The big two are kind of in this weird place where DC is hitting home runs with it’s perennials but stumbling with most of its lower tier characters (Blue Beetle, Cyborg, New Superman, Superwoman, etc) while Marvel is doing the exact opposite with books like Foolkiller, Slapstick, Great Lakes Avengers, Kingpin,Venom, Moon Knight, and Thunderbolts being some of the most inventive and fun to read comics on the shelf. The latest in the House of Ideas’ tsunami of oddball solo titles is Bullseye from Ed Brisson & Guillermo Sanna and it’s another winner. I’m always nervous when a villain gets their own title because it seems like most creators feel a strong urge to make the characters sympathetic or give them an antagonist who is SO much worse than them that they look like the hero in comparison. Luckily that’s not the case here, as Bullseye is as murder-happy as he’s ever been. Brisson’s story sees Bullseye looking for work and finding it with a crime lord whose adult son has been kidnapped by a Colombian cartel. The book has a fast, fun tone to it that contrasts nicely with the amount of casual homicide one would expect from a Bullseye solo story. Sanna’s art is firmly in the neo-noir comics vein but more importantly, he’s great at capturing the Rube Goldberg-esque action that’s inherent to the character’s skill set. Overall this is a ton of fun for what will probably be a solid 5-8 issue run.
Batman #16 is a much needed change of pace for the series after the trippy terror of the I Am Suicide arc and the tearjerker vigilante romance of Rooftops. Don’t get me wrong, this book has been consistently great and Rooftops is two creators who work brilliantly together at the absolute top of their game. But in Batman #16 Bruce, Dick, Jason, and Damien eat dinner at a Batman-themed fast food burger place in Gotham. It’s so silly on the surface and King plays it almost entirely for (very solid) laughs but it also serves to remind us that beneath all of the costumes and adventures and villains that this is about a family, a man and his sons. The purpose for the meal is (of course) Bruce telling the boys to stay out of town because Bane is coming for him, something that obviously isn’t going to happen as we all know. This is a pretty great prologue to what will hopefully be the first great Bane story since…the first Bane story.
I haven’t talked about Monsters Unleashed yet, have I? Well, I’d better make up for it by saying something super inflammatory like…I prefer Greg Land’s second issue to Steve McNiven’s first. That’s right. Take THAT general consensus on a purely subjective assessment of comic artists. Land, well known for ‘heavily referencing’ stills from wrestling and porn (and subsequently being really good at hitting deadlines) does what’s honestly some of his best work in a while here. Of course there’s still a good amount of the stiff posing that’s inherent to his work but the layouts are top notch and his monster designs (you know, the stuff there’s not as much reference for) are absolutely killer. I haven’t mentioned the story yet because…I mean it’s not really important. There’s a bunch of monsters appearing and causing chaos and it’s because of this kid who draws monsters and may or may not be a bad guy (spoiler- he’s not. Don’t blame me, Marvel has already solicited an ongoing for him.) It may sound like I’m down on this book, I’m really not. It’s fluffy and big and fairly fun, which is a nice change from all the UNIVERSE-SHATTERING events of late that have seen characters’ established personalities stretched further than Reed Richards’ limbs.
With two episodes aired, I think I can safely say that I’m a huge fan of the CW’s Sexy-Murder-Archie (or “Riverdale”). The all-American archetypes fit perfectly into the mold of trashy teen dramas and this is one of the best of the genre. The show pretty deftly sets up the character dynamics that have been established over the years and the central murder-mystery is genuinely engaging. The cast is spot on with each actor doing a wonderful job of embodying their characters despite the vastly different tone from the comic. It’s also more beautifully shot than one would expect from this kind of show with a Twin Peaks influence that it wears prominently on its sleeve.