As expected, this week was filled to the brim with fantastic books, and a few unexpected surprises that filled me with absolute glee. It was a fantastic week for comics, with some of the most incredible stories coming to a close, and one-offs filled with great moments by wonderful writers and artists.
By far, the biggest surprise this week is Batman #23, The Brave and the Mold. A one-shot story written by Tom King, with art by Mitch Gerads (the same team we talked about earlier with Mister Miracle). I didn’t know this team-up was happening, but seeing Batman and Swamp Thing team up for an intensely personal story was fantastic.
The art was beautiful, and there were quite a few moments in this that legitimately made me smile, and chuckle to myself. It was small, and personal, and affecting at the end. It’s also my recommendation of the week, which is saying a lot this week. Lastly, a variant cover by Tim Sale also helps a lot.
Superman has been one of the most slow-burn stories in the DC Rebirth era, as far as this main arc is concerned and it’s been intensely satisfying to see it all play out. With that said, there were a few moments in this issue that were genuinely shocking. Lois losing her leg to a rogue piece of shrapnel, and the big reveal of the townsfolk being The Elite, with the big-bad of the story being Manchester Black was great. It wasn’t completely unexpected, with the psychic story notes being so important, but it was nice to see Black used again.
DC Comics had a huge week this week, with The Button conclusion being another massive book. With Batman and Flash hurtling through time, chasing after Thawne before he can reach his own death was incredible, and the moment in which Reverse-Flash finally reached the mysterious “God” was done so well. The instant change from malice to fear was palpable, and did a great job at completing the loop of the story.
The big mystery still at hand, though remains. After the cosmic treadmill falls apart, the two heroes start to drift apart, nearly losing themselves to time, before a voice that had been calling out to Barry tells them to say his name: Jay. Barry repeats the name, unsure of its origin, and out of the Speed Force, and time itself, runs the silver age Flash, Jay Garrick, to the rescue. Unfortunately, Barry isn’t the lightning rod he needs, and after saving them, he’s taken back to his prison. The final moments of the main story, gives us a close-up look at the button after Thawne drops it, with a familiar blue voice-over, and a familiar blue hand picking the button up.
EPILOGUE: The epilogue also gave us a few questions, showing the button floating in space, as we zoom closer and closer. Showing only the red of the bloody button. Afterwards, we zoom back out, revealing Superman’s shield. Or is it someone else’s shield?
Marvel also did a great job of releasing some smaller, more light-hearted books this week, with Nick Fury #2, as well. If you know me, and my love of comics, you’ll know the famed Starman Vol. 2 run is my favorite of all time. James Robinson is an incredible writer, and he showed how much fun he’s having right now with the story, as well. An intensely colored spy romp, that was fun, and charming. It was purposely reminiscent of classic Bond films, and they nailed that tone, perfectly.
Mighty Thor is undoubtedly the most beautiful book in Marvel’s library right now, with Dauterman being a superstar for them in so many ways. This was no different, with his interpretation of the Phoenix Force being the star of this book. I love Jane Foster’s Thor, and her passion and relationship with Mjolnir has reinvigorated the character. Not to mention, having the hammer be the “Tempest Storm” has opened it up to so many new possibilities.
This mostly felt like a stepping stone to many other stories, with the Phoenix heading off to Jean Grey, and Thor prepping for a team up of the ages with the Odinson, and Ultimate Thor. But, as usual, it was a fun read, and the random team up with Quentin Quire was still just so unusual to me, that I couldn’t help but love it.
Marvel’s flagship event also took quite a few leaps forward this week, with Secret Empire #2. To be completely honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the artwork in this series, but up until the end, I was digging the story on this. Dr. Selvig, scattering the cosmic cube shards across the world, to keep out of the reach of Hydra, and our heroes discovering how to track them and save the world? It was pretty great. Even the Darkforce New York stuff was wonderful, with Kingpin securing himself a following for after this is over, knowing full well the heroes will save the world.
They lost me at the very end. When the old “It’s not really Captain America, because there’s two Steve Rogers” thing happened. It was one of the earliest theories, and also the most basic and lazy way to fix this weird story, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. Hopefully in two weeks, we’ll get some more answers, but for now, Secret Empire remains a pretty standard Marvel event: groundbreaking and convoluted.