Comics of the Week(s) - Three Week Catch Up
I had a three week build up of comics that I finally caught up with this weekend. I had a lot of books, so I’ll just point out a couple of issues here.
Saga #4 continues the trend of this book being on a whole other level of greatness. The characterizations here are so rich. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples are doing something special here and it’s going to be interesting to see where it goes, because 4 issues in, it could still go anywhere, really. It’s never predictable, but always makes perfect sense. Never mind the high concepts, this is just perfect storytelling.
Speaking of perfect, the second to last issue of Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera’s Scalped… wow. This was just insanity. The whole issue is basically a long gun fight, in the dark, involving fire, spears, knives, hatchets and wild dogs. I’ve said before this would be an amazing HBO series and at the same time, I’d rather they never adapt it, but man, I’d love to see how anyone could really pull off filming the events of this issue. The way this one ended, with shots being fired at a Mexican standoff, means the last issue will really just be a clean up. But we don’t know who will be cleaned up. This won’t end neatly, because it can’t and shouldn’t, but it’s going to be satisfying, I can tell. I really hope Aaron does more creator owned work soon, instead of just writing the Marvel books. I want to see more of him really cutting loose like this, with no editorial mandates or precious characters.
Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT #2 has now made this series one of my favorites. I’m not even sure what exactly it is about it. Could be the conspiracy plot that seems to become more mysterious even as it unfolds and new angles are revealed. Could be the Kindt’s almost child like art that makes its own complexity seem simple. Could be the little stories told on the inside front and back cover that seem to be connected to the main plot, even though I don’t know how. Could be the newsprint it’s printed on. It’s probably all of these and more, but by the time I put the book down, I was sure I had enjoyed every plot twist and turn, and I felt like what I was holding was special. This is completely unlike any other book I read right now, though it’s closest relative might be The Secret History of D.B. Cooper.
Comics of the Week - Endings and Beginnings
I’ll start with a quick word on numbering. This was a very light week for me as only 3 of my regular books were out. I was looking at the new releases, and one caught my eye. Resident Alien from Dark Horse Comics. I’m always looking for new books and lately have been on the Sci Fi kick, thanks to all the Image books that I’ve been loving. So I look through Resident Alien #1 and on the inside cover there’s a recap. But, it’s a #1, I thought. I look over at the first actual page and I see where it says in an editor’s note, you know, with the *, that you had to read issue #0 first. Well, fuck that. They just lost a sale. Number 1 is supposed to be number 1. This 0 nonsense should have ended in the 90’s. But enough of that. What I did pick up was good stuff.
The final issue of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable was equal parts brilliant and frustrating. And I mean that in a good way. It’s a tough one to write about without spoiling anything, but it ended in a way that could be seen as cheap, if you weren’t reading the whole series, along with Incorruptible, very carefully. It’s also frustrating because you kind of want something bigger, but I think it would have been too easy to end this on a dark note. It would also have been cheesy to end on a too bright note. I think the ending we get is just right, with just the right amount of cleverness to work. And more importantly, it will be interesting to see how Incorruptible ends in light of this. The two books have been playing with the whole idea of hero and archenemy all along, changing the roles and exploring the motivations of each. I really couldn’t recommend reading one series without the other. Plutonian and Max Damage are now, as far as I’m concerned, up there in the great hero/villain pairings of all time.
I had picked up the first issue of Justice League Dark and while it was ok, it wasn’t my thing. This week, issue 9 is the start of Jeff Lemire on the title so I had to pick it up. I’m happy to say I’m going to be reading this going forward. You don’t really need to have read any of the previous issues, as I never felt I was missing anything. You know the characters have a past and they don’t trust John Constantine. The details of why are really unimportant. Apparently, the group had disbanded in a previous issue and this is basically a “getting the band back together” story, complete with a section where Constantine introduces everyone as “lead singer,” “bass,” etc. It works very well to establish the relationships without being expository in an obvious way. And the art, by Mikel Janin is beautiful. When I read the first issue back in September, I almost kept up with the series because of the art. It’s rich and the characters are so expressive that it carries much of the tone for the book. Anyway, here’s another Lemire book I’ll be reading.
I know Matt Kindt’s work from when he guested as artist on an arc of Sweet Tooth. Also, he’ll be taking over from Lemire on Frankenstein starting next issue. His art style, while similar to Lemire’s art, is it’s own thing. Mind MGMT #1 is written and drawn by him, and while I didn’t know much about the premise going in, I wanted to check it out. Right off, it’s hitting on things I’m bound to like. It’s a conspiracy and it’s got some sort of mind control thing going on. The conspiracy, as the short background that is told on the inside front and back covers shows, goes back as far as WWI. Our focus in the story, however, seems to be on a plane where the entire crew and passengers suffered an attack of amnesia, and one passenger went missing. Kindt’s writing is at times a little over the top with the narration, but I have a feeling there’s a very specific reason for this that will pay off down the line. I’m more than willing to stick with this, based on it’s originality of presentation alone.