Each week, CBR has your guide to navigating Wednesday's new and recent comic releases, specials, collected editions and reissues, and we're committed to helping you choose those that are worth your hard-earned cash. It's a little slice of CBR we like to call Major Issues.
If you feel so inclined, you can buy our recommendations directly on comiXology with the links provided. We'll even supply links to the books we're not so hot on, just in case you don't want to take our word for it. Don't forget to let us know what you think of the books this week in the comments! And as always, SPOILERS AHEAD!
WONDER WOMAN: EVOLUTION #1 (DC)
At the end of the Dark Nights: Death Metal crossover, Wonder Woman died after becoming the champion of all that is good and right within the DC Multiverse. And in Wonder Woman: Evolution #1, DC’s Amazon hero finds herself anointed as humanity’s champion once more on a cosmic battlefield as Stephanie Phillips, Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto, Jordie Bellaire and Tom Napolitano’s miniseries kicks off.
Although this first issue sets up the series’ central tale of cosmic judgment, most of it plays out like a fairly standard Wonder Woman adventure. However, there’s a harsh frankness to the philosophical undercurrent of the comic that suggests some intriguing harsh truths could be in Wonder Woman’s future. Similarly, Hawthorne’s take on Wonder Woman seems to synthesize the brutalist flourishes of Frank Miller’s Wonder Woman with a more traditional superhero style, making a compelling start for this series.
DARK AGES #3 (MARVEL)
Tom Taylor knows how to kill superheroes. Between Injustice and DCeased, the writer has made sudden, heart-wrenching superhero deaths a trademark of his work, and that tradition lives on in Dark Ages #3, by Taylor, Iban Coello, Brian Reber and Joe Sabino. In a world where technology was wiped out years ago, Marvel’s surviving heroes try to build a new world while the threat of Apocalypse and the Purple Man looms over the horizon.
This issue mixes moments of deep emotional terror with the gruesome death of a Marvel icon, brilliantly brought to life by Coello and Reber. A dynamic action sequence involving Quicksilver practically leaps off the page, and the comic leaves plenty of room to show off brilliant tweaked designs on the costumes of several major Marvel characters.
X-FORCE #25 (MARVEL)
While the rest of Marvel’s mutants are caught up in the fires of Inferno, Ben Percy, Robert Gill, Guru-eFX and Joe Caramagna give X-Force some time off in X-Force #25. In this milestone issue, Wolverine reveals his previously unmentioned love of surfing as Quentin Quire’s relationship with Phoebe Cuckoo enters its next phase.
While this issue ends with the introduction of a new threat, this is an almost-pastoral issue that dives deep into the psychology of Wolverine in its standout sequence. Gill and Guru-eFX deliver some jaw-dropping scenes of Logan riding building-size waves with vibrant cool colors. While there’s no shortage of Wolverine comics in the world, this proves that there can still be a surprising side to Logan.
DOCTOR WHO: EMPIRE OF THE WOLF #1 (TITAN COMICS)
While the Thirteenth Doctor is currently in a state of ‘Flux’ on Doctor Who, two of her predecessors are on a crash course in Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #1, by Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata, Warnia K. Sahadewa and Comicraft’s Richard Starkings. When former companion Rose Tyler gets mysterious visions, she teams up with an Eighth Doctor who doesn’t know the horrors awaiting him in the future. Meanwhile, the Thirteenth Doctor lands in the sights of another Rose who’s become a tyrannical ruler.
This debut issue spends almost all of its time setting up the miniseries’ time-tossed premise, but it lays everything out well. Houser captures the various voices of the established Doctor Who cast well, and the art finds the right balance between capturing actors’ likenesses and cartoony abstraction. While this is very much an opening salvo, it sets up an intriguing crossover that’s a must-read for fans of its respective leads.
BATMAN #117 (DC COMICS)
With James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey and Clayton Cowles’ Batman #117, the end of the “Fear State” crossover begins, marking Tynion’s last regular issue of his blockbuster Batman run. As the core Bat-Family assembles to take on the militaristic Magistrate, Batman takes the Magistrate’s unhinged paramilitary Peacekeeper on in one final fight.
Although the plot doesn’t contain too many surprises, there are plenty of satisfying character moments, and Jimenez, Morey and Cowles bring the proceedings to life with a masterful Batman fight scene and several poster-worthy splash pages. In the continuing back-up Batgirls story, Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern and Becca Carey keep that energy up with an impressively drawn, punky prelude to the promising upcoming series of the same name.
Although Tynion will pen an epilogue to “Fear State” in an upcoming special, this issue ends his primary run with the same focus on the wider Bat-Family, new characters and relentless high-octane action that made it one of Batman’s defining modern eras.
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