Welcome to my Top 3 comics! Here are the best of the best, the creme de la creme, the piece de resistance. One thing I should note: if two comics both receive the same rating score I will break the tie awarding the higher ranking to the book that had that extra something special. Remember, like all my other reviews, this is solely based on comics that I have purchased. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned! Read and enjoy!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #15
A new foe rises in the latest issue of TMNT, a series that had been consistently good and delivered one entertaining story after another. It has been so well received that a spin-off is in the works and with the new animated TV show on the air and a live-action movie slated for release, now is the perfect time to be a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid and will continue to be a fan until the day I die. Turtle power continues on in this month’s offering.
Before even opening the book I have to say the cover is awesome and it just barely missed my Top Three. The expressions on the Turtles’ faces and them being swarmed by crime scene tape are great. I love the beginning of the issue where we get Slash’s origin which really makes me feel for the little guy. The banter between the Turtles is both comedic at times and thought provoking at others.
Donatello: You still worrying about Father’s destroy Shredder manifesto, Mikey?
Michelangelo: No offense, Don, but I hate when you call it that.
Michelangelo doesn’t want to kill the Shredder but Donatello sees it as the logical conclusion.
Michelangelo: But what’s the point of bein’ reincarnated and changed if we still gotta fight just like we’re in olden-times Japan?
Leo is sick of eating pizzas but is even sicker of Splinter’s salty vegetables and rice which he is currently making for them. I get a kick out of Splinter liking Soap Operas which I is a nod to the live-action movies.
Casey: You know, my Mom used to watch Soaps too, but she was a…well, a Mom. Seems to me like, you bein’ an ancient ninja master and all, you’d find this kinda stuff…I dunno…ridiculous.
Casey: Then again, maybe not.
The look on Splinter’s face when Casey calls them ridiculous is priceless. Meanwhile Slash witnesses the Turtles leaping overhead, rips a black t-shirt off of a knocked out crook, and makes his own black mask to emulate them. A really nice scene here. The Turtles arrive at a potential new hideout at an abandoned church but they are not impressed with Donatello’s find.
Michelangelo: Hmm…I thought you said the place was holy, Donnie–not hole-y. Heh.
Donatello: Very funny, Mike. I told you it was abandoned a long time ago. But, hey, that works perfectly for us, right? Who’d come looking for us here?
Raphael: A wrecking ball crew?
Donatello: Suddenly, everyone’s a comedian. Yeesh.
Leonardo: They’re just teasing you, Don. Still, we need to be ready for anything. I once read that samurais entered every room like the roof might cave in any second.
Michelangelo: Did the book say what those old samurai dudes did about giant spiders?
Upon entering, they warm up to the place but on the way out they shine their flashlights revealing an awesome full page spread of Slash. The lighting is perfect and his expression is terrifying. I like how that is followed up by two pages with twelve panels each consisting of the Turtles getting absolutely destroyed by their new foe establishing him as a threat immediately. The Turtles are at Slash’s mercy to end the issue.
The introduction of Slash was something TMNT fans have been clamouring for a while now. What followed was a superb debut that established a terrifying new force while maintaining a foreboding tone throughout. I liked how this issue called back to the events in the TMNT Micro-series: April one shot which also added value to that issue as well as establishing that their tie-ins actually matter and are not some blatant cash crab. The heroes in a half-shell have their work cut out for them in defeating this foe but the resolution should be satisfying nonetheless.
If you had told me 5 years ago that I’d be reading an Aquaman comic I wouldn’t believe you. If you had told me I’d be enjoying it I would have thought you were crazy. If you had told me it would be my second favourite issue of all the releases in one week I’d call you downright insane. The reason for these occurrences? Geoff Johns. I’m a huge fan of his work and he made Aquaman cool. Quite a feat in my books and one that is replicated in this very issue.
A really nice opening flashback to when Arthur is depressed that Black Manta escaped but Vostok tells him it’s all right because they saved the villagers’ lives. Arthur asks why he cares and Vostok replies that he still has a heart just like Arthur does before the scene transitions to the present where Vostok lies dead. Love how after Aquaman chases Black Manta down, the villain salutes him goodbye before teleporting away, taunting the hero and making him even madder than he was before. Aquaman is down in the dumps after this.
Aquaman: I didn’t tell you about the Others or Black Manta because I’m ashamed, Mera. I’m ashamed of who I am. Aquaman is nothing but a costume.
But Mera is there to reassure him, to support him in a very sweet scene.
Mera: Don’t be like the rest of the world, Arthur. Don’t undervalue who Aquaman truly is.
Black Manta is going to give the Scepter to the mystery individual that hired him, an individual that works with Atlanteans, that gave him the spoils of the ship Black Manta and his Father were salvaging before he was murdered by Aquamna, and an individual that has the ability to grant Black Manta the surface world as his own domain. Orm, anyone? Just have to say that in these climatic pages the art team does a nice job in all these panels with the rain and the water effects being pitch perfect. Anyways, what follows is a brutal shot of Aquaman skewering Black Manta’s helmet off his head with his trident. He defeats Black Manta but, after everything he has done to his friends and all the murders he has committed, Aquaman spares his life shockingly. Black Manta is noticeably upset.
Black Manta: No! No, this isn’t done until you kill me. Like Ahab and the monster! Show them what kind of murderer you really are! Kill me!
Aquaman: One day, probably. But not like this. Never like this again.
The day is saved, the relics will be kept safe by the remainder of the Others, and Aquaman bids them farewell for the time being.
Aquaman: We all need to make peace with the past. I’m sorry I refused to do it before, but I won’t let you down again. I won’t forget about you. And know I never did.
Touching indeed. The issue ends with Aquaman and Mera closer than ever and the mystery villain proclaiming that she stands in their way and they need to remove her from the equation.
And thus “The Others” arc comes to a close but not before teasing us with one looming question: who was working with Black Manta? While the answer may be obvious, when did Johns ever deliver us the obvious? Regardless, introducing this many new characters at one time could have been disastrous but the fact is that in this short amount of time I grew to love them and I hope to see them grace the pages of this comic again. As this series primes itself to enter into the crossover with Justice League, the anticipation level grows. Like I said, it’s cool to like Aquaman who has been transformed into one brutal and serious fighter and we have Geoff Johns to thank for that miracle.
Wolverine and the X-Men #19
The search for a new teacher is one and it’s a concept that is sure to produce many hilarious results. Having Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men come out twice in one month makes me question what did I do to deserve such an honor? Last issue didn’t secure the number one crown due to some stiff competition from Batman but this week the spotlight is shone solely on it earning it the distinction of my Comic of the Week.
The issue opens right away with a hilarious scene courtesy of the supervillain known as Swarm who proceeds to get humiliated in defeat.
Swarm: Behold your doom, X-Men! Reveal to Swarm your secrets or feel the sting of my Nazi bees! Wait…what’s…why is the lawn hitting me?! Sting the grass! Sting the grass! Swarm surrenders! I promise you all the honey in the world if you’ll just leave me be!
Meanwhile, Kitty is interviewing potential replacements for the vacant teaching position. The first candidate is Blade. Doop is in the background carrying a practice dummy that looks like the vampire from Twilight with arrows, hatchets, and stakes stabbed into it.
Blade: I would teach your children to hunt and kill the denizens of the night. In my hands, they will become vampire stalkers of the highest order. Those that survive, at least.
Deathlok: Statistically, vampire encounters are common in this era, much like mind control, resurrections and the phenomenon of heroes fighting other heroes.
Elsewhere, the kids and Iceman are volunteering at a relief centre for victims of Phoenix Force-related displacement. He tries to reach though to Idie to no avail.
Iceman: The whole point of the Jean Grey School is to teach you that anything is possible. That no matter the state of the world, there’s always the chance to change it for the better.
Idie: If that’s true, Professor Iceman, then with all due respect…you’re doing a terrible job.
In Beast’s lab it is revealed that…Broo is alive! Thank God! Unfortunately, he has no brain activity and Beast is trying everything to save him including consulting with Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and Peter Parker.
Peter Parker: I just downloaded every text I could find relating to Brood. Unfortunately it looks like they’re all about how to kill them, not save them.
More job interviews continue with even more hilarious results with Doop always hanging around in the background. They include Hellstorm (Doop has shades to protect eyes from the fire), Sasquatch and Puck who think a big qualification to being hired is that they’re Canadian (Doop has an “Eh!” t-shirt on), Longshot who proceeds to rattle off all the Mojoverse shows he’s been on (Doop is holding the banners), and Dr. Nemesis:
Dr. Nemesis: Wait a second, so Wolverine actually is running a school? I could’ve sworn Fantomex was joking. And you expect me, Dr. Nemesis, to teach here? Okay, fine. Just tell me one thing. How liberal is your policy on shooting children in the face with hypodermic needles?
Kitty Pryde: Next!
Dr. Nemesis: Yes, I thought you might say that.
Meanwhile, Toad is talking to Husk who proclaims it’s ridiculous how things went down and she asks him does it look like she needs psychiatric help before the reveal of her face to the reader which is completely messed up with all different powers poking through. Toad wants to come with her but she tells him she has to find her own place in the world first and then she’ll come back for him. Later, Toad is called for a massive cleanup in a bathroom and his rage boils over as he destroys a photo of Wolverine. Trouble on the horizon? While this is happening, Angel takes back his company thanks to Daredevil.
Angel: He’s my legal advisor. I think he’s also Daredevil. Though we’re not supposed to talk about that part.
He appoints the kids from his A.P. Economics class as his new board and Anole proclaims “Let’s buy Disney.” Back at the school, Warbird is teaching class and the scene shifts to Kid Gladiator’s empty chair with the words scratched into it “Tremble for Kid Gladiator was here!” I miss him and hope he comes back soon. More job interviews take place along with their supposed qualifications including Gorilla Man (he’d be the Head of the Department of Good Times), Ghost Rider (penance stare, motorcycles, burning.), Jack Russel (Werewolf by Night, gym teacher by day), Firestar (she says she has a thing for Iceman and wants to see where it goes which peeves off Kitty), Chamber (but he tries to say that he already works there), and Deadpool who just won’t leave.
Deadpool: Hi, I’m Dead–
Kitty Pryde: Next!
Deadpool: I once assassinated a Nobel Prize winner. Does that count as qualifications?
Kitty Pryde: Next!
Deadpool: Please, all I’ve ever wanted in life is a little bit of tenure!
Kitty Pryde: Neeeeeeext!
Deadpool: I promise I’ve never killed any children. Or wait, is that a negative? I’m always willing to learn!
Kitty Pryde: For the love of god, someone get him out of here!
Elsewhere the Hellfire Club is leading Wolverine on a wild goose chase as he tries to track down Broo’s shooter. They lead him to a cemetery which contains all the student’s names on tombstones, graves dug up and empty ready to be filled. A chilling scene indeed. Back at the school, more job interviews with Fat Cobra, Longshot who is still naming shows he’s been on, and Spider-Man who simply just wants to see where Wolverine sits to grade papers. Eventually she finds the perfect candidate in Storm.
Kitty Pryde: Welcome to the Jean Grey School, Storm. Hope you survive the experience. Seriously, this place is kind of a deathtrap.
The issue ends with the Circus coming to town, a murder circus.
Last issue’s ending was shocking and left me saddened by its’ outcome. I came into this issue with a heavy heart and left with optimism at this title’s future. With countless memorable moments, Year 2 of this books looks to deliver more of the same content that had me fall in love with it in the first place. I love how the issue covered so many things without it seeming rushed. I expect nothing less than sheer brilliance from my number one Marvel comic series and I wasn’t disappointed by the results. Well done, Jason Aaron, well done.
So those are my three favourite comics! Agree/Disagree? Comment below!