This week Kingpin gets involved in Civil War II, and the Justice League enters DC REBIRTH!
Civil War II: Kingpin #1 (of 4) (Marvel Comics)
Already there are tons (some might say too many) Civil War II tie-ins, and while a lot of them have been okay to bad, Civil War II: Kingpin sounded like it could be one of the better ones. With We Can Never Go Home co-writer Matthew Rosenberg writing, at the very least it would be interesting to see him take on one of Marvel’s biggest bad guys. And for the most part, it is really good, even if Kingpin has some flaws that hold it back from the being awesome.
Kingpin has learned about the Inhuman Ulyssess, and he’s pretty pissed. Veiwing this new hero as an unfair advantage for the heroes, he’s been gathering the New York crime families in a bid to take back his power over the New York City Underworld. Naturally, many of his former peers are hesitant to take him up on his offer. How would they even stand a chance against the heroes, now that they have the ability to arrest them for crimes they have yet to commit? Unbeknownst to them, Kingpin has an ace up his sleeve: his own Inhuman, who’s abilities can block the predictions of Ulyssess.
As I was hoping, Matthew Rosenberg’s script is really great. His characterization of Wilson Fisk is spot on, and really makes you understand where he’s coming from. Seeing the events of Civil War II play out from this street-level area of the Marvel Universe is really interesting. Actually, it might be more interesting than watching them play out in Civil War II proper. There’s a great sense of tension and unease that Rosenberg uses wonderfully. The tension at times is so thick that you’re swear you’re sitting in a meeting with Fisk, Madame Masque, and the Owl, checking the skies to make sure you’re not about to be arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Unfortunately the issue takes a real hit when it comes to the art. Ricardo Lopez Ortiz’s art is just too loose for this kind of story. He does a good job of establishing mode and tone, but his figure work and character designs aren’t very appealing. It’s nothing that hurts to look at, but it’s definitely another example of Marvel’s recent crop of subpar artwork in their titles.
Of all of the Civil War II tie-ins that I’ve read, Kingpin is definitely one of the better ones. Whether Rosenberg can keep this up for the rest of this four issue miniseries remains to be seen, but so far he’s off to a really great start (hopefully Ortiz’s art improves as the series goes on too). Despite this, if you’ve just watched Netflix’s Daredevil for the 5th time and want to see what Wilson Fisk is up to in the Marvel Universe of the comics, Civil War II: Kingpin just might be the book you are looking for.
Justice League Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
The Justice League kicks off July’s DC Rebirth titles, and unlike the ones starring the individual members of the team, this Bryan Hitch written and drawn issue doesn’t have any Earth shattering revelations or clues to the mystery behind who screwed with the DC Universe and removed 10 years from our hero’s memories. In fact, this issue reads more like an issue of Hitch’s recently quasi-canceled JLA book that features Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz in place of Hal Jordan.
Essentially this issue boils down to the Justice League stopping an alien threat arriving on Earth. Of course, without Superman, they’re having a bit of a hard time. Naturally we all know that there is a Superman currently in he DC universe, but at this point he has yet to fully commit to taking the place of the New 52 Superman (which is weird, because he’s already the clean-shaven Clark Kent we saw back in Action Comics). Of course, Superman eventually decides to join the heroes and come to the rescue, and the rest of the League learns from Aquaman that this creature was sent as a warning. What kind of warning? Well, you’ll have to pick up Justice League #1 in 2 weeks to find out!
Just like with JLA, Bryan Hitch sticks to what works best for him: big giant spectacle. JLA gives almost every member of the Justice League a chance to shine, though Flash and Aquaman get a little more focus than the others. However, there are some weird continuity questions that come up in this issue, primarily around where this all fits into what’s happening in Superman and Action Comics. There’s no editor note about where this story fits into Superman’s solo books, something that’s even more strange when we get an editor’s note about checking out Green Lanterns to figure out what Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are talking about. There’s also the typical slightly off Hitch pencils here and there, but with Tony Daniels taking over the art next issue, this shouldn’t be a problem for the rest of the run.
If you’re looking for straight up superhero action, Justice League Rebirth is going to fit the bill. Sure, it reads like an issue of JLA that Hitch erased the New 52 Superman and Hal Jordan out of and added in some new Rebirth characters and themes to, but it’s also a pretty entertaining and satisfying one and done Justice League story. We all know that JLA ended up being a mess schedule wise, but I still think the future looks pretty bright for Justice League’s Rebirth.