The big release this week is, without a doubt, Civil War II. The original Civil War line of Marvel comics asked a big, important question that hadn’t been asked much since Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Namely, should superheroes be held accountable for their actions? But it also raised an even bigger question: Do we want to see superheroes outside of action? After Watchmen, many comics thought they needed to hunker down and bet big on characters with lives, with families, with drug problems, and so on. But the original Civil War, released 20 years after Watchmen, focused specifically on the effect a hero’s actions could have on others. We didn’t follow Captain America home, we saw what happened to the people he punched. This was a severe shift in comics, and it changed the way readers thought about the medium. Will Civil War II have the same impact? Also reviewed: DC’s revival of old Hanna-Barbera characters, and two very well-illustrated indies.
The original Civil War was about the fallout after a group of young, inexperienced superheroes accidentally made a supervillain explode next to an elementary school, killing hundreds of children. From there, Tony Stark and the government decided it was time for self-regulation, and for superheroes to, effectively, surrender their secret identities and become federal agents. Captain America said, “Hell no,” and they drew lines in the sand and fought. This Civil War takes place years after the original, keeping pace with real time. Though this is only Issue #0, a set-up issue to get everyone up to speed, readers can already see the big question that will tear apart the Marvel world: If you could see into the future to prevent disaster, should you? This is elevated writing. Brian Michael Bendis is at his best here asking big questions and promising no big answers. A must-read for Marvel fans, who shouldn’t worry about not feeling “caught up.”
Here’s a comic that will freak out and geek out a very specific type of cartoon fan. Hanna-Barbera, the 59-year-old production company that created classics like The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, The Jetsons, Huckleberry Hound, and more, were also famous for their action cartoons. Future Quest blends some of their best action heroes, creating a world where Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, and Birdman can all interact. This is a bold, brash, colorful, exciting new work for these old properties, and fans of retro-futurism and vintage superheroes should definitely pay attention.
Winken, Blinken, and Nod takes its title from "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod," a 1889 poem by Eugene Field about three children who sail off into the sky on a wooden shoe. This comic sees Winken and his brother Blinken as fishermen on a shoe-ship, and Nod as a thief on the run after stealing a precious memory. It’s a storybook-styled plot, and the artwork has a wonderful, black-outlined, blocky look to it. The real fun of this comic is the pace, which is like a mix between a classic fairy tale and Looney Tunes on speed. The frenetic comic is unabashedly fun, and highly recommended for readers with a penchant for chaos.
Revenger and the Fog #2 is an anarchic, beautiful, and nasty little comic about a woman named Revenger and her crew, The Fog. In the past, Revenger starred in her own solo series set in the 1980s, where she wandered around and helped the downtrodden. This comic takes place before she went solo wandering, and is about how The Fog ended up splitting up. Hearkening back to some of the grimiest comics of coming out of the 1980s indie scene (Marshal Law comes to mind), Revenger and the Fog isn’t for everyone, but it will be the only comic for some.
Find these comics at your local comic store, or shop online at digital retailers like Comixology.