Staff Picks – Week of 20/03/2019

Batman #67
Tom King (w), Lee Weeks, Jorge Fornes (a)
DC Comics

Chief says: Blah, blah, chief picks Batman again! yeah, but what an issue it is, what an arc it’s been, what a run it’s going to be! We’re back into the Knightmares arc after the two-issue break for The
Flash crossover (not written by King) and it’s a hella comeback.

This arc has been one of dream sequences, some featuring Bats held captive, some giving chase (as this issue is) and some not featuring the Detective at all. What they do seem to be doing is moving through parts of Batman’s psyche or personality, in particular where his break-up with Selina Kyle is concerned. Also they seem to concern his effectiveness as Batman. This issue seems to be about the latter, with Bats giving chase to a fedora and trench coat wearing villain, never quite catching him, even having to crash in on a domesticity he might be craving as well as his own loony tunes crossover.

The issue is pretty much silent apart from sound effects and one dialogue sequence and sometimes I have to admit to leaning towards thinking that this is the natural state for comics. Let’s face it, if you had as much inner-monologue going on as the average comics-character, it would be Arkham for you old son. But if Batman is the question, what is the answer? Is it that Batman is strapped to chair being tortured by the Scarecrow as Constantine suggested a few issues back? Or is it something deeper? This issue has me thinking it might be something else. With Lee Week’s and Jorge Fornes Year One-esque pencilling and wonderfully stormy colour-palette I’m thinking that Tom King’s lasting legacy for Batman may be to end the end the Batman, at least as we know him. Time will tell.

West Coast Avengers #9
Kelly Thompson (w), Gang Hyuk Lim (a)
Marvel Comics

Scott says: As we move ever closer to the end of West Coast Avengers (the tenth issue, dropping in April, will be the last of this current incarnation of the SoCal Saviours), it’s as if Marvel are doing their damnedest to make sure we all miss this series as much as physically possible. With the penultimate instalment, this week’s ninth issue, we’re shown everything we’ve loved about this series in abundance. Here for the witty banter? Check. Here for the dynamic, expressive art? Check. Here for the parade of loveable misfits? Checkarooni. It’s all here, in droves, making it all the more bittersweet.

Gang Hyuk Lim’s manga-influenced art is so wonderfully referential without looking like a straight ‘Western manga’. A smooth colour palette, courtesy of Colour Artist Triona Farrell, and a flowing, energetic script (as per) from the Marvel powerhouse that is Kelly Thompson, provide Lim a tremendous platform upon which to really make these characters and this book his own since coming on last issue. My only regret is that we won’t get to see more of his ‘Noh-Varr getting zapped’.

This series deserves to continue. As it is. With this roster. This setting. This creative team. This numbering. Alas, it isn’t meant to be. So savour what we have while we have it and buy issue nine. Buy the whole damn run if you haven’t.