Love Is Love

The most important book on the new releases shelf this week is a trade anthology published by IDW, in conjunction with DC Entertainment. Love Is Love, with dozens of stories, artistic tributes, and messages, is a collaboration organized by Marc Andreyko intended to honor those killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier this year. From the book’s solicitation: “this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics — mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world. All material has been kindly donated by the writers, artists, and editors with all proceeds going to victims, survivors, and their families. Be a part of an historic comics event! It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is that you love.”

2016 has been a helluva year. The Idle Time clubhouse, for all its escapist frivolity and arguments about superpowers or cinematography, has not been immune to the disbelief and confusion brought on by real-world events over the last twelve months. I’m a little tired of being told that “we live in a bubble,” or that “we don’t understand what’s going on in the rest of the country.” What I do understand is that it’s almost 2017 and my nation is still beset with racism, bigotry, rampant misogyny, and hate. As a straight, white male I have a hard time accepting this. I can’t begin to imagine how my gay friends, my Muslim coworkers, or my own daughter feels when any one of them sees the news each day. When they’re told that they don’t understand what’s going on in the world.

I firmly believe that there are more of us that love than hate, more of us that celebrate than destroy. More of us who appreciate diversity than are frightened by things they don’t comprehend. And the more of us need to start affecting the rest of them. Seeing so many artists and writers who I admire come together for a project like Love Is Love exemplifies this. If it takes pinups of Superman waving a rainbow flag, or goofy exchanges between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, to drive the point home, so be it.

The book is only ten bucks, which means that a number of people in my life will be receiving additional belated Christmas gifts this year. As Andreyko points out in the afterword, coming together to create art, raise money, and promote healing is something that artists should do, and have been doing for decades. The existence of this comic doesn’t change what happened, anymore than buying it or owning it will instantly make the world a better place. But it’s a powerful reminder that we can make the world a better place; as the calendar turns over on a new year, we all have another opportunity to share that vision, spread awareness, and love each other all the more.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the aforementioned victims, survivors, and families via Equality Florida. You can learn more about the organization, and find other ways to help or donate, by visiting their website.

Marvel NOW! Week 13
I really hope Marvel keeps giving this guy work. Matthew Rosenberg, who wrote the excellent Civil War II: Kingpin series, and whose currently running 4 Kids Walk into a Bank from Black Mask Studios cracks my list of favorite comics in 2016, brings us the latest “Grounded” Guardian with Rocket Raccoon #1. Along with artist Jorge Coelho, Rosenberg gives us possibly the funniest book in the Marvel NOW! stable which, honestly, is saying something. The comedic corner of the Marvel U has been nailing it in recent months. Even Deadpool makes me chuckle.

file_000-1Rocket hates Earth. I mean, fucking hates it. And after seeing it through his eyes for twenty-odd pages, it’s hard to disagree with the little feller. So howsabout we steal cheeseburgers with Dirty Guy (a homeless vet); toss back fruity cocktails with the superhero who can light on fire (Johnny Storm); and pay a visit to Mr. Soft Teeth (a creepy Skrull who may be Rocket’s ticket off this flarknarding planet). And howsabout we all tell Marvel to keep Rosenberg happy.

file_003All New All Different Marvel: Week 65
Sixty-five weeks after Bendis & Marquez kicked off the ANAD Marvel era with that gorgeous Iron Man relaunch, the same creative team finally puts a bow on the tumultuous, perpetually delayed Civil War II event. As expected, there isn’t much left to spoil, as all of the big revelations have trickled out over the last three months in various Marvel NOW! comics. But it’s a satisfying conclusion to a decent mini series, even if the bulk of the more interesting philosophical differences were explored in tie-ins and companion books. What I’m maybe most excited about, however, are the final visions of Ulysses, each one giving us a wordless glimpse of what’s in store for our favorite heroes in the coming months. The Monsters Unleashed event is featured, as is the currently unfolding Inhumans vs. X-Men. The Miles Morales-Steve Rogers drama isn’t going away, and it looks like Killraven will be making a crossover appearance at some point! Yeah, I’m a sucker for trailers and what’s-next teasers. No apologies.

file_004DC Rebirth: Week 32
DC’s team-crossover event started out fairly strong, climaxing with a confrontation between the good guys and villains, and the second issue tries to build on that excitement. Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #2 is mostly action, seeing each JL member square off against a member of the Squad with mixed results. I like having pages that are dedicated to showing some good Croc on Aquaman fighting, as well as some good repartee between old enemies like Flash and Boomerang, but when reading it, it feels very typical. Though the match ends slightly unexpectedly, the actual fight between the Suicide Squad and Justice League just doesn’t feel like it has real stakes. There is some good mustache-twirling villainy on Amanda Waller’s part, but it seems like Josh Williamson is riding in an old pony show that anyone who grew up with DC cartoons has seen before, if not regular DC comic readers. I do think that Tony Daniels’s work in #2 is a bit of a step down from Jason Fabok’s more detailed style. I think Fabok’s expressions make his characters more interesting looking, and there’s something that feels more sketched, less defined in Daniels’s issue. Still, there are some great fighting panels, and Williamson still has an ace up his sleeve with the Maxwell Lord angle. Though the opening dialogue between the mysterious cadre conspicuously announces the name of each character, their ultimate goal remains a point of intrigue and could shake up the storyline in an interesting way. For now, this book is working as an action story, and anybody looking for costumed punching and kicking won’t be disappointed. – tyrannoflores

December 21 | New Release Highlights | January 4