September 20th, 2023
Predator Versus Wolverine #1 - Logan's young and old are pursued by the galaxies greatest hunter in this epic crossover. Epic crossovers are nothing new for the Predator, having squared off against the likes of Batman, Judge Dredd, and even the Archies during its Dark Horse run. Now a Disney property, a head to head with Marvel's mightiest heroes was inevitable. There’s no better character for this fight than Wolverine and no writer better than Benjamin Percy to deliver it. His work on the characters current ongoing series has been one the most consistently awesome books in the crowded field of X titles. There, and in the recent Ghost Rider crossover, Percy’s writing embraces the best of 90’s era Marvel. High on action, not afraid to embrace the over the top or schlocky, without the self-aware snark that often deflates the tension and drama of otherwise good stories. On a snowy frontier, a young drifter named Logan takes on a dangerous job for a desperate man. A forest full of skinned bodies is the first hint that something worse than outlaws haunt the woods, and soon our hero is on the run from an invisible enemy. Years later in the not quite present day a team of commandos enters the south American jungle in pursuit of a guerilla army, only to find an eerily familiar massacre and a hunter determined to take on the one that got away. The many artists on this book (Ken Lashley, Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Andrea Di Vito) also deserve a shout out for the distinctive look given to the stories' two timelines.
Tenement #4 - The netherworld of Tenement grows deeper and stranger still. The disparate denizens of the tenement remain lost in a dark realm that defies the logic of geography and time. From panel to panel, characters are separated, reunited, lost and found again, not unlike the way they lived as neighbors beforehand. But the random crossing of paths has taken on deadly importance. The nightmare labyrinth threatens them with deadly traps, and the masked beings that live in this Lovecraftian realm lay in wait, wearing familiar faces. The events of the book, and the art that depicts them, are becoming increasingly abstract with every page, elevating the tone from unsettling to disturbing. Lemire and Sorrentino are delivering little in the way of explanation, opting for vibes over plot, letting character and atmosphere carry this series. This has been my favorite of the Bone Orchard comics thus far, a horror story that is both supernatural and sociological.
Hexagon Bridge #1 - An intriguing new sci-fi story from comics newcomer Richard Blake. In the far future a bridge to another dimension is discovered. It is a world of shifting landscapes and spontaneously generating architecture. Explorers that we are, mankind dispatches cartographers to prepare the way for future explorers, only to lose all contact with the expedition. The extra-dimensional castaways are Elena and Jacob, a married couple, now separated not only from earth but each other, adrift in a world that seems to be made of both matter and memory. The beings that dwell in, and perhaps control, this dimension begin to make themselves known, but not understood in this debut issue. Blake is taking time building the mystery, opting for dialogue and narration that suggests more than it explains. This is hardly a fault as this book's greatest asset is the art. There is a hint of Moebius in the design of the future earth, while the world of the bridge evokes Inception with its mutable landscapes where architecture and landscape coalesce and evaporate like mist. A beautiful start for a new voice in the medium.
Uncanny Spider-Man #1 - Nightcrawler merges with Spider-Man in Uncanny Spider-Man #1! After the unfortunate events during the Hellfire Gala, Kurt Wagner is on the run and has borrowed a suit from everyone's favorite webhead. He wants to approach crime-fighting in an all new (but true to himself) way in this brand new run. Nightcrawler as Spider-Man is definitely an outside the box approach to this character, however as I flipped through the pages I noticed it was such a natural fit that left me wondering how we haven’t received this before. This issue had everything you could want out of a current title. Charming humor, a slightly awkward conversation with Peter Parker and wonderfully illustrated crime-stopping; I got so much more out of this issue than I thought I would jumping in initially and I definitely recommend it! Also, the dynamic duo of Si Spurrier as writer and Lee Garbett as illustrator should be enough incentive to pick this book up.
Wonder Woman #1 - This first issue of Wonder Woman’s new story was fantastic, yet familiar. It asks how a foreign nation exclusively populated by women would be perceived by the United States in modern times. An Amazon named Emelie was enjoying a night out at a pool bar when she was harassed by a group of men. She retaliated, murdering 19 of them in the process and leaving the only two women in the bar untouched, thus setting off a series of nation-wide debates concerning the safety of American men. With each page turn, tensions rise between the United States and Themyscira as the U.S. does its best to implement anti-Amazon laws no matter how cruel. These laws allow the story to touch on serious themes, such as immigration laws, institutional and societal misogyny, etc. Though the narration and dialogue can definitely be off-putting (Bordering on overwhelming at times) the story does a great job overall at setting the pace and immersing you. The art by Daniel Sampere and coloring by Tomeu Morey was fantastic and there’s a particular panel that comes to mind of Diana choking one of the soldiers out with the lasso that I felt was perfect. This being a first issue, it was filled with build-up presented in a very “Tom King Way” before we even see Diana, however after the story sets the pace, her concurrent reveal and battle with Sarge Steel is immensely satisfying and nothing short of glorious!
Captain America #1 - The newest Captain America run by J. Michael Straczynski promises to be a good one with this grounded and retrospective look at Steve Rogers. Steve has taken on the role of a landlord for the building he grew up in after finding out the owner was in the process of vacating the unit and leaving the tenants homeless. As he works, he talks with some of the residents and neighbors and looks back on various moments from his life (or as he refers to them, stories) and how they shaped him to be the man he is today. This issue was actually very reminiscent of some of the stories found in the previous Captain America #750, and it seems like going forward Captain America is going to have an even bigger focus on legacy. If you’ve never picked up a Captain America story, this issue would definitely be a good starting point as it shows Steve well-adjusted to life as Captain America, but showing off new stories of his past never before seen. There is a page set before he became the shielded hero where he is rejecting financial help from a close childhood friend after the death of his mother stating “I need to do it on my own.” Paired with the fantastic illustration by Jesús Saiz this comic wonderfully captures the spirit of the character. Issues like this really help you appreciate Steve as a character, as you can’t help but root for him through everything. Again, this run promises to be a good one so grab a copy today!