Superman: Secret Origin #1
Geoff Johns (Writer), Gary Frank (Pencils), Jon Sibal (Inks)
The Good and the Bad: Superman: Secret Origin is a near perfect “jump-on point” for those who haven’t picked up a Superman book in a long time. In this new mini-series Geoff Johns and Gary Frank don’t offer us a mere summary of how Superman came to be, instead they give us a funny and moving coming-of-age story of a small town boy that transitions from adolescent to a young man aware of his capabilities. However, since this is a story about Superman after all, Johns and Frank waste no time jumping straight to the superhero scenes. Right away they gives us the superhero puberty scenes, showing Clark realizing his powers in the most common teenage boy ways. From realizing his bone-breaking strength on the field, to his premature heat discharges with Lana, Johns and Frank win big in drawing the similarities of a hero in the making and the familiar and awkward moments of a young boy. Even though the pacing may be unfolding a little too quickly, we get a much-needed background on how Superman came to be. This is definitely worth checking out.
Avengers: The Initiative #28
Christos N. Gage (Writer), Rafa Sandoval (Pencils), Roger Bonet (Inks), and Edgar Delgado (Colors)
The Good and the Bad: Avengers: The Initiative is one series that’s definitely making the most of the whole Dark Reign thing. As the Avengers Resistance assembles to help some like-minded Initiative members in need, it’s hard not to smile as the whole Marvel sandbox concept gets used to full effect. On a technical level, Avengers: The Initiative #28 is a winner. Christos Gage does a fine job of cramming in some really nice character work among all the clever action. The artists prove that they are certainly up to the task of handling anything (and anyone) that Gage throws at them in an entertaining, slightly chaotic way. That said, it’s unfortunate that the impressive artwork, as a whole, doesn’t really fit the surprisingly dark script all that well. Simply put, it’s too lively and vibrant for the story being told.
The Darkness/Pitt #2
Paul Jenkins (Writer), Dale Keown (Pencils & Inks), and Frank D’Armata (Colors)
The Good and the Bad: I never would have considered the likeable Jackie Estacado to be a racist homophobe until reading The Darkness/Pitt #2, but, Paul Jenkins’ questionable character work aside, the Top Cow mini-series is proving to be a fun, violent romp. The dialogue between Pitt, Estacado, and Timmy is mostly entertaining in that “odd couple” type of way and Dale Keown’s slick, polished artwork is elevated by Frank D’Armata’s moody, dark colors. If you don’t mind a generic, forgettable plot, give the mini-series a look at some point if you are in the mood for something with that special “90s” vibe.
No Hero #7
Warren Ellis (Writer), Juan Jose Ryp (Art), and Digikore Studios (Colors)
The Good and the Bad: Whoa! That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about the conclusion to No Hero. Warren Ellis throws a very cool curveball into the plot that makes main character Josh Carver infinitely more interesting as a character. The downside is that the brutal, violent ending pretty much puts the kibosh on any more exploration of the very character that you’re probably going to want to follow a bit more (though a prequel might work…). Oh well. At least Ellis ends things with one hell of a finish, mostly thanks to the incredibly disturbing, disgusting, detailed artwork provided by the talented Juan Jose Ryp. Whether you want it to or not, because of Ryp’s work, No Hero #7 will stick in your mind for quite some time.