EXTRA! EXTRA! (Jan 30 – Feb 5, 2013)

Avengers #4

(w) Jonathan Hickman (a) Adam Kubert

After a brilliant opening salvo, Jonathan Hickman brings Hyperion back into the fold of the main Marvel universe with a beautifully written and drawn backstory outlining Hyperion’s journey from his dying universe into ours, as well as a great main story about A.I.M. scientists experimenting on one of the Origin Bomb landing sites. Hickman is not one to let plot points dangle, and even though Ex Nihilo and Abyss aren’t trying to remake Earth anymore doesn’t mean their actions don’t have lasting consequences. It also takes a lot of talent to make A.I.M. scientists feel like a real threat, but that’s exactly what’s happened in Avengers #4, which turns the fledgling terrorist organization into a dark and foreboding group that has agendas we won’t see for a while yet. Even though Avengers #4 brings the focus to Hyperion, the entire issue still feels as big and grand as previous three.

GRADE: 9/10

Batman, Incorporated #7
(w) Grant Morrison (a) Chris Burnham

As Grant Morrison starts winding down his years-long Batman epic, Batman Incorporated #7 introduces a more lethal and less subtle version of Leviathan than we’ve ever seen before. And even though we know Talia al Ghul has been behind it all, it’s the concept behind Leviathan that’s become the true villain; Leviathan cannot be defeated because Leviathan is an idea to inspire fascist terror worldwide the same way Batman is an idea to inspire fear in his enemies. At this point, Batman Incorporated is the best Batman series currently being published, most due to the fact that Batman’s history wasn’t erased with the ‘New 52’, meaning Morrison’s epic stayed in-tact and we’re finally getting to a conclusion nearly seven years in the making. Grant Morrison has been molding Batman into a specific image for a long time, and Batman Incorporated #7 signals the beginning of the end, both for the Morrison era of Batman, as well as the war between Batman, Talia, and Damian Wayne — something that will surely have huge ramifications for the Bat Family’s future.

GRADE: 9/10 

Superman #16
(w) Scott Lobdell (a) Kenneth Rocafort

Yet again, Scott Lobdell comes up severely short with Superman #16, a “H’el on Earth” chapter that basically only serves to reiterate what’s been happening in Superboy and Supergirl, even though those aren’t very interesting either. Really, nothing happens in this issue beyond plot exposition and a blink-of-the-eye fight between Superman and H’el  that’s over before the next panel — there’s nothing redeeming about Superman #16 because there’s nothing new. The only saving grace for this issue is Kenneth Rocafort’s gorgeous artwork (how they get such a talented artist to stick with such an awful writer is beyond me). “He’l on Earth” has been a generally disappointing crossover that hasn’t offered much in the way of quality storytelling, cool revelations, or interesting character development.

GRADE: 6/10

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