Once again, quite a few books came out this week that were on my list of purchases. Unlike last week however, I refuse to go over seven or eight books in one week. Instead, I bought five books, and will pick up the other three for next week, which promises to be a much slower time when it comes to my purchases.
First up, from DC, is DEMON KNIGHTS #5. Thankfully, it’s the last issue of taking things slow, with the next installment promising a siege of Little Spring by the ruthless Questing Queen, Mordru the Magician, and the hoard. Last issue gave readers some backstory on The Shining Knight, and this issue reveals some history on Xoristos, the Amazon exiled from her home for as of yet unknown reasons.
The tag line for this issue is “The Enemy Within.” Indeed, one of our seven protagonists does break off and join the hoard, but it’s not individual one might expect unless one is familiar with DC lore. In hindsight, it should have been obvious. As for the cover art, it’s a complete lie. Honestly I shouldn’t make such a big deal about misleading covers, but I enjoy this series immensely, and things like this sour my experience. Otherwise a stellar offering as always, and if I’ve not already made this clear then I say this: buy Demon Knights. It’s one of the few rays of sunlight in a dark relaunch.
Speaking of brightness, GREEN LANTERN #5 takes what could have just been a meaningless cliffhanger from last issue and turns it into a decent character moment for Sinestro and the residents of Korugar. This surprises me, since despite the overall good quality of the series so far, the cliffhangers annoy me. I know that publishers need to engineer ways to keep readers coming back each month. But if one weaves an enjoyable tale, must such contrivances be made?
Regardless, we come to the end of the first story arc in Green Lantern, with the next one being right on its way. At this point, five issues in, I have to ask myself an important question. If I don’t necessarily love a book from issue one, do I have a desire to keep reading here at issue five? My policy on the New 52, and new books in general, is to give a book a story arc to win me over. Roughly four or five issues. For Green Lantern, there’s no question. This story arc ended in a tidy manner (with at least one lingering plot thread left dangling for the future), and I have no intention of dropping it.
Although, both covers on this issue were underwhelming. Usually I can tell which variant cover I enjoy more at a glance. This time, neither stand out or impress like with past covers or covers on other books.
Speaking of other books, RESURRECTION MAN #5 manages to dodge a drop and solidify its place in my pull list. For now at least. Fortunately for it, my policy of waiting to see if a book grabs me paid off, and the injection of character backstory here helps. Like with Demon Knights #5, this issue takes time to develop the characters; from the flashback (with special guest Deathstroke) that explains the origin of (this continuity’s) Mitch Shelley and the Body Doubles, and their regeneration powers; to just a simple line that gives antagonistic angel Suriel some much-needed personal motivation. I personally like that the flashback, without spoiling anything, makes it clear that amnesia was probably the best thing to happen to Mitch.
It also helps that the cliffhanger builds slowly over the course of the issue, and pays off in a clever twist that makes me want to see number six. I’m going to continue on with Resurrection Man, though it’s advisable for people interested in it to go read the previous issues. Unlike Green Lantern, I doubt coming into this series now would make a lot of sense to the uninitiated.
Last of the DC pulls this week is THE SHADE #4. I think giving James Robinson twelve issues in this miniseries was a great idea. It gives the book a chance to breath and build up Shade while also keeping it on a schedule. This issue takes the reader into the past, with Shade teaming up with some WWII era “adventurers” in an effort to save a patriotic industrialist from a Nazi assassination plot. One of the Shade’s strengths as a character is his long history. Multiple times we get hints at adventures the villain had between his “birth” and the present. My guess is James Robinson wants readers to be so tantalized by the possibilities that they’ll clamor for more of the Shade when the limited series ends.
Which is exactly what more writers should be doing. Making readers want to read more by dangling potential stories that are awesome.
Moving into Marvel territory, CARNAGE USA #2…makes me wonder why I’m talking about it so soon after my first impressions of it. Maybe I just bought the first issue well after its release. Nevertheless, issue two continues to astound me. Here, Spiderman escapes Carnage by the skin of his teeth, meeting up with townsfolk who also managed to get away before the Symbiote claimed them.
Meanwhile, the military brings in the only Symbiotes at their disposal: the technologically attuned Scorn, untested yet brimming with potential; and a team of four Special Forces operatives each partnered with a semi-comatose shard of the Hybrid symbiote. On the one hand, a green combatant with a series hate on for Carnage, but with the capacity to turn the tide of battle if only she could learn how to exploit her powers. On the other hand, hardened soldiers with seeming mastery of powerful and specialized symbiotic weapons. But how long will their symbiotes remain “asleep”? And if they wake, can they assert control again? And can they afford such a control crisis in the middle of a battle with Carnage?
All of these questions and points have me on the edge of my seat and awaiting the next issue. Kletus Casady being even more villainous can’t hurt, either.
Next week, or in the next few days, I’ll purchase those books I passed up for now. Those include THE STRAIN #2, THE RAY #2, and SCARLET SPIDER #1.