By James Tynion IV, Marcio Takara, Alvaro Martinez, Eddy Barrows, Dean White, Brad Anderson, Adriano Lucas, Raul Fernandez & Eber Ferreira
Last week Detective Comics released their milestone 950th issue. However, instead of using the occasion to focus on Batman or one of the title’s other central characters, such as Batwoman, writer James Tynion IV choses to put the spotlight on figures who have not been prominently featured in his run so far. While Orphan and Azrael have functioned well within Tynion’s excellently executed group dynamics, they have not been given the same amount of attention as Spoiler or Red Robin. Tynion rectifies that situation with his anniversary issue.
By Mariko Tamaki and IreneKoh
The IDW line of Ninja Turtles has a great track record with Ninja Turtles spinoff mini-series. Every one helps to develop the world built by the main series and spotlights characters that sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Utrom Empire focused on the history of General Krang and his motivatrions. The excellent Mutanimals followed Old Hob’s rag-tag team of mutants that is almost as much of a family as the Green Machine. All of the minis make the world of the Turtles seem even bigger.
In this mini-series, Casey and April go on a road trip to learn more about the immortals that have been playing them all like a game of chess from the start. In Ninja Turtles #46 April had taken a scroll from Professor Miller just before he was killed. The scroll has references to the Mojave Desert, so she and Casey go to investigate.
The majority of this issue is character building, which is good. Sometimes Casey and April can get lost in the shuffle of the huge cast. They could use a mini series to develop their relationship. April come from an affluent family of scientists. After Casey’s mother died, Casey’s dad became an abusive alcoholic. I really like how April could come off as insensitive just by accident. They grew up in two completely different households, so sometimes she didn’t grasp the implications of what he’d said. I liked that they weren’t fighting, they were just acknowledging their differences.
After that, though, they spent a lot of time arguing, especially after Casey got into a fight at a diner. I don’t really enjoy listening to couples fighting for several pages, so it got tedious. The fighting continued until the end of the story, when they were tricked into separating by the Rat King. I was beginning to lose interest until he showed up. The Rat King, also known as the Pied Piper of Hamelin, had a fantastic introduction in TMNT #36, and I’m curious to see what he does.
Overall, I’m not sure how to feel about this issue. I’ll keep reading the mini series for the world building, but I hope Casey and April don’t spend the entire time arguing. It could get really old really quickly. Hopefully they’ll focus on finally explaining the endgame of the immortals, because they have been a fascinating and enigmatic part of the IDW universe.
Writer James Robinson throws his hat in the Secret Wars zany tie ins ring on Armor Wars. a debut issue that is a mixed bag with strong points and weak spots in equal measure. Similar to Infinity Gauntlet, Armor Wars is almost nothing like the old story line that shares it’s name. Instead, the comic shows a Fritz Langesque Metropolis style city called Technopolis (BOOM!!!!!) where the Tony Stark Iron Man is a baron and in corporate competition with his brother for control of the city. Much of Robinson’s strengths and weaknesses of late are in full display on Armor Wars. On the one hand, there is some really cool idea’s here and potential for allegory of the inherent limits of control in free market capitalism. On the other, much of the book is driven by unnatural exposition going over detailed aspects of the back story that basically leaves most of the plot in a holding pattern after the books dynamic opening sequence. Artists Marcio Takara is a revelation in his visual story telling. He draws a fluid narrative that feels like a splice between cartoonish and classical style painting which sells the settings premise. His character work and action sequences are the best parts of the book and carry the comic in it’s weaker moments. In the end, it’s Takara that gives the debut it’s life. Armor Wars is probably the most middling of all the Secret Wars tie ins, there are moments of inspiration and the potential is there but it’s structure and reliance on short cuts in the writing holds it back from realizing it’s ambitions. In some ways it’s good, just not good enough to overcome it’s flaws.