As always, from worst to best of what I bought.
Sandman Overture #6
Ultimately, this fails under the weight of five previous issues spent going “well, maybe it’s all going to come together in the end.” Which, obviously, you know better than, or at least I do. No, the truth is that there’s no good reason for this miniseries to exist. It served mainly to waste J.H. Williams’s talents for two years on a mediocre and uninspired book, the result of which ends up being some of the worst work of his career simply because, for all its formal brilliance, it’s a pain in the ass to tell what’s going on, and usually what’s going on wasn’t worth the effort. None of the crackle or energy of Sandman is present here; it’s just a tired exercise of checking some boxes and getting to the end of the plot. What an utter disappointment of a book.
Young Terrorists #1
Picked up off the rack because it was a light week, and because I was intrigued by a book blurbed by Laura Sneddon (a critic I have great regard for, but whose taste differs pretty sharply from mine) and Julian Darius (a critic I have literally no respect for whatsoever, but whose taste runs close to my own) that used the tagline “get radicalized.” It’s messy – an eighty page opening issue that luxuriates a bit too much. Artist Amancay Nahuelpan is working in that messy, scratchy style of Daniel Žeželj or Riccardo Burchielli, which trades a degree of clear storytelling for impact, and the premise feels ever so slightly tired. I don’t want to say there are too many books that are taking terrorism seriously as a tactic instead of treating it as something to reflexively demonize, because there aren’t, but this mostly just leaves me wishing Bendis and Maleev were putting Scarlet out on anything like a reasonable schedule.
I admit to having a terribly large amount of fun with all the St. Anselm’s segments, that being my wife’s alma mater. (She was particularly tickled that her school motto was proposed by a bunch of Necronomicon-obsessed occultists.) This is a weird and deliberately unsettled issue based around dreams and time breaking down, and I’m curious how the transition into “Herbert West: Reanimator” is going to work in terms of tone from this heavily dream-inflected issue (mixing mostly “Dreams in the Witch House” and “Color out of Space”). But, perhaps as expected, this is transitional. Although Moore is clearly having a lot of fun with characters getting to explain things in ways that go over poor Robert Black’s head. “I’m more of a revivalist” indeed.
Mercury Heat #4
I wondered when this would pick up a bit. Gillen finally provides the exposition drop that the book proper had been lacking, and as a result Luiza’s character comes appreciably more into focus. It’s funny, the plot kicks into a properly functioning gear, and for the first time we get an issue where all the parts seem to be working together. Which is normally something you want to say before issue #4, but this is an Avatar book and one expects to have a level of commitment demanded from Avatar, so I’ve really got no problems with it. Well, except for the art, which feels like a sub-par 90s John Romita Jr, with some of the worst faces I’ve seen in comics in recent years and some genuinely bizarre action poses. But that’s also Avatar for you. Still, it was enough fun to see the book finally come together and demonstrate what it’s trying to do that I don’t mind.