Comics Take It Or Leave It – August 8th 2012

Welcome to this week’s Comics Take It or Leave It.

This was a pretty expensive week for me, a lot of my regular books came out, so I didn’t have much room for things like you saw above, but if you’re looking for a take on some of the more mainstream comics you’ve come to the right place.
Batman #12
I can’t say enough good things about the current volume of Batman. I’ve reviewed several of the issues in the past and they’ve always been stellar. This month’s issue is the beginning of a new story arc and introduces us to Harper Row. You may remember her from issue 7 where she saves the hero’s life. Well issue 12 goes back a ways, and shows us just why she was looking out for the Dark Knight in the first place. Lucky for us with a writer like Scott Snyder we’re bound to find out a lot more about this character as time goes on.

Verdict – Take it, and take everything else, find the issues or pick of the trades this book is fantastic!

Batgirl #12
Batgirl is an interesting book, it’s pretty common for the mantle of a hero to be picked up by various people. It’s even more common for villains. But as is natural eventually you bring the original back, and that’s what Gail Simone did with Batgirl #1 last year, she brought Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair after 20+ years and back to the streets fighting crime. It’s not the best of the Bat books out there, but it’s not bad either. This issue continues a story from pretty much where the last one left off, so if you haven’t been reading you probably won’t know what’s going on. It was a good issue though with a good guest appearance by the other female Bat, Batwoman (confused yet?). Issue 12 is the first since the initial few that I’m actually excited to see what comes next month.

Verdict – Take It – You should probably get issue 11 too, just so you know what’s going on.

Batman & Robin #12
As interesting as the dynamic between Batman and Robin is, I think the relationship between Damian and Bruce is the better one. Unfortunately you really don’t get a lot of that, the story prior to Night of Owls was really looking like it was going in that direction, but apparently not. The current story, while interesting, isn’t really what makes this book good. Dick Grayson and Damian had a much more interesting relationship while he was Batman than Bruce has with his son. The saving grace is the interactions with the previous Robins. It almost makes me wish this book was just Robin and we could see Damian at the very least interacting with Dick, Tim, and Jason on a more regular basis instead of always being at odds with his father.

Verdict – Leave It, nothing really worthwhile happens, wait for the next issue and see what happens.

Gambit #1
I was pretty excited for this book. Growing up in the era of the ‘90s X-Men cartoon, who didn’t love Gambit? Unfortunately the book didn’t live up to what I’ve come to expect from this particular X-Man. The whole thing felt a little forced. They needed Gambit to do things whether they seemed like something he would do or not, so he did them. The whole heist thing is getting a bit overused too. We’ve got Thief of Thieves and Super Crooks already. Do we really need an established SUPERHERO stealing things too? I get it, Gambit was a thief, those are his roots. But now he’s a hero, you don’t just randomly decided one day that you want to go steal things again. Maybe if there had been a catalyst, but so far there isn’t. The art is kind of boring too, and inconsistent. Some pages look great while others are lacking any kind of pop.

Verdict – Leave it, issue one left no reason to keep reading unless you are a die hard Gambit fan

Fantastic Four #609
I was pretty excited for this issue of Fantastic Four, as I’m a big fan of the new artist and really that’s the only reason I’m still reading the book. Overall I don’t follow Marvel’s First Family to much. I picked up the death of Johnny Storm and then 600 onward, but the rest of Hickman’s run is a huge mystery to me. And that leads me to the problem with this issue, I don’t know what’s going on. Who are these future defenders, why does Reed give a damn about helping them? You get a recap in the issue but it’s still confusing and doesn’t really seem to matter. At this point Hickman is just wrapping up all those loose plots before he heads over to Avengers. Good for him to be closing those up, but couldn’t we also be getting some interesting material? On the bright side, Ryan Stegman’s artwork was awesome.

Verdict – Leave It, at this point wait for Fraction and Bagley to take over.

Sensational Spider-Man #33.1
For the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man, Marvel is releasing several interesting stories from Spidey’s past in the form of point one’s from previous titles. Last week was an issue of Peter Parker: Spider-Man and now we get Sensational Spider-Man. And it gets better, they’re getting old Spider-Man writers to come write this stuff. This week we have Tom Defalco penning another Spidey story. And you know what? It’s pretty damn good. The whole thing is from Carlie Cooper, back before she dated and ultimately found out that Pete was Spidey. Bad news is it ends on a cliffhanger so we’ll have to wait for whatever they do next, whether it’s 33.2 or 34.1.

Verdict – Definitely Take It

Spider-Men #4 (of 5)
This is the type of issue I’ve been waiting for since this crossover started. Seeing Pete interact with these people he knows so well in his world, but not at all in the one. It finally feels like Bendis is enjoying what he’s writing again too. I was happy, sad, intrigued, all those fun emotions you want a story to give you. I can only hope the next issue wraps this story up in as good a fashion as issue 4 continued it.

Verdict – Take It, even if you didn’t read the first 3, this issue is worth reading just by itself if you miss Ultimate Peter Parker world.

Scarlet Spider #8
Scarlet Spider is probably my favorite book right now. Chris Yost is doing a great job and Khoi Pham is a respectable replacement for Stegman. The artwork may have taken a hit by the artist change, but the story itself is still fantastic. Kaine is the best parts of what a vigilante is, he’s trying to help people, but on his own terms. If you read issue 7, you know after saving a woman he ends up sleeping with her. That is not a normal Superhero tactic, but it works for him and makes him more human for it.

Verdict – Take it, and pick up the trade that just came out. You won’t be disappointed.

Cover from issue 22 of Venom Venom #22
I’ve really enjoyed Venom so far as a whole. Some issues have been a little boring or forced, but overall I think Rick Remender did a great job taking two characters people have known for years, and made them one, that people will hopefully love for years. That said, issue 22 was good, but not great. We see a lot of Flash’s childhood and how it sucked, but that’s about it. Only the last few pages have any action. Which works I guess, but as Rick Remender’s last issue I wish it would have been a little more epic.

Verdict – Take It, it’s a good goodbye to Remender at the very least.

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