Daredevil #31
Mark Waid
Chris Samnee

After a heavily-padded self-contained issue co-starring the Silver Surfer, Waid and Samnee’s storyline involving a high tech white supremacist organization’s infiltration of the legal system continues. As always, Samnee’s pencils and Rodriguez’s colors look fantastic, especially during action sequences. Unfortunately the writing falls short this issue. The repetitive nature of Waid’s run is much more obvious with this installment. So far we’ve already seen Dardevil being pitted against a far-reaching criminal organization and a villain who attempts to destroy Murdock’s personal life. Even the ways in which the hero’s heightened senses impede and assist him are recycled. Waid incorporating a stand-in Trayvon Martin trial into a story about racists in the judicial system seems obvious in hindsight. Fortunately, his depiction manages to be inoffensive, if not tonally inconsistent when other story elements include villains named The Jester and super-sized flying ants. Hopefully, the book will pick up again after this arc concludes, but it’s still worth reading if only for the art alone.

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3
Nick Spencer
Steve Lieber

One of the newest titles under the Marvel NOW brand is also one of the most surprising hits to come out as of late. Superior Foes is a play on the Superior Spider-Man’s vision of a more enterprising and calculating hero. The book stars the inept villain Boomerang who wants to reinvent himself in the same fashion as Octavius, but he and his would be crew of super-criminals, lack the drive and ability to be effective in any serious manner. This is the basis of the book’s feeling of stagnation. Instead of focusing primarily on criminal exploits it becomes a look into a day in the life of a B-lister with an emphasis on creative storytelling and group dynamics, both of which are done extremely well. In this respect, it can be compared to Hawkeye but the overall objective of the characters to improve their position in life gives it a sense of direction that Hawkeye lacks. Even though Lieber’s art can feel stiff at times, it still fits the tone of the book, and helps convey the humor and light-heartedness of its writing.

Green Lantern #23.3
Charles Soule
Alberto Poticelli

In line with the absence of the DC heroes in the Forever Evil event, this issue focuses on the Green Lantern villain Black Hand. The issue plays to the creative team’s strength in composing horror stories, and reads almost as a stripped down version of Blackest Night, proving at times less can be more. As an introduction to this villain for new readers it covers the basics of what the character’s abilities are and some inclining of his motivations, but beyond that, it leaves more questions than answers. In this respect, the issue shows some self awareness when it comes to Black Hand’s convoluted backstory that compensates for any ambiguity. If the objective of these stand alone issues is to get readers interested enough to follow these characters’ storylines, then the issue succeeds with a fairly harrowing conclusion that begs the question of what will happen when Hal Jordan returns to face down this villain.

Prophet #39
Brandon Graham
Simon Roy
Giannis Milonogiannis
Et. Al
Diehard is one of the many characters from Image’s vast collection of properties that Graham and his team have breathed new life into, and has quickly become a favorite amongst the few who read this title. In this issue we get a glimpse at some pivotal moments in the cyborg’s 10,000 plus years of life as depicted by an assortment of some of the best alternative comic artists in the field today. James Stokoe’s handful of gorgeous hyper detailed pages alone make the issue worth buying. It appears as if each artist is drawing an entirely different character, since Diehard has essentially remade himself time and time again. Each of these stories are powerful in their own regard, but the sum of its parts make the issue something truly special, and perhaps makes this the best single issue of any comic to come out this year.


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