The next episode commentary will go up next week some time, in its own post. Comics reviews follow, from least favorite to favorite of what I bought this week.
Rat Queens #9
Issue #8 of this came out five months ago. This is part four of an ongoing story. There is no recap page whatsoever. I know I’ve ridden this hobby horse before, but this is suicidally dumb, in an “I think I’m dropping this title because I can’t be bothered to figure it out” sort of way. Seriously, I don’t remember a comic from five months ago. I have enough trouble with one month ago half the time. And yet nobody thought “ooh, maybe we should remind readers of the plot instead of throwing them in the deep end.” Yes, I could dig through my unorganized back issue piles looking for issues 6-8. But I could also save $3.50 a month, and that’s what I’ll be doing. This looks like a fine issue, but honestly, I’m done with comics that don’t make the slightest concession to the fact that I read 30+ comics a month on top of all the other media I consume and probably need a refresher when I haven’t seen an issue for five months. You had room for a six page preview of another comic, you could have given me a fucking recap page. Ugh. So, yes, dropping this, and going to commit to being much more aggressive about this. I’m not asking for dumbed down comics, but I am asking for some basic reader friendliness.
A perfectly pleasant issue, although man, again, a cast page would be so nice right about now. Does this work better in trade? This must work better in trade. I think this has turned into the latest equivalent of The Unwritten – a book I pay money for so that in two years when I pirate it because I’ve lost all my back issues and reread it in one night I feel no guilt. In any case, if you’ve enjoyed the twenty-five issues prior to this, you’ll probably like this a lot too.
Whatever I may think about some of the steps along the way, Hickman is managing a gloriously effective pounding climax here. I’m especially fond of the teases of where Bendis’s X-Men plot is going, although the “massive alien army about to nuke the Earth” plot is fun too. I’m curious how he’s going to pivot to the Steve/Tony confrontation that obviously underlies all of this, and I don’t quite trust him not to just drop all the spinning plates, but right now this book is a countdown to May, and I admit, each step is suitably breathlessly exciting.
A superhero horror comic by Warren Ellis that doesn’t sell itself on its own value after one issue, but that is by Warren Ellis, and so gets trusted to pull it together over the next five, because while there are Warren Ellis comics that are not great, there aren’t really any that are bad, or even not good. Though one fears that this is really just an excuse for Warren Ellis to write Lady Satan. But who’s going to begrudge him that?
Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #4
Oh! The plot! Neat! Also, Kieron Gillen, unsurprisingly, writes fabulously good Guardians of the Galaxy. This is still something of a fluff book for me (although I find myself really loving the mystery of what’s up with Sera), but it’s at least one where I’m starting to see where it’s going and be invested in it, and I have little doubt I’ll be glad to have been along for the ride by book’s end.
After finding the first issue of this shockingly rough, this is finally starting to find its groove, admittedly just one issue before the end. Still, Monet, a character I admit I have no actual understanding of the origin or background of, manages to hold down an issue on her own, which is an impressive writing feat, especially coming immediately off the back of my immensely frustrating Rat Queens experience. So, fun book. A disposable minor work in Wilson’s career, but a nice little X-Men story, by the looks of it, and I’m glad Wilson is doing stuff like this for Marvel.
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #9
This continues to be an utter delight. Ewing has some moments that are very, wonderfully, solidly Eleventh Doctor moments, that evoke huge, iconic moments of his tenure, but that are nevertheless utterly their own and part of this story. Top notch stuff.
The first issue of an arc, and thus putting pieces in place. There are books where this is the highlight. But Uber isn’t one of them. Uber is a book that sings when it’s doing payoff – when the bombs start to go off and the chain reaction builds to something appalling and unexpected and disturbing. Which it can’t do every month, of course. In other words, still love this book, and I can’t wait to see what this issue causes.
Missed the first issue of this, as it fell in the weeks I took off from these to finish up TARDIS Eruditorum. Interesting – very much a Grant Morrison comic for people who love The Invisibles. Probably my favorite thing he’s done since about Final Crisis. There’s a beautiful sense of Warren Ellis pastiche throughout it that I’m loving the hell out of. Quite excited to see this develop further.
Crossed +100 #3
A slower issue, as middles tend to be, but as fascinating and carefully layered as ever. One thing that struck me, reading this issue, was how Moore’s use of an artificial slang and his journal structure helps with the comic’s readability. No recap page, but because you’ve got Future writing up what happens and recapping events later, you don’t need one – the comic is doing all the teaching and catch-up work it needs to as you go. It’s a small thing, but a reminder of why Alan Moore is still better at this medium than other people.
Supreme: Blue Rose #7
A strange and hallucinatory fugue on Moore’s old strange fugues on Superman wraps up. I’m looking forward to rereading this, as there are definitely large swaths of things I missed in the monthly grind, but it’s beautiful and nuanced and fascinating, and I never felt more confused than I felt like I was supposed to be. Of this current wave of Ellis’s comics activity, this has been one of the real highlights.