the series. Because of that, this issue becomes the GeekNation Pull List Pick of the Week. 9/10
Preview pages courtesy of Comic Book Resources.
Honorable Mentions from Marvel This Week: Original Sin #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1.1
From Image: Nailbiter #1 by Joshua Williamson (Script) and Mike Henderson (Art)
I have to admit, I picked this one up solely because I haven’t been grossed out by a comic book cover in a while, and that changed as soon as I saw the cover to Nailbiter #1. I’m not exactly the biggest horror fan, and I can count on one hand the number of horror comics that have legitimately made me afraid (two of which, American Vampire and Severed, are written by the same person). So, going into Nailbiter, I was hoping to be a little bit scared and at least get the intended effect out of it.
Nailbiter did something different, though. It didn’t scare me, but it did intrigue me.
While the premise hints at a Silence of the Lambs-type team-up between law enforcement and murderer, instead the first issue of Nailbiter delves into the world we’ll be getting to know in future issues. There have been several serial killers all born in the same town, but having committed their crimes at different times and in different ways, one of which is Edward “Nailbiter” Warren (see the preview pages below to learn why he earned that moniker). When a police officer travels to this town to try and find some kind of connection, and perhaps a reason behind why this town seems to breed murderers, he disappears, and it’s up to his friend to find him. I don’t want to go into detail about why the series has the title that it does, but suffice it to say, we should be in for an interesting dichotomy as we get a few more issues deep.
While Williamson’s script tends to drag in a couple of spots in the middle, he manages to pick up the intriguing aspects of the plot pretty handily. The characters are written in such a way that you understand they have very human foibles and flaws, which makes them easy to identify, and even empathize with. The bombastic nature of a town that seems to serve serial killers as its primary export is a very interesting premise, and by the end of the first issue, you get the hint that the reason behind this will likely be sinister and unsettling. Mike Henderson’s artwork does a phenomenal job in eliciting a reaction, because he manages to get into the grotesqueness of the titular character in a very unique way. I swear that after reading the first few pages, my fingertips started to hurt. Overall, I liked Nailbiter, and though it wasn’t exactly frightening, I can certainly see how down the road, it could be. 8/10
Honorable Mentions from Independents This Week: Black Dynamite #2, Dead Letters #2
That does it this week on the GeekNation Pull List! As usual, please feel free to leave comments or suggestions below, and have a great week! We’ll be right back here in seven days with a fresh batch of ink and paper, so don’t miss it!
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