Amazing Spider-Man #4
Perfectly competent new character introduction, but I honestly can’t think of much to say about it past that. Introducing characters is easy. Using them interestingly is the real test. B+
Hm. So, Waid’s Daredevil, at its genesis, was about getting the character away from the shadow of Frank Miller. And man, that shadow looms over this issue with its suggestion that Daredevil’s father was abusive and the return of focus to Daredevil’s mother, which was very much a Miller invention. And yet this is also doing goofy adventure fun, and setting up a trip to Wakanda. Which is… I mean, it’s easy to be nervous when the next issue is called “Law of the Jungle.” Plus there’s a lot of sharp political stuff here. All in all, it’s a strange issue that doesn’t quite tip its hand about where it’s going, which is a lot more interesting than Daredevil has been in a while. B+
Doctor Who (Eleventh Doctor) #1
Oh, good – this is the first Al Ewing coming in the list (Al Ewing and Rob Williams, in fact, but I’m not familiar enough with Williams to talk about him in the general case). That’s good – he’s got three books out this week, but I want to talk about this one first. Ewing’s an interesting writer for me. First of all, he’s a long-time fan and Kickstarter backer, full disclosure. And he’s a solid comics writer. He hasn’t, for my money, had his big iconic series yet, but he’s also yet to write anything that didn’t work for me, and I’m really looking forward to the first project where he really nails his colors to the mast and shows what he’s capable of. (I should note I haven’t read his British work yet, only his Marvel stuff.)
And, I mean, the licensed Doctor Who comic was never going to be it. But damn, this is really impressive. it’s easy to do crap with a licensed property like Doctor Who – you get very little room to say anything major or significant about it, because that’s left for the television series. So you’re left with very self-contained, inward focused stories, or very sterile continuity romps.
Ewing and Williams manage to do neither of these, instead telling a story that’s really quite compelling. There are a lot of really good tricks here – a deft use of narration that gives it a sense of size and scope, a really tight theme, a fantastically well-defined character. The result is something that feels like the best bits of the Virgin era – where the grandeur of the Doctor is paired with the everyday in a really compelling, interesting way. There’s a moment where Ewing drops from the narration for a moment, as the Doctor comes back to the main character, who’s clearly (to the reader) suffering from depression. They chased an alien for a bit, then the Doctor left, like he does, and then suddenly he comes back.…