Greetings and thanks for joining us at the only comic book column fortified with 10 essential vitamins and minerals, The Comic Roundup. This week we look at the long awaited first issue of the Age of Ultron, the latest issue of Green Arrow and the origins of the Dark One in the pages of Grimm Universe.
Age of Ultron #1 (of 10)
By Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch
After years of delays, Brian Michael Bendis’s swansong to the Avengers has finally arrived on comic book store shelves. Age of Ultron shows a world were the robot despot has won and what’s left of the Avengers is just fighting for survival. But instead of living up to all the hype, the first issue is a disappointment on a whole slew of levels.
My biggest problem with the first issue is that nothing happens. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Issue #1 is simply a 20 some odd page establishing shot that tells the reader what’s going on and where. This could have been done in three pages, but Bendis loads it with enough filler to last an entire issue.
Part of this may have been so Hitch could dazzle everyone with his art, but I have to be honest, even Hitch seems off his game. He fills the pages with too many panels that are overly detailed and dense that made following the story a chore. I didn’t see any of the skill on display that made The Ultimates one of my favorite comics of all time.
This is just the first issue, so things might turn around. But given Bendis’s track record, I kind of doubt it. I just expect more from a $4 comic than a story that could be told in a few pages. Take my advice and wait for the trade.
Green Arrow #18
By Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino
One of many books that have had trouble finding a direction in the New 52, Green Arrow has been through numerous creative team and style changes since issue #1. Now, Jeff Lemire has come aboard and in just two short issues has blown up (literally) everything that has happened before and turned the book around, giving it a new reason for being and making it a must read each month.
Lemire continues what he started last month in issue #18, ripping Oliver Queen’s world apart and rebuilding it from scratch. Almost everything from the first 16 issues is gone, replaced with a new and improved Green Arrow that has a singular focus and direction.
It’s what the book has needed for a while now, and is a testament to Lemire’s skill with a keyboard. For his part, Sorrentino has redefined the visual look of Green Arrow as well, making it more gritty and real and synching perfectly with what Lemire is trying to accomplish stylistically with the book.
In two short months, Green Arrow has gone from a book I didn’t even think about to a book I can’t think of missing. If you are a fan and gave up on the book early into the reboot, now is a great time to get reacquainted. I get the feeling the ride has only just begun.
Grimm Universe #4
By Anthony Spay
The Dark One has long been the main heavy in Zenescope’s Grimm Universe of titles, making a general nuisance of himself in a variety of ways in numerous titles. Now Zenescope finally presents the Dark One’s origin in the pages of their bimonthly spotlight title, Grimm Universe.
Anthony Spay writes as well as draws the issue, which shows the transformation of Malec from a King to a warlord obsessed with vengeance and finally into the Dark One we all know and love (and by the way, couldn’t someone come up with a better name? The Dark One? Really?). As such, it’s pretty standard fantasy fare. Spay isn’t breaking any new ground or saying anything incredibly original, which actually isn’t a bad thing.
Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to make a really good one, which is what Spay does here. The story is entertaining and polished, the art is solid and well done and the finished product is a comic that anyone would be proud of and any fan would enjoy.
Grimm Universe #4 is a good comic that gives Zenescope fans the origin they have been waiting for. Here’s hoping Spay decides to do more writing and interior art in the future; comics could use more substance over style any day.