Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Last week I was finally walking again and able to pick up three weeks of saved comic books! In the haze of ankle sprain and grouchy tiredness, it was incredibly blissful to lie in bed reading the ongoing stories of some comic books that I know I love. Just for fun, and because I’ve been reading a lot of older comic books lately, I thought I’d give you a quick one paragraph synopsis of each book I read. I have to say, it was a very good month. Maybe I’m good at picking out books I like, but I have to say, this was a very entertaining batch and had me rethinking my questions about the quality of the years books…
Wolverine, the Best There Is #12
Wrapping up a fantastic year of comic books, Huston and Ryp gave us some very satisfying endings. I feel like I could happily walk away from this title now, which makes sense with a final issue but is so seldom the case. Next I would love to read a follow-up comic book based entirely around the mad crew of villains they created. I’m sure it is financially unviable, and as many comic book writers tell me, my taste is usually the opposite of whatever might actually make money. But still, they were great fun and I’d buy them as “mercenaries and problem solvers”, as Wolverine suggested.
Action Comics #4
While I might have started this series with misgivings about his youth and vulnerability, Morrison and Morales’ take on this young, up and coming new superhero called Superman is just too much fun to be denied. With issue #4 Superman’s character and spirit are really coming to the fore. I didn’t even mind the weird dissection of the story into two parts. Screw it, if it gives everyone space to get the work done and it serves the story well, then more power to them.
Avengers 1959 #4 of 5
This is definitely Chaykin at his dashing best. I don’t know that I want the man to ever write anything but a period piece. He just embodies that whole era of swashbuckling daredevils incredibly well. As his cold-blooded killers fight each other to the death, we’re privy to slews of Chaykin’s typically square-jawed men and curvaceous women in the throes of a post WWII anarchic secret war. Since this is a limited series I’m looking forward to seeing how on earth Chaykin manages to wrap up all of the threads he’s created in only four issues. This much content in such a short run is what I’d expect of a veteran and I’m so happy to read him in something befitting his experience.
Angel & Faith, Season 9 #4
While I like this title, it is always a bit of a shock to open it and see Isaacs aggressively cartoony art style instead of the sedate pace of Jeanty that I’ve come to expect on Buffy. However, after a couple of pages of assimilation, I’m deep into the story and despite any pacing oddities of Gage, I can feel the Whedon-esque dialogue and deceptions seeping out. It feels early in the day for this book (and it is), and I find myself wanting a lot more. With the cliffhanger they left us with, I’m really excited to see what comes next.
I suppose these days 111 issues is a long running title… Is it? I’m out of touch, I wouldn’t know. This FEELS like a long run and while I do have great affection for the title, there have been ones where more happened. I’m glad to see the kids getting sorted and all, but I always prefer the stories that sprawled a little more. Somehow this focused primarily on two storylines, ones which do impact the whole universe of Fables, but I like it better when I’m reading about the society as a whole. Buckingham and Willingham have created an incredibly rich ensemble and I prefer to get a smattering of their lives than focusing to closely in on one family. Having said that, it does seem like one big question was answered, so hopefully now we can move on.
This book might be vying for a favorite title and I certainly didn’t think I’d be sayin that last year. Somehow Roberson and Alred have grown Gwen and her friends into an extremely engaging group. Disconnected and disturbed, their adventures have this wonderful tendency to grow exponentially. I love the way the relationships and dynamics are evolving, and then look at their environment! I have never seen a town go to hell so fast, it’s great. Besides that, you’re getting some of the most focused and fun female characters in comics. A very satisfying, pop-art feel of a horror comic. It is so good.
Hellblazer Annual 2011 – Suicide Bridge
WOW! You take Peter Milligan and Simon Bisley and put them together, you’ve got magic. Bloody marvelous story, sublime art and a deeply creepy, miserable story about what an utter arsehole Constantine is, always has been, and will continue to be. There is everything you expect in a Constantine story, plus everything you want. His own self-deception, horror and mourning, is all dumped on the poor bastard in spades, as it should be in this weirdly dismal holiday season. To say this issue is perfection would be to denigrate the previous issues that Milligan and Bisley have been doing such a good job on. But it comes damn close.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 9 #4
Finished a great story arc with yet another bad guy turning out to be a pathetic pawn (is there really any other sort?) I continue to have great affection for the look, feel and mood of this book. I’m very happy to hear that Buffy is moving towards some medium area in the no-magic vs all-magic worlds. Really, extremes don’t work for anyone. The little asides from her friends and ex’s are such an essential component and the fact that Chambliss weaves them into the story with such lithe grace says a lot about the mood originally created by Whedon. For me, Jeanty is ideal, his art looks very much like a comic book, but still has all the warmth and immediacy of the actual actors who originally portrayed those character on tv. So happy that this is an ongoing title, very curious to see what comes next.
Stunningly beautiful is an understatement. Whatever style J.H. Willams III uses to depict our hero is always a huge boon to his storytelling, effortlessly creating a very immersive mood. This month the story was particularly brutal, with more danger and risk than usual. In the short run of this book, so far there hasn’t really been a moment of downtime for Batwoman and this month makes it all too clear why. Danger lurks and any human moment of relaxation could lead to injury or death. Out of all of the superhero books I’ve read, this is definitely the most eerie and disturbing of them, but it still delivers action in spades and could easily turn out to be one of the strongest new books of the year.
With the addition of M.K. Perker on finishes, Carey and Gross’s story got a real boost of pretty lines this month. While I’ve been enjoyed the comic book up to now, Perker’s finishes have this incredibly nice, old school cartooney look which reminds me a bit of old Dave Gibbons inking. I like it so much and as the story ramps up to being one almost entirely about misery, death and child abuse, it was nice to have a bit of elegance added to the artwork. Sort of gagging for this one to finish up but I fear that it never will.
My Greatest Adventure #3
Terrible confession; I’m reading this only for the Tanga story by Kevin Maguire. I know there are two other full stories, but I haven’t been reading them. I’m just totally hooked on Tanga. She’s hugely powerful, really focused, and best of all, she seems to have a terrific time fighting giant monsters while exploring the galaxy. I only wish she had her own title. At the moment I feel like DC are trying to sabotage her readership by stopping the previous title “Weird Worlds” only to restart her in a similar book with a different title. Whatever the reasons, I just hope that at some point they compile all of the Tanga stories into one, mindblowing, psychedelic adventure so that I can recommend the book to everyone.
That wraps up my reading for the week. All current and all great fun. I hope you’re all reading similarly great books and getting as much enjoyment out of them. Seasons greetings, happy holidays and I’ll see you next week.
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