My Week in Comics: May 28, 2010

It's another Week in Comics, and it's an awesome one. My picture is still not part of that I Am An Avenger photomosaic insert, which makes me wonder if Filipinos aren't allowed to be an Avenger. But I digress. Let's see what I got myself into this week!

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2 has our Caped Crusader shunted into the paranoid, witch-hunting age of the Pilgrims. For a hero who uses his influence to strike fear into the superstitious and cowardly, you’d imagine what sorts of mayhem he could cause in the most superstitious age of them all!

It’s another solid issue that shows Batman as a noble and efficient hero no matter what the era. Seeing him use real detective work (as opposed to using your clout to declare someone guilty just by pointing fingers as they were wont to do during the witch hunts) to invoke rational fear into a suspect who’s so used to blaming the devil for bad things happening is classic. It's also revealed that Darkseid did not only fail to kill Batman during the events of Final Crisis, but he also knew that he couldn't so instead he turned Batman into a doomsday device that will destroy the universe as we know it if he ever makes it back to the 21st century! And Batman goes 'Suck it, I'm coming home.' anyway! Balls of Batman, indeed.

If Batman (the same Batman that wasn't killed by Darkseid's Omega Sanction. Better recognize.) wearing a pilgrim hat solving crimes in a superstitious era while macking on witches while travelling through time doesn't do it for you, I don't think you're in the right hobby. This is a Batman I'd love to read about. A solid 4 out of 5.

Secret Avengers #1 by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato hit the stores this week, and it proved itself worthy of becoming the only Avengers book worth picking up.

Here, Steve Rogers (top cop of the world, natch) has assembled (get it?) a covert team of heroes to take a more proactive stance to evil, eliminating threats before they get worse. Steve and I seem to have different definitions for covert, since I don’t think a team that has War Machine and Nova, both powerhouse heroes that rip open Skrull battleships in their spare time, constitutes as a quiet team. But that’s just me.

It’s not everyday that you make the Avengers into an espionage-y lot, but Brubaker makes it work here, using their talents (and their charms, as is the case with the women drawn by Deodato) to get the job done as efficiently as possible. This is a team book that reads like a damn team, and by the time the shocking reveal hits you at the end (and what a reveal it is!), you’re hooked. Not having to read Bendis’ lame one-liners is enough for me to give this a 4 out of 5. Drop the other Avengers books and pick this one up. You won’t regret it at all.

And so we come to Neko Ramen vol 1, the very first manga entry here in My Week in Comics! I admit I’m coming into this biased, as I have a severely soft spot for cats (especially white kitty cats), but with that bias comes severely high expectations. So is Neko Ramen any good?

It is. Oh for the love of all that is holy, it is.

Kenji Sonishi takes the concept of a white cat that owns a ramen shop and just runs with it, giving us not only an absolutely funny manga, but also a very relate-able character in Taisho, the eponymous cat living his dream of running a successful ramen shop. This yonkoma manga is filled to the brim with cat and food comedy, as well as a whole lot of d’aww-inducing heartwarming you’d expect from a cute kitty cat cooking noodles in a ramen shop!

I admit that, like most manga, this may not be for everyone. People who don’t find anything funny about a cat that runs a ramen shop (read: the recently deceased) won’t get a chuckle out of this. And since the book is chock full of references to food and Japanese culture, I understand if people might find it a bit confusing. Fortunately, the staff who worked on translating this for English-speaking audiences did a great job making this book as accessible as possible, while maintaining its undeniably Japanese feel. Good job, Tokyopop!

I don’t want to spoil too much. That’s how much I believe in this book. It’s an adorable book bursting with kitty cat goodness. I was laughing, I was crying, I was crying while I was laughing…I’ve never been moved this much by a manga before! This deserves a 6 out of 5. Yes, one point more than the perfect grade. That’s how Taisho rolls. Pick this up now!

That's it for My Week in Comics. Order up and pick up that Neko Ramen manga now! I cannot stress it enough! Agree? Disagree? Think there's a cuter kitty cat than Taisho? Leave me a comment and let's discuss! Thanks for reading!

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