Comics Reviews (September 7th, 2016)
Kieron Gillen was on Twitter yesterday making a very good point about a standard first issue structure where you open by showing the interesting thing then cut back and recap how you got there, which is that it’s a weak structure. I pointed out, in particular, that it’s a TV structure based on fear that someone will change the channel at the first commercial break, as opposed to a comics structure where the concern is that they won’t come back next month. Gillen wasn’t talking about Glitterbomb, as it only came out today, but it’s a case in point – on page 2 I was 100% in for what the book was doing. By the issue’s end, I was bored and wishing we could get back to that bit where it was interesting. It wouldn’t quite be as simple as not doing the flash forward structure – if you did the issue in chronological order Farrah’s first kill would defang the end. But still, it’s a lackluster approach that puts the moment of big emphasis in the wrong part of the issue.
Competent but unexceptional sci-fi mystery. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing that immediately announces itself as transcendently brilliant and must-read either. Some good images, but could probably have used to do a little more character work and a little less worldbuilding.
Mercury Heat #11
Good stuff – this arc slowed down rather a lot in the middle, but it gets off to a proper roar again here, and you start to see how it’s possible that we could be leading to a semi-satisfying book ending with the next issue. (Although I wish it had gotten one more arc – this is good stuff and I trust Gillen that it’ll come to a conclusion, but it’s also clearly not the plot he’d have picked to go out on.) The first ten issues of this are available as part of the currently running Uber Kickstarter, and if you like 2000 AD-flavored hard SF, it’s definitely one you wish you’d checked out.
Kill or Be Killed #1-2
Not sure how I missed the first one of this. The Brubaker/Phillips noir stuff has historically left me a bit cold, but this has a wicked sense of humor and a really compelling narrative voice that makes it feel vigorous and fun and daring in exactly the way previous Brubaker/Phillips things have not. It’s notable that this has much of the same premise as that ghastly Demonic comic that came out a few weeks ago – reading them side by side would be an excellent demonstration of good vs trite and mediocre writing. Also interesting to compare is Scarlet – there’s a similar case of “let’s take vigilante justice as a morally serious concept.” I hope it doesn’t end up going too blandly noir as a result – I don’t demand that our protagonist “get away with it” by any stretch of the imagination, and the book’s discussion of that notion pretty firmly mitigates against the idea that it could end that way, but straightforward “no murder really is wrong” will be tremendously unsatisfying. Still, that’s many issues from now, and for now I’m excited for the ride here.
Animosity, Black Monday Murders, Black Panther, Cinema Purgatorio, Deathstroke, Spider-Man
September 8, 2016 @ 6:10 pm
For what it’s worth, Ryan North, the writer of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, is now writing Jughead and is doing the notes at the bottom of the page there too. Since you like USG, you might want to try this.
September 9, 2016 @ 12:47 am
It’d be easy for you to get him to check it out.
September 14, 2016 @ 7:53 pm
The new Doom Patrol leaves me so aesthetically unsettled and speaks so eloquently to the GM legacy that I’ll buy it for you if it’s not too late.