Best Comics in September Part 2: Green Arrow...The Dick We Need
Moon Knight #8
Moon Knight took a long time to interest me, but I'm starting to finally see why the character is brilliant. He's Deadpool without all the bullshit meme stuff attached. Everything that people think they love about Deadpool, they actually love about Moon Knight.
He's the most psychologically damaged protagonist in Marvel. Completely deranged and just barely in control. At times he makes the Scarlet Spider look downright mentally healthy, and now that struggle is starting to come home to roost.
#8 is one of the most cleverly executed comics I've ever seen. Spector is called in to help a hostage situation in One World Trade Center where everyone is understandably a little jumpy. His action is told through security cam feeds and viral videos, with him never appearing in a traditional comic page until the action is over at the very end. It's inventive and keen, but it's also a grand way to look at Spector through the eyes of others.
He's even doing his level best to try and rein himself in, as one of his many personalities gets his police contact to call his doctor while on the case and setting up an attempt to capture himself. In the end, we get Die Hard with an insane superhero instead of an everyman hero cop, and the result is magic.
Rating: 8 of 10
Gotham Academy #1
Here's something you've probably never thought about. A lot of people in Gotham city are rich. Bruce Wayne, sure, but a lot of the bad guys have money as well. Death rays aren't cheap, you know, and some of them come from old families.
So where do their kids go to school?
In this case it's Gotham Academy, Becky Cloonan's teen drama that's set under the shadow of the wider Batman storyline. It's an interesting bit of palate freshener from the otherwise incredible dark goings on in Gotham. We've got Olive, a sophomore girl who hates her life and wishes she could disappear, and the girl she's supposed to be mentoring in the school, Maps Mizoguchi, who happens to be the younger sister of her ex-boyfriend.
If there's one place that Marvel always seems to beat DC it's how Marvel is just plain better at making their weird world very similar to the real one. I think Gotham Academy is probably the best look at regular life in that fantastic city that's ever been penned. It's a little corny and trite, but that actually makes it all the better. I would probably watch a television adaptation of this faster than any Flash series.
Rating 8 of 10.
Green Arrow #35
Green Arrow is kind of a hard hero to like for me because he is obstinately a dick. He really is. He is the worst part of Tony Stark mixed with a complete lack of warmth.
On the other hand, we're finally getting to a world where he may actually be the dick we need (Editor's note: Isn't there a better way to put that?). Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor have further cemented their partnership, vowing to use money where lasers and beating up the mentally ill have failed before. Now don't get me wrong, I actually love the current storyline with Luthor and I really do pray to the comic gods that he ultimately becomes a hero.
However, Bruce Wayne seems to have developed a weird blind spot with Luthor similar to the one he occasionally developed for Harvey Dent in his reformation fits. That scares me because not only are they two of the most brilliant and determined men in the world, their combined wealth could easily make them rulers of the world in all but name.
It's the sort of conglomeration of power that both Wayne and Luthor have prepared against Superman before, but things are slightly different when it's them. Oliver Queen seems to be one of the few holdouts, both financially and spiritually, against the new money order of Lex and Batman. He's just enough of an ass to stand against the deadliest men in the world. I'd keep a close eye on this book.
Rating: 8 of 10
If you're in the mood for a massive space opera then now is the time to jump into Green Lantern. Kyle Rayner is dead, having mastered all the spectrums of light to become the White Lantern and perishing fighting the villain Relic. This opened a hole in the Source Wall, the barrier that surrounds the entire Multiverse.
This action has alerted the New Gods that the barrier can be breached, and therefore the ultimate power that lies beyond the wall can be harnessed to destroy Darkseid once and for all. So begins the New Gods war against the Green Lanterns and possibly all the other wielders of the light. The Highfather of the New Gods has a ring from each corps, but the weapon he fashions is not the divine power of light, but a twisted abomination. This causes him to resume his quest for Kyle Rayner wherever he is.
It's a truly epic story, almost like Game of Thrones in space. Hal Jordan is the perfect;y flawed hero to lead the charge against this enormous threat, and once again it looks like Sinestro may stand with them. The only bad thing about the current series is waiting. This is the sort of giant masterpiece that should be swallowed in one red-eyed gulp. Alas, we have to wait for more.
Rating: 9 of 10.
Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson #1
I always liked Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson novels. There was that one that had the terrible, terrible rape scene in it and I just didn't have the stomach for it any more, but her writing was always solid and Mercy is a gift of a character.
The new comic series is a gem. It feels absolutely perfect, like the novels were given visual life. Mercy and her friends in the werewolf pack stumble across an old mass grave on the land of a legendary old crone who everyone feared. The bodies show signs of ritual mutilation, and now we're into the realm of a new big bad.
Good stuff. Pulp, but that's urban fantasy for you. The explorations of Mercy's step-daughter Jesse and her life at school are a great side-story. It's like looking into an alternative universe where Twilight wasn't terrible. As far as comics from popular book series go, this is probably the best I've ever seen.
Rating: 8 of 10.
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