Comics Reviews (July 15, 2015)
As always, from worst to best of what I voluntarily paid money for. Also, if you’re the sort who only swings by for these, you should know that book two of my epic history of British comics, The Last War in Albion, kicks off on Friday. Book Two is on Watchmen, and should be a fun time. Do drop by. I’ll have a bit of an intro to it/recap of Book One up tomorrow as well.
Years of Future Past #3
At no point during the course of reading this issue could I have articulated what the point of its existence was. I am writing this mere minutes after finishing it, and I am already forgetting it.
Silver Surfer #13
I know this book is a Doctor Who homage, but there’s a thin line between homage and rip-off, and “let’s rewrite The Big Bang only as a Jack Kirby pastiche” is on the wrong side. Fun, but tough to feel good about.
Guardians of Knowhere #1
Thus far, Guardians of the Galaxy only without Star Lord and as an overly black (literally) book drawn by Mike Deodato is, thus far, not an electrifying premise, although as usual Bendis makes the ebb and flow of fuck all happening entertaining.
It’ll be perfectly fine shoved at the back of the fourth and obviously weakest Hawkeye collection, like “Return of the Good Gumbo” at the end of the shitty sci-fi volume of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, but not actually as good as that.
Crossed: Badlands #80
An inevitable and effective ending with all the happiness you’d expect, but ultimately the Homo Tortor arc feels like a missed opportunity that fizzled instead of exploding.
Mercury Heat #1
Good stuff, but it’s firmly the second-best take on classic 80s British comics of the week, and so it’s got to go here in the rankings. Basically, good premise, but there’s enough heavy lifting to do in terms of explaining the rather baroque hard-SF mechanic that the book doesn’t get a ton of opportunity to actually do anything. But it’s no worse a start than True Detective Season Two.
Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #1
A Muslim woman becomes Captain Britain, then gets plunged into a Judge Dredd pastiche. Yes, of course my reasons for liking this comic are in part political, but screw it. The multiversal conception of Captain Britain and Judge Dredd were always political, as readers of this site well know. This is a beautiful homage to British comics in a fun romp of a package. It’s delightful that Secret Wars allows such silliness.
It’s clear that Trees is not a book about momentum. And I won’t lie, I think Ellis’s experimentation with things you should have trade-waited for is a bit frustrating at times. But I don’t care; that last panel transition is fucking beautiful, and as far as I’m concerned, worth eleven issues of buildup. Now I just need to clear the time to reread those eleven issues so I understand it.
Where Monsters Dwell #3
Well that certainly escalated. Which is quite right; without abandoning the mad excess of his premise, Ennis finds an entirely new angle on it here, and the results are outright hilarious.
It’s the most inside-baseball thing imaginable; a structural rewrite of S.W.O.R.D., Gillen’s debut Marvel book, which nobody read. It mashes up bits of Young Avengers and Journey into Mystery. It has giant zombie ants with writing on their DNA. Gillen wasn’t lying with “Nextwave as a tragedy,” especially with an absolutely majestic final act that’s at once obvious and brilliant. Everything you hope for from Gillen throwing a Marvel Universe farewell party, basically.
Crossed +100 #6
My God, this was a bleak piece of pessimistic brutality. And, of course, brilliant. The fact that Avatar is continuing it feels almost as dumb as Before Watchmen, but on its own merits, as a self-contained story, it’s a ruthless skewering of an entire rhetoric of broken utopianism – an uncompromising viking funeral for the entire classic history of science fiction. Just in time for the Hugos.
July 15, 2015 @ 4:36 pm
Oh, look! No comments! I wonder why?
Maybe it's because your blog has been sadly barren of any and all Doctor Who coverage for far too long? And perhaps you should rectify that?
Just a thought. Apologies.
July 15, 2015 @ 4:48 pm
What the fuck made you think this was a good comment to leave?
July 15, 2015 @ 5:22 pm
As always, I enjoy and appreciate the comic reviews here, even if I don't have any comments because I get my books later in the week normally. (I can't wait for WicDiv and buy that digitally on release date, though.) I may have to snag the Captain Britain book; it had been completely under my radar.
One thing I had been wondering: have you been reading Sensation Comics at all? It's been very hit and miss, as anthologies often are, but I've enjoyed quite a few of the stories so far. And it's nice to see a 2nd Wonder Woman title out there, given that I absolutely fail to have any interest in the creators of the core title at the moment.
July 15, 2015 @ 6:19 pm
I suspect there's a lack of comments because a lot of people don't read comics as they come out issue by issue anymore. I know I definitively wait for the trades unless it's a webcomic.
As for the utility of the comics reviews, they got me to go re-read Phonogram and buy The Wicked + The Divine, which was worth every minute and every penny.
July 15, 2015 @ 11:23 pm
I only ever leave comments on the comics stuff 🙂 (mostly because I don't watch GoT)
I buy digitally, usually sometime between Wednesday and the weekend, but often in a big lump at the end of the month if funds are low. So specific comments on new releases are difficult. I DID go to the shop yesterday though to buy ISLAND, Brandon Graham's new "European-style" anthology comic/magazine, but then when I got home I judged myself too sleepy to enjoy it properly. It does look very nice, though.
July 15, 2015 @ 11:33 pm
I'll be honest, I don't comment here as I'm not reading many current comics. I am though at some point going to pick up trades of stuff that I do like. So I come here, have a scan and don't have much more to say.
July 15, 2015 @ 11:54 pm
Is Crossed actually any good? You seem to constantly rate it highly, but what I've read has always been a depressing nihilistic violence-for-violence sake sort of thing, not what I'd expect you to enjoy!
July 16, 2015 @ 1:01 am
I read hardly any comics at the moment, so leave hardly any comments. However, I always look forward to the comic reviews (unlike the GoT stuff, which after trying for a while I have decided is not for me – though I'm glad others are enjoying it).
July 16, 2015 @ 1:32 am
I don't comment here much because I normally get different comics from Dr. Sandifer and so I'd really only be conversing with my self. I do enough of that at home.
July 16, 2015 @ 2:19 am
I'm another of those trade-waiting non-commenters. I don't buy weekly comics but I always read your reviews because a. I enjoy your writing, and b. I use them to suss out what I should be looking out for in a few months’ time. I'm sure I would have bought The Wicked + The Divine anyway but you've successfully managed to ramp up my anticipation with each successive issue. Likewise, Providence and Crossed +100 are automatic buys for me but it's still nice to have a little taster beforehand. Other stuff like Uber and The Eleventh Doctor comics I almost certainly wouldn't have considered if it wasn't for your endorsement, and I've ended up loving them both.
So I'm afraid the way I consume these reviews isn't exactly conducive to insightful comment, but don't take that as a sign that they're not appreciated.
July 16, 2015 @ 2:57 am
These reviews actually convinced me to start getting into comics again.
July 16, 2015 @ 3:54 am
I find the Crossed series generally repulsive, cynical and actively stupid for the most part, but Moore's take on it is something else—it makes the concept really work for the first time, and uses it as a vicious critique of American utopianism and pioneer spirit, among a host of other things. It's a late-in-life Moore masterpiece, as Phil seems to agree.
It's also, while very harrowing, not incredibly gory, certainly nothing like say the notorious end of issue #1—much of the most horrific stuff happens "off stage."
July 16, 2015 @ 4:06 am
Oh, and I don't comment on Last War because it hasn't got to where I'm familiar with yet. And I don't watch Game of Thrones because it makes me think of my ex.
July 16, 2015 @ 6:16 am
These comics posts convinced me to buy "Ms. Marvel" when I couldn't care less about Super Hero comics for the most part, and now I buy it every issue.
I'm not sure what I would comment here every post aside from "Yeah good reviews again A+".
July 16, 2015 @ 7:05 am
I don't comment on the comics reviews because I don't read comics. But anyone reading the comments for the Thrones posts (or just glancing at them and thinking "Oh for fuck's sake") will probably deduce that that's not because I've wandered off for lack of Doctor Who.
July 16, 2015 @ 8:17 am
Dr S covered the entire run of Doctor Who and can't really do any more until it starts airing again. I mean really, what more do you want?
July 16, 2015 @ 10:40 am
Well, more Doctor Who, obviously. 🙂
July 16, 2015 @ 10:42 am
Thank you all; I wasn't really worried, to be clear. I have analytics, I know what kind of readership a given post gets, and while it's down from TARDIS Eruditorum, it's healthy. And, perhaps more importantly, my overall site readership isn't down; the change is in the number of people who go to direct article links instead of the frontpage.
Though, perhaps most importantly, the Patreon does fine and the books are coming along nicely, and this is, at the end of the day, a job.
But yes. Thank you all for the reassurance and kind words.
July 21, 2015 @ 8:46 pm
You gotta wait at least a day before crying 'no comments', dude. I mean, srsly.
July 21, 2015 @ 8:48 pm
He wants you to kidnap the actors and force them to make more episodes.