New Comics: The Accused

File_001This week’s The Accused fills in the gap between issues 3 and 4 of Civil War II. Specifically, we are in the gallery and behind closed doors for all the conspiratorial intrigue that takes place during Hawkeye’s month-long trial. There’s no drama in the final verdict: that was revealed two weeks ago (Clint walks!) but this one-shot puts a very different spin on the hero vs. hero conflict that is at the center of the Civil War event. By now, in Week 45 of All New All Different Marvel, readers know that Matt Murdock has returned to New York and is once again practicing law. This time, however, he’s sitting at the other table, as one of the prosecuting attorneys tasked with convincing a jury to convict Clint Barton of murder. And sentence him to death.

This Daredevil vs. Hawkeye showdown doesn’t have the same flash and fury as the imminent melee between the forces of Iron Man and Captain Marvel, but it hinges on a much more polarizing question. Concerns about the extent of government monitoring are complicated and equivocal, all the more so when the entanglement comes from an Inhuman with the ability to predict the future. But when you’re dealing with justifications for a mercy killing, or even assisted suicide, opinions are more defined, both in the Marvel universe as well as our own.

Marc Guggenheim digs into his legal past to script a very believable story, and the fact that Murdock also spiffies up in his other suit to bust some heads helps elevate it beyond the confines of a typical television procedural. Garry Brown & Ramon Bachs provide the gritty realism, with an art style that is reminiscent of courtroom sketch reporters scribbling away under indoor fluorescence amidst a fog of stale coffee. There’s definitely more to the story (which is why we get a one-shot), and in the Mighty Marvel Manner, the widening tapestry of this year’s summer event becomes all the more intriguing thanks to the various tie-ins and crossovers.

DC Rebirth: Week 12
Snyder delivers that Bat-book we’ve been waiting for. It’s great to have a writer add new angles to characters you’re familiar with. Sure, this Batman has a thing for yellow and fist bumps, but the classsic Batman, the detective, the tactician, is still intact. This is one of the first books where the dialogue gives you a sense of what these people are about without being blatantly expository. Even though I’ve seen Two-Face a million times, this book is reminding me why he’s one of the lynchpins of Batman’s rogues gallery. “Embrace your inner villain, folks!” gets close to the iconic “Why so Serious?” in terms of its ability to define a character in few words. I’m normally not a big John Romita, Jr. fan, but his Two-Face work in this book is fantastic, and the guy knows how to panel a book. I’m not crazy about his blocky, angular faces, and some of his action scenes look cheesy, but compared to some of the other books, JR JR is Michelangelo. I’m seeing his work with fresh eyes, thanks in no small part to the teamwork of Danny Miki and Dean White. This is the first book that has a fully colored world, and it’s surprisingly fun to see Batman in the light of day. So far, this book has everything: characters that I want to get closer to, beautiful pages to look at, and a twist that’s got me hankering for the next issue. Truly, an All-Star book. – tyrannofloresrex

August 3 | New Release Highlights | August 17