Relationships Matter

Proof From Marvel, DC, and Image

This week, some of the most interesting new comics are the ones that focus on relationships. These can be romantic, like the current fling between Superman and Wonder Woman in their shared title; or, they can be platonic, like the one teammates Nightcrawler and Rachel Grey share. They can even be downright antagonistic, as Rick and Negan demonstrate in the latest issue of The Walking Dead. To get a better look at these relationships, and to see why the issues featuring them are the best new comics for the week of April 9, 2014, let's get to the reviews.

The Walking Dead Issue No. 125

"All-Out War" Chapter 11 of 12

As this issue begins, unrepentant bad guy Negan has been temporarily beaten and sent to lick his wounds by Rick and friends. But Negan still has no intention of giving up, fantasizing about a shower he is going to provide once he conquers all the human outposts and temporary communities. And it totally looks like he might get his wish, as survivors of the fight with Negan are falling ill thanks to zombie-contaminated arrow-tips and knives. The issue concludes with, of all things, a debate about sound economic principles in a post-apocalyptic world, which calls to mind the old chestnut about never bringing insightful rhetoric to a knife fight.

The Walking Dead issue no. 125 is written by Robert Kirkman, with art by Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, and Cliff Rathburn.

Nightcrawler Issue No. 1

Claremont is Back (and so is Kurt)

Nightcrawler is a new X-men title that features the return of Kurt Wagner, who was dead for a little bit, but he got better. But perhaps even more exciting than the return of the teleporting blue elf is the return of writer Chris Claremont to the X-Universe he helped to shape over 17 years of writing X-Men comics in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Clarement has remained under exclusive contract with Marvel for the last half-decade, but with the exception of a short story published in X-Men: GoldNightcrawler is the first book he has written for Marvel in that time span. So clearly there is a bit of anticipation for this new series.

Does it live up to the hype, then? In a word, yes. It's clear from the first page that Claremont has not lost the voices for characters he has written thousands of times in the past. Fortunately, he also hasn't run out of new stories to tell with those characters, even if he has been given plotlines from other writers that tread familiar ground, such as a principle cast member losing their powers (something that is guaranteed to be temporary).

Claremont is aided and abetted by fun artist Todd Nauck, who clearly visualizes the settings for Kurt's adventures, and then peppers those settings with interesting elements like the curious Bamf creatures.

And for those who worried that the mention of a platonic relationship earlier meant that Kurt has no love interest, don't worry, as Nightcrawler's long-term and long-forgotten girlfriend Amanda Sefton is back with this issue as well. And frankly, she deals with her boyfriend coming back from the dead with an eerie grace. Of course, she is a witch...

Superman and Wonder Woman
Credit: Paolo Siqueira and DC Comics

Superman/Wonder Woman Issue No. 7

The Honeymoon Phase

The art in this issue is top-notch, and remains relatively consistent throughout the book despite using three pencilers and two inkers over twenty pages. It helps that pencilers Paolo Siqueira, Eddy Barrows, and Barry Kitson are all super-talented professionals, but if there was an opportunity to buy a book completely done by Siqueira, we would snatch it up in a heartbeat. His depictions of Superman and Wonder Woman are rendered so beautifully that it is a bit of shame that Superman spends so much of the issue as a dessicated, yellow-sun deprived walking corpse. Although thanks to Siqueira, he is the best-drawn dessicated, yellow-sun deprived walking corpse on the comic racks this week, and that includes any corpses in The Walking Dead.

The story in this issue is by Charles Soule, who has been garnering some recent hits at Marvel with his new She-Hulk and Inhuman series. Soule continues DC's new "Superman and Wonder Woman are totally in love now" editorial policy, which is a fine romantic detour, but probably not something that will reverse more than half a century of Lois Lane as Superman's primary love interest. Stay tuned for those words to be eaten sometime in late 2064, right after the copyrights for all these characters have been renewed for another eleventy years.

All-New X-Men Issue No. 25

"A Very Special Issue"

This issue of All-New X-Men posits that reality's mere existence is not an inalienable right, but a privilege. Let this come as a stern warning to everyone out there enjoying reality right now. Reality can be taken away if you do not behave yourself. Hank McCoy, better known as the Beast, didn't heed this advice when he brought the original 5 teenage X-men forward in time to the present, and now he has to lay in bed and suffer the insomnia-driven cavalcade of all-star artists rendering alternate timelines where things have gone horribly wrong for mutants (an X-Men tradition).

The artists chosen to depict these alternate timelines are truly spectacular, with new work from Bruce Timm, Art Adams, J. Scott Campbell, and many more. There is even a sequence drawn by classic X-Men artist Paul Smith. Fans of X-Men past and present will find something they enjoy in this anniversary issue of All-New X-Men.

Other Books Out This Week

Batman Eternal, Astro City, Daredevil

There are plenty of other great comics that were released for the week of April 9, 2014. These include the newest issues of Astro City and Daredevil (which, like All-New X-Men, is also an anniversary issue featuring a litany of great writers and artists), as well as the launch of a new weekly Batman title, Batman Eternal