New Comics Week 3/16/16: In Which Tony Takes a Trip

I won’t go on too long about American Alien again, but man was this issue a joy. Armed with a cape he stole when he easily handled Batman’s ambush, Clark is flying around the city doing good as…The Flying Man! So most of this ish is about finding his name. Landis does great work with both Lois and Lex here and Francis Manapul’s work is truly gorgeous. If issues 2 and 3 veered a little to far away from traditional interpretations of Superman for you, this one should restore your faith in what this book is trying to accomplish. It’s funny, sweet, and most importantly optimistic.

It’s kind of funny to think back to when the All-New All-Different books were being announced and the overwhelmingly negative reaction that greeted the single image of a very pregnant Jessica Drew. Several months and five issues later and most people agree that Spider-Woman is one of the best comics that Marvel is publishing right now. This week’s issue five gives us our first taste of new-mommy Jess and it’s positively delightful. A lot of it is stuff you’ve seen done on sitcoms before- the exhaustion, the fear of leaving the baby with a sitter, the alienation from your non-parent friends, and of course the existential terror of being responsible for turning a little blob into a contributing member of society. Hopeless once again juggles all of this masterfully. Jess’ rants are funny, but more importantly feel very real, specifically her conversation with Carol about the icky kinds of thoughts that spring into her stressed out tired mind. Javier Rodriguez continues to shine, with his brilliant layouts adding so much to what could easily just be talking head scenes. His choice to render all of Jessica’s super-bffs as black silhouettes and the emoji type symbols used for their dialogue during her first night out really underlines the separation Jess feels from her peers without her having to say that out loud is a masterpiece of sequential storytelling. If you haven’t picked this book up yet, DO IT NOW.
I’m a bit torn on International Iron Man. I love Bendis and Maleev working together again. I love Tony. I love the trip into Tony’s college days. What I don’t love is retcon that came about, I believe, in Kieron Gillen’s run on the book that saw Tony Stark finding out he was adopted. Granted, I haven’t read Gillen’s Iron Man (though aside from the revelation, I don’t think there’s much to know) but I just can’t see a compelling reason to make this change. I could be wrong, but I’ve been reading comics for a little bit, so where I see this going is Tony finding out his dad was someone or something other than just a guy (granted, he was a titan of industry, but still just kind of a jerky absent guy). It’s like when Richard and Mary Parker got retconned to be super-spies. It kind of takes away the randomness of the universe and it takes away the idea that these are just normal people, thrown into extraordinary circumstances who then rise to the occasion. STILL, this was an incredibly solid issue on all fronts. The writing is snappy and the art is fantastic and the plot has a bit of potential. Its tone and scope make it separate enough from the Invincible Iron Man series that there’s actually a compelling reason to pick it up if you’ve been enjoying what Bendis is doing.

Doorman is the latest launch from Heavy Metal’s new line of comics and once again, I’m really pleased. It’s a simple elevator pitch- On every world in the universe there is a door that can take you to any other door. Every door has a doorman who guards the portal. So why would somebody be killing all the doormen? The book is a fast, fun ride that reminded me of the better parts of the Men in Black movies. Kendall Goode’s art is clean and just cartoony enough to sell all of the weirdness without accidentally lowering the stakes of the situation and Eliot Rahal keeps enough twists and turns coming that the pace of the issue never slows down. If any of this sounds up your alley, buy this book and support weird sci-fi comics.


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