This week we finally learn about Star-Lord’s time in the Cancerverse, and The Phantasm returns to fight Batman Beyond!
Guardians of the Galaxy #18 (Marvel Comics)
The Guardians enter Original Sin with Guardians of the Galaxy #18, which is an extremely strong issue after some pretty less than stellar ones. This issue by Brian Michael Bendis and Ed McGuinness isn’t an exact Original Sin tie-in. In fact, the banner on top of the cover is more of an excuse to finally shed some light on how Star-Lord and Thanos made it out of the Cancerverse back in The Thanos Imperative. And before you say anything, yes, things happen in this issue!
Writer Brian Michael Bendis wastes no time getting into the story, which has Camorra tie up Peter Quill and force him to tell her about Quill’s time in the Cancerverse. Quill then goes on to tell her how he and Nova (the Richard Rider version) were attempting to hold off Thanos and finish him off by using the cosmic cube until Drax arrived, and Quill accidentally set off the cube.
Now, that may not sound like much, and I suppose it’s not, but what it may lack in narrative it makes up for in the art department. Of course, anytime you have Ed McGuinness drawing your book, you’re going to get great art. But this time McGuinness gets to unleash some truly mind blowing panels, including a few awesome ones between Drax and Thanos. McGuinness is absolutely on fire here, and delivers on the action front perfectly.
The only negative thing about this issue is that it goes by very fast. The story feels like it’s been given a “to be continued” right in the middle of the story, causing the issue to lose momentum pretty fast. However, after the last Guardians storyline, this is a welcome change of pace (and quality). I’m definitely in to see what happens with the rest of the story.
Batman Beyond Universe #13 (DC Comics)
I’ll be completely honest, my love of Batman: Mask of The Phantasm made me purchase this issue. The return of the Phantasm in Neo-Gotham, facing off with Batman Beyond? Sign me up. Unfortunately Batman Beyond Universe #13 doesn’t feature the Phantasm all that much. The character appears in a few brief pages, building the mystery behind this character’s reappearance. Naturally, when McGinnis learns that the Phantasm is after his new ally Vigilante, who is wanted of the crime of murdering McGinnis’ father, it starts to cause him to question his relationship with Bruce Wayne, and to confront some people who have first hand experience with how Bruce acts.
This set up leads into writers Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel’s extremely compelling “b plot”, and it’s one that will leave many fans of the Batman Animated Series shocked. Terry goes to Dick Grayson to find out what caused the massive falling out between Bruce and the rest of the Bat family. I’ll save the details for those who want to read the issue, but fans of the Batman Beyond cartoon will finally get an answer for the mysterious circumstances that lead to the parting of ways of Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl, and it isn’t pretty.
What is pretty though is the art by Phil Hester, Eric Kapstur, Craig Rousseau, and Thony Silas. Each artist is able to tap into the classic “Animated Series” look while still having their own unique feel as well. The stand out scenes for me were the first appearance of the new Phantasm, and a very tense moment between Barbara Gordon and Bruce Wayne. The Phantasm scene is extremely eerie and powerful, and while the latter moment may no have a lot of bombast behind it, it’s still extremely sad and touching.
Fans of Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond should absolutely pick this issue up. While the transitions between scenes are a little jarring, the revelation behind the break up of the Bat family is well worth the price of admission. There is a part two of course, but if the conclusion is even half as good as the set up is, we’re in for a treat.