Dark Nights: Metal

Going to just fanboy out for a second: this comic f’ing ruled. The cover is the Justice League making devil horns in their formation! It’s really refreshing to see an event book be this entertaining while simultaneously having consequences for the rest of the universe. Like, imagine if a Crisis book was actually fun. I can’t give Scott Synder and Greg Capullo enough props for that. The gist is simple: Batman has been preoccupied investigating the source of the mysterious metals that inhabit that DCU, like Hawkman’s Nth metal or the stuff that powers the Court of Owl’s Talons. It seems to have consumed him to a dangerous degree as people are constantly warning him to stay away. But Batman going to be Batman. Legend has it that the Bat-tribe, Barbatos (Grant Morrison’s excellent contribution to Bat-lore), will use the metal to bring in a dark evil. Is Batman inadvertently bringing in this evil or, like always, does he have a plan to stop it? Mysteries and conspiracies involving the magical community of DC make this a who’s who of fun lesser-used DC characters.

Capullo’s art was always a highlight in their solo Batbooks, but seeing him really let loose on the cosmic scale is amazing. Drawing a Voltron Justice League mech fighting Mongul on the War Planet? Sign me the hell up.

Oh and that last page (no spoilers here): I’m a billion times more excited by this prospect than the Rebirth/Watchmen stuff. It’s the first time in a while that an event book’s last page made me say, “OH SHIT” out loud. They’ve opened an insane floodgate for this event and I can’t wait to see what is going to pour out of it.

This is Idle Time’s 100th weekly New Comic Release post! To commemorate the milestone, we checked in on several other Idlers to see what they’re recommending this week.

Spy Seal #1
Rich Tommaso
Image Comics

Rich Tommaso’s Spy Seal #1 is fun and intriguing from its opening pages. Though Sylvia, a working artist and a bird, alludes to capitalism and a classism in the West that fuels the conflict with Soviet enemies, our spy seal, Malcolm Warner, doesn’t waste time pondering larger issues, and instead quickly reacts to alluring femmes, deadly assassins, and the invitation to join MI-6.

The story seems built on classic spy tropes, but Tommaso enlivens familiar plot points with wonderfully drawn characters and well thought out storyboarding. The comparisons to Herge’s The Adventures of Tin-Tin are hard to miss with Tommaso using the same kinds of lines and color palette of the classic adventure book. While it has some derivative qualities, the story is paced so well that I was more concerned with enjoying the issue than stopping and thinking about its points of convention. These anthropomorphic characters are simple, but convincing, and the landscape filled with 60’s fashion and design makes the book fun to look at.

The bonus “Ninja Fukuroh” story is cute, but it’s like parsley garnish on an already substantial book. The 96 pages of Spy Seal quickly establishes a mystery readers will want to pursue, and sets up for a caper that will no doubt involve globe-hopping and twists and turns. While this book acknowledges that its Cold War setting may resonate with today’s political climate, it doesn’t put messaging over its intriguing scenario and fun characters. It seems appropriate for all ages with a cartoon aesthetic that would fit in with your weekly Sunday comics. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come out weekly, but after this first issue, I’m excited to read Spy Seal #2 next month. – tyrannofloresrex

Silver Surfer #13
Dan Slott & Mike Allred
Marvel Comics

I’m serious: this one made me a little misty. Two of my favorite characters in two of my favorite current comics are nearing the end of their respective stories: Jane Foster in The Mighty Thor, and Norrin Radd’s beloved, Dawn Greenwood, in the pages of Silver Surfer. It’s no secret how much I dig this book, from it’s pre-ANAD beginnings, all the way through the Marvel NOW! iteration. And I’m not recommending that you necessarily pick up this week’s issue #13; I’m telling you to pick up every installment of Slott & Allred’s fantastic trip through the universe, and meet back here for the beginning a two-part retrospective on all the wondrously colorful cosmic craziness that has been the hallmark of this title for more than three years. And if you needed any further proof that true love could transform even the most dispassionately alien of creatures in the Marvel canon, then… little spoiler here: the Surfer grows hair! – MMDG

Astonishing X-Men #2
Charles Soule & Mike Deodato, Jr.
Marvel Comics

Astonishing X-Men #2 is fantastic! I was already excited about this after the first issue, eagerly awaiting the outcome or further plot development, and this second book does not disappoint. Not only is the story enticing, but the imagery and page layout is great. A battle of wits, a Beast fake-out, and a potential ulterior motive…this is shaping up into a Marvel must-read, and definitely one of the best books in their ResurrXion initiative. – LDG

August 9 | New Release Highlights | August 23