This week the Mad Titan Thanos gets his own series, and Green Arrow must solve a murder on super speed train in Green Arrow #11!
Thanos #1 (Marvel Comics)
For the most part, super villain comics don’t usually work. It’s difficult to follow the adventures of a bad guy who’s more than likely going to lose by the series’ end. However, one of the few bright spots of Marvel’s recent output has been their focus on villain-centered comics. Magneto, Carnage, the Kingpin miniseries, and Infamous Iron Man have twisted the idea of who we should be rooting for in a fun way, and now it’s time for Marvel’s biggest bad to get the spotlight. With Jeff Lemire and artist Mike Deodato at the reins, Thanos looks to have all the ingredients to make for a pretty good Marvel series.
Ironically one of the strengths of Thanos is that Jeff Lemire doesn’t get inside the Mad Titan’s head. Instead, Thanos is kept largely to the background. As he makes his way through his former herald’s forces, all we see is Thanos using his power to crush everyone around him. Lemire wisely forgoes having Thanos give grand soliloquies (which is something Thanos isn’t well known for doing anyways) and instead uses the issue to showcase how intimidating Thanos is, something that’s wonderfully subverted by issue’s end. Lemire also peppers in some appearances from some pretty unexpected cosmic Marvel characters, but I won’t spoil them here.
On the art side of things, Thanos is perfectly serviceable, and if it was anyone other than Mike Deodato’s name on the cover, that would be just fine. But Deodato’s name is the one that’s on the cover, and it’s a bit of a step down when compared to his other work. For some reason Deodato, who was known for very detailed panels and characters, has now had his art inked heavily with blacks and dark colors. I’m not sure if it’s a new style Deodato is trying out, or just a way for him to keep up with the pressure of a monthly book, but it’s not doing him any favors.
If you’ve been waiting for The Mad Titan to return to form, then Thanos will probably fit the bill for you. While there’s not a whole lot of ground covered in this opening issue, Lemire and Deodato set the stage for a pretty intriguing premise, and it’ll be interesting to see how other members of the Cosmic side of the Marvel universe will react to learning of Thanos’ new plan. It’s not at the same level as Magneto or Civil War II: Kingpin, but it’s still worth your time if you’re interested.
Green Arrow #11 (DC Comics)
Green Arrow was one of the few DC Rebirth books to keep its creative team, and the rebirth has given the adventures of Oliver Queen the shot in the arm it desperately needed. Since the first issue, Ben Percy’s series has been a non-stop action ride that actually surpasses the weekly live action adventures of Oliver Queen on Arrow. However, the recent story line “Murder on the Empire Express” has been the best storyline so far, and much of that is thanks to artist Juan Ferreyra’s dynamic pencils.
Simply put, Ferreyra’s art is pretty damn stellar in this issue. This storyline plays to all of his strengths as an artist, and adds a huge level of entertainment to Ben Percy’s script. There’s a sense of speed and urgency to Ferreyra’s pencils, and he doesn’t let up until the very last page of the book. It’s incredible how much he puts onto the page here. His layouts and artwork are easily a lock for the best of the year.
Ben Percy’s script and characterization of Oliver Queen is a ton of fun as well. While he’s not the same Oliver that you see on your TV screen every week, there’s still plenty to love about Percy’s Green Arrow. He’s always quick with a witty retort, and is actually pretty funny at times. Percy’s Oliver Queen actually enjoys being a super hero from time to time, something that CW’s show could probably stand to recognize every once in a while.
There isn’t a lot of hype or chatter surrounding Green Arrow lately, but I really think it’s one of the stronger DC Rebirth titles. Ben Percy is really hitting his stride with some fun adventures, and the rotating cast of artists have all been great. There’s plenty of time to catch up on this series. It’s time to see what you’ve been missing.