This week on the Wal-Tor Weekly Review, we take a look at two of the biggest comics coming out of DC and Marvel this week. On the DC side of things we take a look at Batman #49, a pivotal chapter in the fan favourite series. From Marvel we take a look at the best Avengers book on the market in All-New, All-Different Avengers.
Mister Bloom’s grasp on Gotham strengthens as he forces a desperate Bruce Wayne into action. Short on time and even shorter on options, Wayne turns to his former butler, Alfred, and demands to be taken to the Batcave with hopes of once again donning the cowl to become the hero the city needs. A reluctant Alfred aids Bruce in his journey to attempt to regain his memories so that he may once again save the city as Batman.
With this issue, Scott Snyder sits one away from hitting the benchmark 50th issue of his fan favourite Batman series. Backed by Yannick Paquette on art duties, the creative duo delivers a fitting issue that perfectly punctuates the correlation between Bruce Wayne and Batman. Snyder provides what is essentially a bottle episode, with this issue taking place almost exclusively within the Batcave and focusing on your two key characters in Bruce Wayne and Alfred. The pacing and direction feels slightly aimless at the start, with Snyder clearly adapting his style of writing to give Paquette a plethora of opportunities to showcase his skills instead. Although the opening feels soft, the issue improves as it progresses, a skill Snyder has shown time after time. By the issue’s climax, you are left with a surprising punch to your gut, becoming so enthralled by what has unfolded in front of you that the emotions of these characters naturally creep up on you.
Yannick Paquette is the right fit as a fill-in artist on this issue as his style just suits the direction that the story takes. Paquette gets to draw Batmen from different walks of life, with all them having a unique wrinkle to their appearance that clearly gets across who they are. It’s a fun change of pace to have Paquette drawing an issue of Batman as he’s allowed to experiment with panel layouts in a way that feels proper given the story’s direction. Paquette uses circular panels for many of the scenes that take place “outside of the Batcave” (you’ll get the quotations when you read the story) and they never feel out-of-place as they clearly illustrate the difference in storytelling that the reader is supposed to pick up on. What works best for Paquette’s style here is that the story is essentially a two-man play, with his work never feeling overburdened by an excessive amount of characters.
+Art Drives Plot
+Slow Start, Strong Finish
Scott Snyder and Yannick Paquette drive a tight, focused, and emotional tale centering on the connection between Batman and Bruce Wayne for Batman #49. When it’s all said and done, the story may not have progressed too far but that’s beyond forgivable considering how there is still a big development by the issue’s end. To a further point, the final four to six pages of this comic successfully rip at your heart-strings in a way you wouldn’t expect given the comic’s slow start. Snyder weaves a story that is driven by Paquette’s art as a storytelling device that clearly illustrates the different threads that readers should follow. This issue is exactly what you’d expect, a perfect prelude to issue #50 that may still find a way or two to surprise you.
All-New All-Different Avengers #5
Something strange is afoot amongst the All-New All-Different Avengers. Vision has been acting oddly ever since he erased his emotional core, blackmailing Nova and turning members of the team against each other. All the tension begins to come to a head when Ms. Marvel has to team up with the Vision to save the day from of the Mad Thinker’s robots. Then, after conflict within the team hits an all-time high, they are forced into combat against a strange foe with ties to the mysterious Qeng Dynasty.
Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar continue to deliver the best Avengers title around with All-New All-Different Avengers #5. Waid shows his handling of each of these characters’ personalities quite well, highlighting everything from the sarcastic and hilarious personality of Miles Morales, to the new brash leader in Sam Wilson. At his best, Waid has always been a dynamic character writer who easily understands the core mechanics of any character he writes and that doesn’t change here. Unfortunately, the issue does hit a few snags in how it is plotted and paced, relying heavily on quick time jumps from one moment in time to the next early on to get the gears rolling before the issue finds its stride in the second half.
Mahmud Asrar is one of Marvel’s “heavy hitters”, often charged with drawing fan favourite books. Here, Asrar just gets to have fun as he draws a diverse gathering of some of Marvel’s best characters. His action sequences are fluid, his character moments are powerful in the emotion that they display, and if that isn’t enough, he knows how to guide the story. The only true problem with Asrar’s art is that his storytelling in this issue felt limited by the page count. Another two pages would’ve let him flesh out some moments just a tad bit more to show certain actions instead of showing the immediate before and after of a moment.
–Unclear Artwork At Times
Even when All-New All-Different Avengers manages to hit a few snags, it is still one of the most fun Marvel book around. Waid shows that he knows how to handle this eclectic mix of characters with general ease but the pace of the plot seems to suffer as a result. Asrar is let loose in this issue that reminds you how fun superhero can be, especially when the old guard meets the new status quo. The only snag the art hits is that some story beats don’t get fully fleshed out in favour of progressing the action of the plot a bit further.