It’s time to look at some new comics! This week we look at Teen Titans # 3, Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man # 6, and Grendel vs. the Shadow Book 2.

Teen Titans # 3

Writer: Will Pfeifer

Art: Kenneth Rocafort

Colors: Dan Brown

Letters: John J. Hill

Cover: Kenneth Rocafort

I’m still on the fence about this re-launched Teen Titans book. People who know me know that I HATED the previous Teen Titans series penned by Scott Lobdell. It was a dreary, pessimistic and annoying series that honestly did not feel like a Teen Titans book at all. I was quite ecstatic to hear it was getting re-launched with a new creative team. And while I’ve enjoyed it so far, parts of it have me on the fence about calling it a great read. It’s still leagues better than the Lobdell era Teen Titans, I can at least say that.

This Issue jumps around the Titans on their “downtime,” specifically focusing on Raven at a bar listening to a band that apparently based themselves off of her superhero persona. Before all of the fighting begins, Raven is losing herself to the music, and accidentally lets her powers loose (but in a safe way, her powers moving to the groove of the music) and when the band and the patrons figure out its Raven, instead of fearing her or hating her (which is something that would have happened in Lobdell’s dreary Titan book), they’re all excited to meet her and thanking her for her superheroics. Seeing Raven this happy, and this loved despite her twisted past made me smile, since this reminded me of the Raven a lot of us know and love.

On the other end, we focus on Bunker and Beast Boy walking home after last issue’s misadventure, when a mugger tries to rob them, and Bunker reacts with a bit too much force, something that Beast Boy brings up. Bunker’s slightly new violent side is starting to bother me. Back in the Lobdell Titans book, Bunker was one of the series’ few saving graces. He was the heart of the team. He was the sole optimist on a team of pessimists and moody jerks. Seeing him act like this is slightly concerning, but I’m waiting to see what the writer is doing with this subplot.

The artwork is okay. It’s a little dirty and rough, but in a good way. I still cannot stand Raven’s stupid New 52 costume, and was really hoping she’d get a new one with this re-launch, but sadly, she’s still sporting her obnoxious bird-girl outfit.

All in all, this Teen Titans is a step above the abysmal Lobdell run of the team, but at the same time it’s still not quite the grand return of the proper Teen Titans people were hoping for. It’s gotten my attention, and the characters are a lot more likable this time around, so I’ll stick around to see if it’s still got some surprises up its sleeve.

Rating:

Story: 3/5

Art: 3/5

Characters: 4/5

Overall: 3.5/5

Recommendation: I’d say give it a shot, and ultimately decide for yourself if this is better or worse than the previous book.

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man # 6

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Color: Justin Ponsor, Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: David Marquez, Justin Ponsor

Answers are finally given to the return of the (very much dead) Peter Parker…Kind of. While I won’t spoil, from everything they said I will state that is very unlikely that he’s a clone, which a lot of people were afraid the answer would be. All in all this was a very emotional issue, as Peter reunites with his loved ones, who are (obviously) glad he’s alive. Of course, as the previous issues have shown, he’s not the only one back from the dead…
On that, the big one on one fight between Miles and Norman Osborn was nothing short of incredible. I’m sure one could cry foul over a rookie like Miles taking down Osborn who (in the Ultimate Marvel Universe) was one of the most dangerous threats out there, by himself. However, they’ve shown before that Mile’s venom blasts (a power unique to him) could mess with Osborn’s superhuman genetics. With that knowledge, Miles (who admits he hasn’t fully tested the limits of this power till now) had the advantage against the Goblin.

One complaint I do have about this current storyline is that it feel like there’s too many subplots going on, and not a lot of concrete answers. We’ve learned (some) of the answers behind Peter’s revival, but there’s other unanswered questions, like the duo Spider-Impostors (who, 6 issues in, haven’t gotten much coverage), and now, with the end of this issue, we have a new twist concerning Miles that needs to be dealt with.

The artwork, once again, is breathtaking. Marquez has some of the best lineart in the business. His unique art style is so detailed and yet stylized at the same time. It makes for a very pleasing reading experience.

Overall, Ultimate Spider-Man is still one of my favorite Marvel books, and while the plot is sagging a bit from several sub-plots, the characters and the artwork more than make up for it. Miles continues to be a compelling character, and I cannot wait to see more of his journey as a superhero.

Rating:

Story: 3.5/5

Art: 5/5

Characters: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Recommendation: A must read! Be sure to support this series!

Grendel vs. the Shadow Book 2

Writer: Matt Wagoner
Art: Matt Wagoner
Colors: Brennan Wagoner
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover: Matt Wagoner, Brennan Wagoner

This mini-series has been a very interesting read. For those wondering why I refer to it as “book 2,” I will explain. While it is not a trade paperback per say, it is essentially two issues fused into one, making it a sort of “mini-TPB.” This mini-series concerns a crossover of two different characters of the darkness. Grendel, the narcissistic and sociopathic criminal mastermind, finds himself transported to New York in the late 1930s, and instead of being concerned with finding a way back home, he instead finds this as a new challenge, to rebuild his criminal empire in “the golden age of mobsters,” and in turn, faces the darkness-allied vigilante the Shadow.

I’ve always loved period superhero stories, especially those of the pulp heroes such as the Green Hornet, the Spirit, and of course, the Shadow. I was not familiar with Hunter Rose aka Grendel until this mini-series, but he is quite an intriguing villainous protagonist. He is a cruel, and unforgiving criminal, but at the same time there’s a charm to his “evil cultured” self that makes him rather likable. He’s not at all concerned by being trapped in the past. In fact, he revels in it. To be surrounded by a generation that knew nothing of television and was quite the literary bunch, Hunter in fact finds himself at home in 1930s high society. Heck, even with his first encounter with the Shadow he’s not angry or upset to have been bested by him. In fact, he was ecstatic to find someone he could call a “worthy adversary” in the past. The Shadow, on the other hand, views this madman almost like a natural enemy, one of his allies commenting that it was “like a mongoose to a cobra.”

On the other end of the spectrum, The Shadow, while still a very imposing and badass hero, is rather weak character wise. He comes off as rather one-dimensional, as this stone-faced “bringer of death” vigilante, and that’s the only side of him we see. Even in his secret identity of Lamont Cranston , he’s still his all-business, stone-faced self. There are no layers to the Shadow. The Shadow is the only side of him we ever see, and that side gets old rather fast. Honestly his supporting characters have more development than he does.
The artwork for this mini-series continues to be a treat. It was a very rough, pulpy style to it that fits perfectly with the story and the genre.
Overall, this is a fun read for those looking for a pulp-inspired comic to read.
Rating:

Story: 4/5

Art: 4/5

Characters: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Recommendation: A must-read for pulp comic enthusiasts, or fans of either Grendel or the Shadow.

And that’s it for this week! What do you guys think of this review series? I would really appreciate some feedback if you feel inclined. 😉