After a short hiatus, the second arc of Velvet begins here with Velvet Tempelton still on the run after being branded as a traitor. However, the spy has more on her mind than simply clearing her name. With the knowledge that the man she loved, and killed under orders (shattering both her life and career as a top ranking field officer), was likewise framed, Velvet has more than enough incentive to return home and begin her own counter-offensive.
Continuing the Cold War spy-story feel of the first arc, Velvet #6 features our heroine return to England, recruit an asset to help her investigation, and begin creating a list of suspects, one of whom is likely ultimately responsible for the deaths of a pair of men she cared and destroying her career within Arc-7 twice.
The brash actions taken by Velvet over the course of the issue, particularly in the final few pages, won’t earn her any new friends in the spy organization still chasing her, but as long as she remains one-step ahead of her pursuers Velvet at least has a chance. Worth a look.
Continuing the “Men of Tomorrow” storyline, Superman #33 sees both Superman and Clark investigate Ulysses‘ origins (which leads to a tearful reunion) while Ulysses, learning about secret identities for the first time, attempts to become acquainted with his new home.
The comic keeps the two heroes apart for much of the story while Clark pumps Perry White for information about the Ulysses Research Laboratory and follows up the leads as Superman, but writer Geoff Johns keeps the pair connected through the shared common themes of heroes raised on worlds far from home. The choice to reunite Neil with his parents is an intriguing one. Along with underlining the threat of Klerik, the comic further sells me on the idea of Ulysses as a genuine hero (while not completely removing my fear of an eventually heel turn for the character).
Clark’s renewed interaction with The Daily Planet staff also brings back more classic elements of the character. Now if they could just get him out of that ridiculous armor. Worth a look.
The latest issue of Atomic Robo: The Knights of the Golden Circle could easily be titled “Atomic Robo and The Great Train Robbery” (which only kinda, sorta goes according to plan). With the help of his new friends, Atomic Robo sets out to rescue a trainload of prisoners and stop the transported weapons and ammunition from reaching it’s destination (which turns out to be easier said than done).
After rescuing the prisoners, but unable to move or destroy the vast weaponary, Robo comes up with a dangerous plan to smuggle himself and the group of cowboys into the enemy camp setting up the final two issues of the series.
Another fun action-packed issue clues us on to the limited time our time-displaced robotic-science adventurer has before he runs out of power while also letting our hero learn just who is behind the abductions leaving a series of empty old west ghost towns while creating weapons for conquest and (one would assume) other nefarious purposes. Must-Read.
[Atomic Robo, $3.50]
Magneto‘s vagabond mission across the globe to unearth who is behind the rise of attacks on mutants leads him to Hong Kong based on the intel provided by his new friend Briar Raleigh. Allowing himself to be taken prisoner, Magneto wakes in a prison where he is put into combat against a Predator X for the enjoyment of paid spectators whose thrill of the fight swiftly evaporates when they discover just who they’ve let in the building.
Although the mutant-hunting creature is harder to deal with than at the peak of his powers, Magneto uses the Predator X’s strengths against it before turning his fury on those in charge of the operation. Despite the fact that the reasons for Cyclops and Emma Frost‘s power loss was explained a month ago (a finale which involved our lead character), Magneto’s power loss hasn’t been fixed (or apparently even yet explained) in this issue. In the overall scope of things Magneto seems to be lagging behind the other X-books. Of course that may be why Marvel has put two issues of the series out in less than a month. Worth a look.
Introduced in Matt Wagner’s Zorro Rides Again series, Lady Zorro is brought out of retirement by Zorro himself who needs her help to recover a sacred Indian war axe, stolen by mercenary soldiers with whom she discovers she has unfinished business.
Although I could have done with a bit less cheesecake from artist Rey Villegas, for a comic titled Lady Zorro it’s certainly nothing unexpected. For those unfamiliar with the character’s origins writer Alex de Campi works in Esmeralda’s troubled past while centering the story around characters and events both crucial to the protection of California and tied to personal vengeance (on both sides after Esmeralda dispatches the female friend of the soldier responsible for the slaughter of her family in a rather brutal manner).
If your interest wasn’t already piqued beforehand, Lady Zorro #1 won’t do much to sell you on the mini-series but Zorro fans will likely enjoy the swordplay and the chance to see Lady Zorro in action once more. For fans.
[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]
And I’m done. I’ve become increasingly less interested in writer Dan Slott’s new version of the Silver Surfer as the series has gone on. Returning Dawn Greenwood to Earth the Surfer encounters the Guardians of the Galaxy (in a shoehorned movie reference) whose treatment of the Marvel Universe’s most noble and tragic character makes as little sense as Slott continuing to fill the Surfer’s dialogue with various pop culture references. Sigh.
Removing his silver coating again (which still makes NO GODDAMN SENSE as it has been long-established that he’s no longer human underneath) we even get Norrin Radd stuffing himself full of Clam Chowder. Groan.
And on attempting to leave our hero finds himself trapped inside the barrier long since removed by Galactus meaning the most interesting aspect not toyed with in Slott’s version of the character (his limitless ability to travel across all of space) has been removed along with his dignity and nobility. Kill me now.
With his brothers dealing with Old Hob and Slash (see last issue), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36 centers on Leonardo and Splinter and the introduction of a new mysterious and meddlesome character who will likely cause the Turtles more than their share of grief in the months to come.
Although we learn the Rat King‘s origins are tied to Kitsune (whom he refers to as a sister), the comic keeps the origins and past (aside from his time as the Pied Piper of Hamelin) obscured. What is clear is the Rat King has plans and designs beyond what Splinter and his son can currently upderstand and believes the Turtles may be the perfect pawns enabling the creature to put his plans into action.
Far less goofy than the character from the classic or current cartoons, this Rat King is more consistent with the comic versions we’ve seen in the past. Whatever the creature’s end goals, the introduction here makes him a major player going forward who likely could tip the balance of power in the Turtles’ war against the Shredder (if only to serve his own ends). Worth a look.
Although the timing of the one-shot seems odd with Howard Chaykin‘s mini-series (and that crappy current-day comic) being Dynamite’s only current titles involving The Shadow, The Shadow #0 offers us an one-shot at the opposite end of the spectrum of Chaykin’s tale be giving us a peek at the vigilante’s earlier days and his ties to an escape artist named Harry Houdini.
Although we get a brief flashback with Lamont Cranston training with the magician, the main focus of writer Cullen Bunn’s story involves Houdini’s competitors targeting the man’s wife after the magician’s death. Knowing what evil lurks in the hearts of men, and with a substantial debt to pay, The Shadow steps in to make things right.
Although the final interaction between The Shadow and the widow is a bit clunky, the use of a secret cabal of magicians as bad guys with all kinds of tricks up their sleeves is an intriguing idea that is left open-ended when the villains manage to allude the vigilante’s usual swift justice. Worth a look.
[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]
She-Hulk #6 continues, and eventually stalls, the Blue File storyline. While offering glimpses worthy of note including resurrecting properties of Angie Huang‘s pet moneky Hei Hei and the fact that She-Hulk is not immune to the mind control involved in making both heroes and villains forget whatever happened in North Dakota (which only kicks in now?), the issue brings the investigation to a halt along with tons of new potential clients for She-Hulk as the comic (apparently) has decided to shelve the storyline (for now) and more in a different direction.
I was less-than-thrilled with switch to Ronald Wimberly’s art beginning last issue, but the Blue File storyline offered an intriguing mystery I wanted to see through. Since that isn’t going to happen any time soon, and the art is even more jarring this month, I’m sad to say I’m probably done with the title. I think Charles Soule has introduced several intriguing ideas for the new series including Jennifer’s Walters’ unorthodox staff and offices catering to super-human characters, but despite my appreciation of the character there’s simply not enough here to bring me back month after month. Pass.
While those behind the scenes, including Maddy, continue to push Fabletown into a war between Rose Red and Snow White, including a spell which puts the two women in off-setting pairs of magical armor, White is far more concerned with the news that an out-of-control Bigby has been sighted in the Mundy world. In a world where symbolism matters far more than it does it ours, it is important to notice Snow White is cast in the black armor suggesting (at least in the view of the person behind the spell) that she has apparently been cast as the villain in Fabletown‘s downfall.
Despite Snow White’s statement of having no interest into going to war with her sister the comic continues to push the story forward. We are also offered more of Lancelot as Rose Red’s lover (and his role as the possible Guinevere in the new story who might betray her to… Snow White?). The shattered Bigby’s return muddies the water a bit (or is it the distraction needed to cause the final wedge between sisters?), and we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for Fabletown’s various magic users to discern the missing piece of the great wolf is being used to control him. Worth a look.