Comics Reviews (September 14th, 2016)
Man, you’ve really gotta take the good with the bad when it comes to Priest, don’t you? So much of this is clever – his transitions among sections, his pacing of reveals, a fair amount of his character work… but there’s just a fundamental messiness to the structure – his time jumping too often makes it so the issue lacks a clear structure or sense of what it’s actually about. The stuff about Slade’s son getting kidnapped at the start is the biggest offender – a plot thread that doesn’t visibly connect with anything else in the issue and, worse, has an unclear temporal relationship with it. The frustrations here are rapidly overwhelming the pleasure – not sure if I’m going to keep on with this.
Doom Patrol #1 (Not purchsed by me)
Tricky. It’s doing that big, ostentatiously messy Grant Morrison thing, which is an entirely appropriate thing for a Doom Patrol book to be doing. But it’s sometimes hard enough believing that there’s actually a coherent train of thought knitting everything together when it’s Morrison, and seeing these tricks used by someone else is worrisome in the extreme. That said, this book has a hell of a lot of spark, and while I’m far from confident that it’s going anywhere good (in fact I suspect it’s going to be a bit of a trainwreck), I’m kind of inclined to give it another issue or two. I worry that it’s going to end up being all setup and no payoff, though. Certainly there’s nothing like a clear sign that this isn’t just unfocused weirdness yet. But I’m willing to entertain style over substance for a bit.
Black Panther #6
Many of the same problems as Deathstroke, which is perhaps appropriate for a book so openly indebted to Priest’s work, but Coates is at least sticking in one timeframe. All the same, this isn’t really an issue – it’s a series of short scenes that incrementally advance their own plots without giving any real sense of how they interlock and what the whole is doing. Individual scenes make interesting and often compellingly-written points, but they’re just that – individual scenes that don’t feel like part of a larger issue, little yet like part of a larger story that we’re ostensibly on the sixth part of.
Cinema Purgatorio #5
Code Pru’s brilliant this month, and Modded’s thoroughly hilarious. Cinema Purgatorio itself’s a bit weak – it tips its hand early in the strip and then doesn’t really go anywhere until the last page, at which point it has some clever again. The remaining two strips continue to suck. All in all, this isn’t actually worth its cover price, but what are you going to do, not buy an anthology with Moore, Ennis, and Gillen in it?
Style is famously the stuff you never stop doing wrong, and so in “classic” Bendis style this is two separate and completely unrelated comics awkwardly bolted together at the middle. The first is an absolutely brilliant scene of Miles talking to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones and is a perfect example of why this is a compelling book. The second is the Civil War II tie-in and does that stupid crossover thing where you revisit a scene from the crossover book from the perspective of a minor character and in a way that doesn’t actually reveal anything about that character. Or the scene. Or really do anything but recap a book from months ago. Oh, and apparently the rest of Civil War II is delayed another month because of course it fucking is.
Doctor Who: The Third Doctor #1
At one point, Cornell has the Doctor tell a story about hanging out with Pol Pot and calling him “Polly.” This is flatly alarming. Yes, Cornell’s relationship with the Pertwee era has always been strained, and one suspects he’s offering a critique here – it is after all the same thing that was the occasion for his famous “came to Earth and became a Tory” crack. The trouble is, the rest of the issue is a loving nostalgia fest, so it’s far from clear what the joke of having the Doctor pal around with genocidal tyrants is exactly. As a loving nostalgia fest, however, this is tremendously fun, and I’m willing to let things unfold, eyebrow firmly raised.
This continues to be inventive and unsettling in all the best ways. There’s a bit towards the end where the plotting gets away from the book a bit and it’s hard to follow what’s happening, but for the most part it’s incisive and angry and absolutely pulsing with brilliant energy. This really looks to be one of the most exciting books going right now.
The Black Monday Murders #2
But it aint nearly as good as this, a book that really just seems like Jonathan Hickman deciding “fuck it, I’m going for broke.” I admit he’s yet to actually impress me with anything long term, and I have some serious doubts about his ability in that regard, but man, if he can somehow pull this off… Anyway, this is a book about money and black magic and strange conspiracies, it’s completely fucking mental, and for the moment I’m pretty much utterly in love with it. Definitely check it out.
September 15, 2016 @ 11:50 am
Thank you. Sorry the DP idea flashed so late in the day but it’s personally very satisfying to get your thoughts. We can continue it as long as the book and your interest last — I also want it to win but there’s really no way it can without making GM lose.
September 16, 2016 @ 3:29 pm
ISTR the Discontinuity Guide (partly by Cornell) being alarmed by the Doctor in “Mind of Evil” being on personal name terms with Chairman Mao, so he’s probably riffing on that. But yes, if he’s not planning to do anything with it, he probably shouldn’t.
September 16, 2016 @ 8:10 pm
I just loll’d at myself because I was completely confused by your Deathstroke review … until I remember that Deathstroke and Deadpool are not the same character, despite any evidence to the contrary.