Comic Book Reviews: Books Released on May 3, 2017

This week I read The Walking Dead #167, Secret Empire #1, Spider-Man #16 and Batman #22. Here are the reviews.

The Walking Dead #167

Official site: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/the-walking-dead-167

I’ve been uninterested with The Walking Dead books for a while… until now. The series has just been kind of redundant. The television show stole much of the thunder and surprise of the books and in their wake was left the shell of a once successful comic book. This book, while not a revelation, introduced something new. This book introduced the possibility of a happy ending, which is dangerous as all happy endings in the past generally ended in tragedy. But in this issue, Kirkman shows that there can be a happy ending despite tragedy and death, and I hope Kirkman stays on this road. A relentlessly sad and pessimistic story line has been done before. We’ve seen that story in past issues and on television. A rough, though hopeful ending is something we haven’t seen in The Walking Dead universe and I am interested in seeing what Kirkman thinks a “happy ending” in The Walking Dead universe would look like.

Score: 7/10

 

Secret Empire (2017) #1

Official site: http://marvel.com/comics/issue/63296/secret_empire_2017_1

Another year has gone by and we have entered the annual, Marvel Comics comic book event. If you haven’t been keeping up, last year the Red Skull used the Cosmic Cube to rewrite history and turn Captain America into a Hydra double agent who was recruited when he was a child. Captain America has been secretly serving Hydra since and has now enacted a plan to take over the planet. This first issue shows that the Captain is mostly successful and now we are watching the rest of the world try to survive Captain America’s totalitarian regime.

While I enjoyed the idea of this book and the Captain America line of books that followed this story, I just can’t shake the feeling that we’re going to inevitably get some reality rewriting moment where everything gets fixed and there are no real consequences. Without lasting consequences in the Marvel Comics universe, why the hell should I care about anything that goes on this book? Well… I don’t care. This was an interesting premise, but as there are likely no lasting consequences, this book is mostly meaningless to me. If it appears otherwise, then my interest in the book may rise again.

Score: 5.5/10

 

Spider-Man (2016) #16

Official site: http://marvel.com/comics/issue/55710/spider-man_2016_16

This issue reminds me of how played out the idea of a dead parent is towards the creation of a superhero. Miles, a high school aged superhero, has not actually lost any of his parents. His uncle is dead, but he was kind of a bad guy. So without that tragedy in his life, he must now have a grown up conversation with his mom after his secret identity is revealed… and it kind of hits the right mark. Imagine if you were a superhero, and your parents figure out you’re a superhero and now your mom is pissed that you lied to her. The conversations pretty much goes about as realistically as it can. Miles’ mom loves him, but she feels betrayed and deceived because despite being his mother and the person Miles likely loves most in this world, he’s lied to her and put himself in danger without her knowledge this entire time. Before his mother found out, Miles had revealed his secret identity to just about every person in his life. Through the art, the writing, and what transpired in prior issues, you really can understand how his mom feels. She loves him, wants him safe, feels like she knows him, and then learns she knows nothing about her own son. Her son thinks so little of her as to tell everyone except her his secret. Her life is a lie. I wonder what will happen next.

Score: 7/10

 

Batman (2016) #22

Official site: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/batman-2016/batman-22

Along with Marvel’s annual comic book event, DC Comics must also do the same. A couple of years ago, we had Flashpoint where the Flash went back in time and ruined the world. Flash eventually fixed everything, but not before substantially changing things and giving DC the opportunity to retell some classic stories, like how the Justice League was originally formed. Subsequently, DC released a standalone book called DC Universe – Rebirth, where it is hinted that some higher power deliberately caused Flashpoint and the changes to the universe that followed. Most importantly, that issue hinted that it was Dr. Manhattan, the all-powerful being from the legendary Watchmen comic books that was responsible. That was a big reveal. Batman #22 continues that story. Batman and the Flash team-up to try to learn the secrets related to the rebirth of the DC Universe and, most likely, are on a collision course with Doctor Manhattan. What’s important to say is that through all of these books, no character has yet to be revealed from the Watchmen universe. We are still not sure who is responsible nor how the Watchmen are involved. What we do know is that the Watchmen are undoubtedly involved and that at some point in the future, we will be treated to seeing the heroes of the DC universe and the Watchmen sharing the same comic book panels. I don’t know how that will play out, but I am heavily invested in seeing that come to fruition.

Score: 7/10

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