Comics Reviews (November 12th, 2014)
I liked the “post this as soon as it’s ready” approach last week, so I think I shall make it a regular thing. As ever, ranked from worst to best of the week, with everything being something I voluntarily paid money for…
Captain America #1
If not necessarily deliberately paid money for. This was picked up in a miscommunication (Jill did the comics run today, and mistook my request for Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1 as a request for Captain America #1 and The Mighty Avengers #1, which I submit as an illustration of the sheer number of stupid bars to entry for people who aren’t obsessive about comics purchasing, because really, who the fuck thought it was a good idea to release two comics called Captain America #1 on the same fucking day). In any case, it’s an action sequence with captions that are some of the most cliched “white person writing about black people” ever. It’s heart’s in the right place – the joke about America’s prison system is wonderfully bleak. But it’s… not good, and is in fact that other thing.
Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1
I’m sure this will be a lovely series once it’s not tying into Axis, but right now it’s exactly nothing I want out of a book called Captain America and the Mighty Avengers.
Captain Marvel #9
Wonderfully silly one-off space romp with gratuitous rhyming. Good fun. I still don’t feel like I enjoy this book as much as I should, though – it often, as with this issue, feels competent without having any spark. The big cleverness here is the gratuitous rhyming, which is… forced, to say the least. Fun, but inessential.
This really should have been Thor #1, as it’s charming. The use of thought bubbles to convey the new Thor’s uncertainty and self-doubt is delightful, and there’s some good characterization here. I’m still not sure about the “don’t tell us who the main character is” hook, as it makes characterization for her trickier, but this was at least a good, fun Thor comic.
I love what the book is doing, particularly with its transitions among scenes, but I find the obliqueness challenging. No recap page, no captions telling us what or where a scene is, and Jock’s scratchy art makes it hard to know what’s going on – it took me a couple tries to get that Sailor’s father and uncle were different characters, which made the final scene a challenge. A cast page or a recap page or something would be nice – I completely forget what Lucy’s deal is. But this remains a promising horror comic.
A collection of shorts. In general, the shorter the better – the one-page Hostess Fruitcakes pastiche and the two-page newspaper comic one were both particularly brilliant. Quite liked Skottie Young’s as well. I continue to really be enjoying this Spider-Verse crossover, and I’m glad I snagged the silly tie-in anthology.
There’s some awkwardness at the start – the book’s post-Young Avengers social media aesthetic runs aground with some dodgy pseudo-computer stuff where finding a couple terabytes of storage to use is actually something that requires time and effort. The anime stuff feels like it might be trying too hard. I’m not sure I buy Black Canary turning into a complete bitch towards Babs. But strangely, none of this matters in the wake of this self-evidently being what a Batgirl comic should be, which is bright, young, and fun. It’s Batgirl done right, and I’m terribly glad it exists, especially out of modern DC, where you’d frankly not expect it to.
Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #7
Twists! Revelations! Excellent character bits! It’s another issue of this comic, which continues to be one of the best things any comics publisher is putting out, basically. Next month promises to be a lot of explanations, so I assume, being a Bendis comic, it won’t be anything like that, but hey, we’ll see. This, in any case, is great, if very much an end-of-arc issue.
Silver Surfer #7
After six issues of not quite giving us the “Jack Kirby’s Doctor Who” that the book’s premise was based around, we finally get it, with a story that larks about with several done-in-two-pages mini-stories nestled throughout, including some gorgeous character beats. This is an absolute delight of an issue, self-contained, and worth checking out if “Jack Kirby’s Doctor Who” is a thing that appeals to you, which, as you read my blog, I assume it is.
Also out today and better than any of these:
The Seventh Bride
Ostensibly an adult novel by Ursula Vernon, who wrote Digger, which remains one of my absolute favorite comic series, although this is under the pen name T. Kingfisher, which she uses when she’s doing not-for-children stuff. This is in some ways unfair, as this is an absolutely lovely children’s book, albeit in the same way that Children of the Stones is absolutely lovely children’s television, which is to say, it’s terribly dark and grim.
Well. Ish. It’s still an Ursula Vernon book, which means its narrative voice and the basic character traits it values are a sort of calm and pragmatic midwestern politeness. So it’s a dark and grim story full of sentences like “It made no sense to Rhea, but on the other hand, she was watching hedgehogs sing to the moon to summon a carpet of slugs, so clearly there was very little sense to be made of anything,” or “Arguing about the value of livestock with a mad sorcerer did not seem like a good idea, however, even as angry as she was.”
It has dark woods and evil sorcerers. And hedgehogs. Here it is on Amazon. You can get it many other places as well. It is very wonderful and charming, and I quite recommend it.
November 12, 2014 @ 7:35 pm
No interest in Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody? Admittedly somewhat esoteric, but I'm crazy happy to have Christopher Priest writing comics again. He's one of my all time favorite writers. (Note for anybody not deeply into comics: I'm talking about the writer formerly known as Jim Owsley, not the novelist whose script for Doctor Who didn't get made. Two different writers.)
November 12, 2014 @ 7:39 pm
Didn't realize that was out. Priest's marvelous.
November 13, 2014 @ 1:10 am
Just to quote Journey Into Mystery, on Black Canary being a 'bitch'? – "Don't be a thug. There are ways to vilify an evil woman that don't use words designed only to vilify women."
November 13, 2014 @ 1:10 am
Not that Black Canary's evil. Or even that she's being that unreasonable, IMO. But I am a stickler for an accurate quote.
November 13, 2014 @ 1:24 am
Some of the comics I'm reading : Alex + Ada #10 (Image): This series is quite an achievement and I like its stoic tone and the clean artwork. Almost no aesthetic comes without its drawbacks and in this case the information per panel ratio is sometimes a bit low because Jonathan Luna is fond of moving around his characters in front of static backgrounds. The worldbuilding is interesting; most technologies shown in the book are near-future, whereas the progress in Artificial Intelligence is quite dramatic and in its "practical" applications, from our contemporary point of view, even breaking taboos.
November 13, 2014 @ 2:25 am
It's not even just two Captain America #1s on the same day, it's two Captain America #1s where the lead character has deliberately different characterisation in each thanks to an event, and the guy writing the event is writing the book without the event characterisation.
(I am obviously a bit over-invested in this, but FFS Marvel.)
You Know Who...
November 13, 2014 @ 12:28 pm
As a result of the static camerawork, 'Alex + Ada' really works well when read on a phone. (I'm actually noticing this more and more — fewer funky layouts, more square or rectangular panels with characters moving almost in an animation-style. Look at the most recent 'Sex Criminals' for another example of this.)