Jackson is holding down the pull list this week with three of his picks. All-New Wolverine #7 from Marvel Comics impressed him with the emotion it showcased. We Are Robin #11 pulled no punches in exploring difficult topics and Batman #51 rewarded loyal readers with a fantastic issue, both from DC Comics.
Check out all of his reviews below and let us know what you’re reading in the comments!
All-New Wolverine #7
Author: Tom Taylor
Artist: Marcio Takara
Publisher: Marvel Comics
One of the primary benefits of Wolverine being dead has been the way the X-Men books have been able to examine both the positives and negatives of the often divisive de-facto mutant. None have more actively engaged with Logan’s legacy than All-New Wolverine, the comic that bares his name and stars his genetic clone, Laura Kinney. Laura’s been defined both by her similar abilities and both her acceptance and reject of her father figure.
All-New Wolverine #7 is a one-shot that mostly examines the relationship Logan had with those he took under his wing. Still wounded by the rejections of Logan when he was alive, Laura finds herself making the same mistakes with Gabby, one of her clones who she’s now taking care of. Forced to help Squirrel Girl recover an item for a group of rodents, Laura’s given plenty of time to think about the relationship she wanted to have with her father-figure and mentor and the one Gabby clearly wants to have with her. It makes for a somewhat slight issue but the emotions are wonderfully realized by Tom Taylor and gorgeously illustrated by Marcio Takkara.
More than anything, All-New Wolverine #7 showcases just how different of a character Laura is. Where Logan often relished his role as a loner, Laura knows the pain that choice can make and refuses to inflict those same feelings on another person. It’s a potent, relatable character moment, one many readers can surely associate with themselves. That grounding in character rather than posturing, people knowing what they mean to others shows both the strengths of Laura and what makes Logan both a complex, deeply interesting character and the flawed father figure he was to so many.
We Are Robin #11
Author: Lee Bermejo
Artist: Jorge Corona
Publisher: DC Comics
We Are Robin has always frankly engaged with the ugliest parts of Gotham City, the violence, poverty and gang life that is an everyday reality for the city’s less fortunate citizens but this week’s issue, #11 frankly deals with gun violence and a school shooting. It’s a loaded, potent issue, confident in the story it’s telling and the impact it will have on an audience.
For the first time since the “Robin War” crossover, We Are Robin #11 sees the entire Robin gang coming together at Middletown High School to stop Smiley, a homicidal Joker gang member holding the school hostage and murdering indiscriminately. There’s some imagery that’s going to read uncomfortably here for a lot of people, with teenage shooters firing indiscriminately at their classmates, police holding black teenagers at gunpoint and hostages taken and tortured but it’s well realized and maturely dealt with here.
Write Lee Bermejo and Jorge Corona clearly know they’re dealing with potent imagery here and it’s treated both unflinchingly and with respect. It’s an intense situation that realistically pushes Duke and the Robins back to being the heroes they’ve rejected for so long.
We Are Robin #11 ends on a cliffhanger leading into the series’ final issue but it’s clear that the plot of the series has been mostly wrapped up. The real stakes going into the book’s finale will be on what happens to these characters next and who they choose to be. It’s a rare occasion where the emotional stakes are as high as any other and it’s one I can’t wait to see resolve.
Author: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Publisher: DC Comics
The most consistent and consistently excellent run of the New 52, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman has been one of the highest selling comics of the last fives years, for good reason. It’s a rare example of a mainstream superhero comic that feels like an auteur project, an atmospheric psychodrama about self-doubt, responsibility and heroism with the widescreen sensibilities of a blockbuster film.
It’s a book that’s taken readers from the first days of a reckless, rage-filled Bruce Wayne, to the fall of Gotham’s greatest hero and worst villain, to the rise of a new icon, to the return of the Dark Knight. It’d surely be tempting for this creative team to end their run with another blockbuster action sequence but Batman #51 is instead something much quieter, a reflection on what this run means both for Snyder and Capullo and the thousands who read their creation.
Back in the cowl after activating a doomsday protocol, Bruce Wayne’s readjusting to life as a hero with the help of Alfred, who’s still trying to find a way to help his surrogate son give up the life he’s chosen. Their talk is cut short when the city’s hit by a blackout, prompting Batman and the police to hunt down who might be responsible.
What follows is slow and purposeful, with the people Batman’s touched over the last 50 issues looking for answers and checking in on the villains who might be responsible. For fans who’ve read and reread this series, it’s easy to spot the many scenes and sequences that are referenced or twisted here and it’s wonderful to see the real impact Batman’s actions have had on the people he battles and the city he protects in that way.
To reveal who or what’s behind it all would do justice neither to the staggering work of brilliance Snyder and Capullo have crafted here. Batman #51 isn’t just a clever issue, wittingly blending narration from the first issue to new content here, or a smart piece of storytelling, but it’s a love letter to the spirit of collaboration in comics, both work between writers and artists but fans and creators. For readers who’ve been with this book since the first issue, it’s a testament to one of DC’s best characters and two iconic talents of the industry.