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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Splash Page Volume 2

For Comics Released June 12, 2013

Welcome, comic fans, to the second volume of The Splash Page!  Hopefully you enjoyed our inaugural edition earlier this week as much as I enjoyed putting it together.  Although Volume 2 is being posted on a Sunday, I would like to be able to move this article to a more regular day each week.  Most likely it will be on Thursdays.  With that in mind, on weeks with multiple spotlight issues, I hope to have 1-2 reviews on Wednesday, The Splash Page on Thursdays, and then any remaining spotlight reviews in the days after.  Anyway, let's dive into the comics which came out this Wednesday.  It was a very light week for me with only five comics to pick up.  After May containing so many weeks with a large amount of comics it was nice to be able to have a little bit of a breather this week.  As you'll see below, it was also a very heavy Marvel week for me.  Despite it being a small week in terms of comics, this week may have been one of the best in the past month as I ended up enjoying every single book I read.  It has been quite a while since that has happened with many of my comics feeling underwhelming for the past few weeks.  So, without further ado, take a look at my thoughts on the comics I picked up this week after the jump!


Astonishing X-men #63
Written by Marjorie Liu, Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta

This issue continues the story of Bobby Drake not exactly acting like himself.  Not only have all of his ex-girlfriends suddenly come back into his life, but now multiple Icemen have shown up and are taking them all somewhere.  Marjorie Liu has been doing a lot of great things with this comic lately.  Not only has the action been fantastic, but the character development has been even better.  Character development is where this issue really is at its strongest.  Iceman, despite being one of the original X-men, does not usually receive a lot of focus, so this arc is looking to be great not only for his development, but that of the women involved in his life.  Where this comic gets a little silly is in its final pages.  Iceman becoming a giant Godzilla-like creature is pretty dumb, but Liu has done so much good on this book that it's easy to have faith that she knows what she is doing.  Hopefully.  Walta's art continues to be great.  Rating: B+

Guardians of the Galaxy #3
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli

After a little bit of a delay, Guardians of the Galaxy is back!  This issue sees the Guaridans being held as prisoners by King J-Son with Groot as their only way of rescue.  It is interesting to see how quickly the narrative is moving in this comic.  We are only three issues in, but the story is on a rapid pace and it seems like it could be heading towards something quite massive.  Most readers will be thrilled to see Groot finally do something after being blown up in the premiere issue.  Groot does not disappoint by any means and makes for some of the best action sequences of the entire issue.  It shows the great talent of McNiven and Pichelli in that Groot's emotions are so obvious even though he can only repeat the same three words.  Where this comic is really getting interesting has nothing to do with the Guardians, but with J-Son and the major forces of the Cosmic Marvel Universe.  Something big is on the way and it just may tie-in to the upcoming crossover "Infinity".  Action, humor, and story come together very well in yet another solid issue from Bendis and company.  Rating: A

Thor: God of Thunder #9
Written by Jason Aaron, Art by Esad Ribic

As the story of Gorr the God Butcher and, now, the God Bomb continues, the three Thors finally stand together for battle.  This issue contains almost non-stop action, something which would normally be a bad move for comics.  Considering this is a story which has been developing for nine issues, however, it feels as though this issue is the beginning of the climax we have anticipated.  All of the character and story development has been leading to this moment and Jason Aaron does not disappoint by any means.  If you have not picked out a favorite of the three Thors yet, this issue makes an excellent case for why King Thor may just be the best of them.  Jason Aaron does a great job of putting just the right amount of humor at the perfect moments (Young Thor coming in riding a space shark was particularly fantastic).  We somehow still have two issues left of this story, but it is finally all coming together.  Aaron and Ribic bring one of the best issues of the series thus far, proving that Thor: God of Thunder just may be the most underrated of Marvel NOW's books.  Easily the best comic to pick up from this week.  Rating: A+


Batman #21
Written by Scott Snyder, Art by Greg Capullo

After months of hype, the start of the next big arc in Batman, "Zero Year," is finally here!  Though this arc comes in highly anticipated, it was still met with a little bit of trepidation from die-hard fans. Frank Miller's Batman Year One is seen as the end all, be all version of Batman's formative years.  In "Zero Year," Scott Snyder seems to honor what has come before him, but also set Bruce Wayne on a new path.  As Batman is only seen on one page of this issue, it is difficult at this point to say if Miller's work is being done away with, but, if it is, that's okay.  The New 52 gives Snyder the opportunity to give Batman a slightly different origin.  This issue very much so feels like a slow burn (the arc is going to last 12 issues after all), but there is a lot of stuff working here.  Little nods are made to Bruce's future and many readers will be happy to see the return of the Red Hood gang and the first appearance of Edward Nygma (aka the Riddler).  Most of this issue appears to be setting the stage, but there is a very well-written flashback between a young Bruce and Thomas Wayne that not only sets up Bruce's reason for coming back to Gotham as an adult, but also gives him his first gadget.  The back-ups for this story come from an interesting idea, but the one here is not anything to write home about.  Overall, though, this is a more than solid first issue that has enough to make this potentially the best story Snyder and Capullo have done since their work on Batman began.  Rating: A+

Spotlight Issue

As this was such a small week, I figured it would be best to have only one spotlight issue.  Although Batman could have easily received a more in-depth analysis , I felt it was worth keeping it in The Splash Page for this week to give it a tad bit of diversity in terms of publishers.  This week's spotlight issue is Superman Unchained #1 by Scott Snyder with art by Jim Lee.  With the release of Man of Steel this week, DC perfectly timed the release of their latest Superman title.  Will this book be enough to save the floundering character in The New 52?  To find out, you're just going to have to click the link to my review below!

  • Superman Unchained #1: Review

If you enjoy The Splash Page or think there is a comic book I should cover, feel free to leave a comment below!  Thanks for reading and see you next week!
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