Before I get into “This Week in Matt Fraction Comics” (stalkingmattfraction.tumblr.com), let’s take a quick look into two of DC’s digital-first offerings – Batman ’66 and Injustice: God Amongst Us. Both these books are INSANE, and I mean that in 2 completely different ways. The former, written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Jonathan Case, is an all new on-going series that takes place in the Mayor Adam West/ Burt Ward 60s Batman series, and is fantastic. Assuming you like your Batman campy, because if you don’t then this book is definitely not for you. I certainly don’t mind, and this book takes advantage of not being restricted to a TV budget, and the results are superb. Well worth the cover price IMO. Injustice:GAU has about a dozen creators attached to it, and is insane because of what goes down in this SUPER GRIMMDARK DCU. The book, a prequel/side story to the hit fighting game, starts off with Superman murdering his wife and unborn child under the influence of Kypronite-infused Scarecrow gas, and contains such moments as Superman, now Emperor of the World, outing Batman’s secret identity via Twitter. It is a GLORIOUS train wreck, one I cannot help but laugh at. Each of these books are $4 a pop and you enjoyment may vary.
Let’s move to the part of the article where I gush about Matt Fraction comics yes? Hawkeye Annual #1 dropped this past week, starring Kate Bishop Hawkeye, not the Hawkguy, continuing to sett up the new status quo on this book. Fraction’s on words, and Javier Pulido, last seen drawing issues 4 & 5 of the main series returns, bringing amazing visuals. Javier drawing kick-ass females come as no suprise to anyone who remembers his time on Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman run. Something I really dug about this issue was how Pulido & Fraction handled Katie-Kate’s internal monologue. Instead of using thought balloons, the creators opted for little panels with a Peanuts-esque Hawkeye waxing poetically, leading to often hilarious results, and was a neat alternative to having thought balloon clog up the page. Having Pulido draw this issue is also very fitting because the issue’s villain , Madam Masque’s, presence in the book is due to events that happens in the 2 issues he drew. For $5, you definitely get your money’s worth with this book, as it’s a fantastic done-in-one that helps build the overall narrative of Fraction’s HAWKGUY series. I’m sure no one is surprised when I say that I loved it.
Another Fraction-penned book with amazing art was collected in FF Volume 1: Fantastic Faux. The first volume of this NOW!-rebooted series does not however, collect the first bunch of issues, rather collects issues 4-8 of the series. The book is being collected in chronological order, meaning you’ll need to buy the first volume of Fantastic Four to get issues #1-3. MARVEL COMICS EVERYONE!
Back to the book itself, these 4 issues are drawn by legendary artist Mike Allred, which is as good as having Jack Kirby back at Marvel, with Joe Quinones swinging by to do a guest issue. Note, Joe is definitely more than ideal to draw this book with Allred is playing catch up, so no complaints on that front. The book is definitely a lot bigger in scope and more dramatic than Hawkguy in terms of tone, but still has some off-beat humor as seen in Fraction’s more personal work. Much like F4, it theme of Family is still a big one, only with a more non-traditional cast. Also Allred was born to drawn the Fantastic Four, so seeing him in action this book is a treat, especially with his wife Laura’s colors bringing Mike’s pencils to life.
In terms of content, the new FF continue to struggle with the slew of problems left as a result of a world without an F4. There also is a ton of stuff done with the Inhumans, which is probably setting the stage for the new Inhuman series Fraction is doing post Infinity, the big Marvel event starting in office. While it doesn’t connect with me on a personal level like Hawkeye does, FF is definitely a great book, and one worthy of your time!
That’s all I was allowed to spend on comics this week. Next time, The Enemy Within concludes, Dazzler: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. hunts the Uncanny X-Men and I take a look at the 3rd volume of Fatale.