Comics Reviews (February 25, 2015)
First off, the second part of the commentary track for The Rescue. Next up will be The Mind Robber, although whether that starts the first or second week of March is still unclear – trying to schedule it with Jack. Watch this space. Part one is still available here.
Also, Logopolis book update, I just ordered my proof copy, so expect an announcement early next week. Tentatively, let’s say it’ll be out on Tuesday the 3rd. Details will be up here, but broadly, the plan is a limited release exclusively through this site and my print on demand publisher, at least for the first few months, with a possible broad release/ebook version to follow.
This just left me totally cold for some reason. Whatever is meant to be interesting about this latest plot arc doesn’t really present itself yet, with the death of Poyo yet to actually have any interesting consequences, and the vague sense of “well, I’ve bought forty-six issues, I may as well follow it til the end” back in force here.
New Avengers #30
The sense that Jonathan Hickman is just Grant Morrison without a sense of humor is strong in this book. Can’t say I’m wild about destroying the entire Captain Britain mythology casually and without a “Last Days of the Captain Britain Corps” mini or anything. Actually, I can’t say I’m wild about anything here. It feels like Hickman doesn’t trust his own ideas enough to carry a story, and is just going all out in explaining his wild multiversal philosophy. Comparisons to Multiversity do Hickman no favors, and I don’t even like Multiversity that much.
Amazing Spider-Man #15
I can’t honestly say I care much about the status quo coming out of Spider-Verse, not least because the status quo coming out of any Marvel event right now is a bit of an odd thing what with time running out and everything ending. Much of this served as a resolution of the Superior Spider-Man plot, which I skipped, so that didn’t really work for me either. I’d say I’m really considering dropping this, but my position on Marvel right now is that it’s kind of silly to make any major changes to my pulls given that I’ll be redoing them all in the wake of Secret Wars anyway.
Thor Annual #1
A triptych of small tales, all on the sweet/funny end of the scale. Harmless, and no bad tales, but a classically inessential annual at $4.99.
All-New X-Men #38
I read this and the preceding installment of Black Vortex this week, having accidentally left Star-Lord on the shelf last week. The pace of the start of the crossover has thoroughly dissipated, and we’re now left in decompressed wheel-spinning of the sort that blights crossovers reliably. The “evil versions” of characters are as dull as I feared, and I’m not a fan of Sorrentino’s art, which is, for me, a textbook case of exchanging clarity of storytelling for prettiness. But at least Bendis is at home with decompressed middle chapters, they being essentially his default form, so this rolls along pleasantly.
Gotham Academy #5
My failure to remember who anyone is made this one much more like the frustrating issues 2-3 as opposed to the unexpectedly fun #4. I don’t think this is a bad book at all – the plot beats are all really nice, in fact. DC’s refusal to do recap/cast pages is a real thorn in the book’s side, though, and I really wish I were trade-waiting, frankly. #6 should be the last before Convergence, and I may well switch to the trade after it, probably after sitting down with the first six and reading them back to back in the hopes that I remember who the hell anyone is.
While I continue to feel like Waid has used his best ideas on Daredevil, his second best are still quite fun. I really like Kirsten being kidnapped on her own terms, by her own arch-nemesis. I hope the sense of tragic downfall is one Waid ultimately avoids, but I think he will, as it really doesn’t fit what else he’s been doing on the book.
Darth Vader #2
It speaks to how poor a week this is that this, which I wasn’t overly enamored with as a comic, lands so high on the list. There’s a lot here that’s good. I like the decision to use this book as a sort of “mission by mission” take on Vader, but the frame is lacking for me, and I found myself not entirely sure what’s going on or what it had to do with issue #1 for most of this. I couldn’t tell what was happening at several major plot beats, and even a reread is not entirely clarifying. I like the broad strokes, but it felt like I’d missed at least one issue, if not more, which is an odd place to be on a second issue. Not sure what’s going on here, as Gillen is usually super-good about pacing and structure.
I’m so thoroughly glad this book exists. In the general aesthetic of pop comics going on right now (books like Batgirl, WicDiv, and Ms. Marvel), this has been one of the most satisfying success stories, not least because of the sort of organic nature of its success – a one-off for a crossover makes good as people fall in love with the character. Great style, fun book, and a very sly cliffhanger. Check this out.
The Wicked & The Divine #8
But this is still my favorite of the week. Gillen and McKelvie in arch-formalist mode, enjoying the ways in which a middle installment of a storyline allows them to wander seemingly far from any notion of “plot” or “arc.” Which means nobody can touch them; this is the sort of thing both of them are best at. Completely and utterly not where to jump on with WicDiv, but the book is firmly at the point where it can drop a “for the fans” issue and move on. As a fan, I’m enormously appreciative.
February 25, 2015 @ 1:07 pm
I'm also losing track of who everyone in Gotham Academy is. Although in my case it's at least partly because I find it impossible to concentrate on the story while ties and skirts continue to be portals to the Dimension of Plaid — I realise this must be a stylistic choice, because it wouldn't be difficult to pattern them properly, or just make them plain, but I can't imagine why.
February 25, 2015 @ 2:26 pm
For some reason Spider-Gwen has been leaving me cold. Like I like and respect the premise (and find the fact that Peter turned into the Lizard to be brilliant, especially when looking at Spider-Man through a psychochronographic lens (which is also the only way one can redemptively read the movie version of Death of Gwen Stacy)), but the issues themselves just don't do it for me. Then again, I have Wicked and the Divine in my life and I just love every page of the new issue, so I don't know why Spider-Gwen isn't. I think it's ether me or my disdain for Post One More Day Marvel trying to get people not to like MJ.
February 26, 2015 @ 5:31 am
in re: WicDiv 8. Absolutely agree this is a "for the fans" filler issue; on a pop album, this would be the one-minute jokey skit between tracks. But since the end of the 1st arc, the storyline really started drifting—the gods and Laura just seem to be farting around at times, as if the scripts haven't come in yet. Still love it to death, but I wonder what someone who started on iss. 6 would make of it
February 26, 2015 @ 5:59 am
[Comics I've been reading pt. 6]: Sex #20 — If this series was just about one painfully emotionally distant man trying to find intimacy, it would be an excellent book. Unfortunately, a lot of other plotlines interfere with what I perceive to be its core. Fortunately, this issue leaves out the less desirable aspects (gang wars!) and focuses on, as Joe Casey, who's very fond of the vernacular, would probably would put it, "relationship stuff". The teaser of #20 goes as follows: "The big date. One step closer. Will Simon get lucky?" Those who follow "Sex" and know the unhurried pace at which Casey goes forward won't see it as a spoiler if I mention that Simon doesn't "get lucky" — of course not! (Casey's dialogue style is also quite unique. His characters are always interrupting each other and there's a steady stream of hints to vast, hitherto unexplored intrigue.) Piotr Kowalsky's art is, as ever, very, very nice. The final chasing scenes are a particular highlight!
February 26, 2015 @ 6:54 am
Sex is such a strange comic – the pacing has gone well beyond foreplay and into tantric by now. There have been several times I'm sure something surprising and dramatic is about to happen, and it doesn't, with Casey instead patiently elaborating on why things that have already happened were important, mostly to do with the psychosexual development of Simon's employees. The overall drama at this point seems to be about whether Simon's journey climaxes in sex (progression) or violence (regression) – this is what the gang wars are about, engineering a situation where the story risks resolving into a superhero one (bad) rather than a human one (good), though perhaps it'll surprise me and do both.
Also – have you (has anyone?) worked out what the system behind the dialogue highlights is? Is there even one?
February 26, 2015 @ 1:28 pm
You're making me reconsider the gang war parts, Tom! Until now I've seen The Old Man et al mainly as nuisance. I got that they represent the destructive, nightmarish sides of sexuality but then these are well-trodden paths in (popular) fiction. I guess one could say that, for example, the Alpha Brothers are distinctive as they're so very over-top-the-top grotesque. Those fiends are basically wading through blood while having sex with each other while talking like they were in a boardroom meeting.
The highlighting scheme is another mysterious aspect of this series…I also like the lettering. I think that, for example, Moebius and Stan Lee's Silver Surfer collaboration used the same fonts.
Recently The Comics Journal had an appreciation of "Sex":
It's strange that I thought that the review was somewhat condescending although I, too, have qualms with the series! Joe Casey himself mentioned the TCJ piece in "Dirty Talk", his author's column of "Sex". (Casey uses the column for some interesting, deliberately informal ruminations on a multitude of subjects.)
February 26, 2015 @ 1:32 pm
Sorry, here's the right URL for those who are interested: