Batman & The Outsiders Special
Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Adam Kubert
We tell you about a lot of comics and a lot of creators in our reviews and on our podcast but I think that it should be becoming rather clear that one of the creators that everyone should be excited about these days is Peter J. Tomasi. For the first 11 years of his career he was an editor at DC and a fine one at that, but in 2004 he caught the writers bug when he produced his Weird WWII mini-series Light Brigade. He remained an editor until 2007 (being promoted to Senior Editor at one point) when he decided that it was probably time to try this writing thing on full-time and he certainly has shown that he has the kind of talent that he shouldn't have to worry too much about going back to the editor's office anytime soon. Batman & The Outsiders Special sets up the upcoming change of the title back to The Outsiders since Batman is now absent from the line-up. This is a masterfully crafted book and if the first sequence doesn't bring tears to your eyes then allow me to assure you that the second one will. There is really only one frustrating moment in the whole of the issue (it comes toward the end and is really only frustrating because Tomasi is trying to clean up some poor choices by the previous writer of the series Frank Tieri [who is a talented writer but since he is no longer on the title any devices that he might have had to rectify the situation that Tomasi cleans up are moot]). Add to that the really and truly brilliant artwork of Adam Kubert and you are in for one hell of an issue. And I have to say, that for the first time since the announcement of this title, that I am really, really excited about Batm ... er, excuse me ... The Outsiders!
Let's break this down by portion of the book:
Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Art by: Oliver Coipel & Marko Djurdjevic
Page count: 42
This is a really cool story that perhaps played out a little fast. I think that it could have been the whole 104 without stretching it too thin. But then again I am a HUGE Coipel fan and a rather large Djurdjevic fan as well. This is an amazing dynamic shift for the future of the Thor series and I think that it is going to be getting a big reaction both online and in stores. If you're a Thor fan now is a great time to be reading and if you have ever thought about reading Thor now is the time to check it out. Straczynski really knows how to plan for the long term and it seems like he really has something in the pipeline for Thor. Let's just hope that the folks at Marvel don't do anything to screw it up.
"To Asgard! Forever!"
Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: David Aja
Page count: 11
Stan Lee is really someone who is an accquired taste these days. When he writes a comic it feels has a tendency to feel antiquated. That is not the case here. In 11 pages he manages to tell a rather interesting and very telling story of what it is to be Thor, and perhaps more importantly, what it is to be Doctor Donald Blake. I think that anyone who reads this story is going to understand what it was about Stan "The Man" that made him such a force in the comics industry for so long. His dialogue might feel antique, but his sense of character is just as modern and fresh as most people could hope to be, and he certainly knows how to pace a page.
"Welcome Back Thor"
Written and Drawn by: Chris Giarrusso
Page count: 7
Chris Giarrusso has long been the guy doing the Mini-Marvels comic strips that have appeared in your comics from time to time. Much like contemporary cartoonist, Chris Eliopolis he has a flawless sense of humor that can appeal to everyone regardless of age. Giarrusso manages to condense the return of Thor into 7 pages and make it not only understandable for people who might not have been reading the Straczynski run but also funny for those who have. I am glad that Marvel decided to give him 7 pages to really sprawl out and tell a funny little tale.
"Marvelous Reprint Material" (From Journey into Mystery 106, 107, 112, 113, & 115)
Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: Jack Kirby
Page count: 25
Do I wish that they hadn't included reprint material in this issue altogether, yes. If they were going to put reprint material in the issue though this seems like the perfect material to print. I think that it goes without saying that Kirby is a master and that Stan Lee was never better than he was when he was working with Jack (except for maybe when he was working with Ditko). So this is nice to see but I don't necessarily think that 25 pages needed to be devoted to it ... all in all it's better than a Thor Saga though.
"Thor Cover Gallery" Page count: 6
Really? I mean I guess I understand, it's cool and all ... but ... really?!
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