Sometimes, it’s a little scary how willing we are to surrender our sense of disbelief in return for a decent story. Reading comics is such a common and accessible form of escapism that in order for the experience to be a good one, we readily throw our support behind a proven writer for the story to succeed, and, I suppose, give ourselves the feeling that the time was well-spent.
I’m always pleased to discover new sources of storytelling, like Tim Seeley’s one-shot special Wonder Woman/Steve Trevor we look at this week; what a wonderful read. So much to talk about … and not enough time to appreciate how much we surrender when we read.
Well, let’s see if we can address that and get to the list.
The Night Owl Society #3
There’s just so much that I can emote about how great this short, encapsulated series. It’s been a very quick and short run on this story – three issues, but it’s exactly what it needed to be. While the sequential lay-out of the story is fairly simplistic, the story is a remarkably poignant and succinct one that quickly and authentically captures the imagination of a young reader.
While the ideas it represents are fairly mature, it underlines how much young people have matured in our society. After all, they can appreciate crime and shades of grey morality, even though they are young in years. One of the disadvantages of an information-rich society is that teenagers are exposed to mature concepts very early and are forced to apply their data-rich, experience-poor sense of judgement to scenarios. However, despite their inexperience, they are able to survive and succeed.
This story illustrates this paradigm so perfectly and allows the protagonists to make a judgement that we hope that young people today are able to make. It’s sad that kids are forced to face these realities so young, but reassuring that there is hope for them to do the right thing. What a great story and James Venhaus and Pius Bak should be proud of the intricate and enjoyable story they’ve created.
Star Trek – New Visions #16
I’m not going to comment on the art. John Byrne isn’t taking praise for the art other than the labour-intensive process he goes through to find and arrange the images he needs to tell the story. Even though he actually does create some original pieces of art for his project using Photoshop or some such software, he doesn’t really give himself credit other than the amount of time it takes to comb through available images and select what he needs. He really just has a great eye for photo arrangement and I think he’d agree with that.
Still, it’s the story and the understanding of the basic nuances of the Original Series that should be recognized here.
I’ve always respected Byrne as a creator, but I think this series really showcases his talent as a writer. His stories are sharp and pure 1960’s Trek. This particular issue sees Kirk jumping through time in response to an enemy who can utilize temporal weaponry. Byrne crafts this story exactly as a fan of the Original Series would expect the episode to flow. As the story is told from Kirk’s perspective, one can gauge the series to fit the rhythm of the television show and in fact, you can imagine the interstitial music in between scenes to fit entirely within the issue; it’s that true to the show.
I love this comic. Byrne has given me, and other loyal Star Trek fans a chance to relive the Original Series with images from the … the original series. Plus, in addition to the main story, he gives us another story in the form of a future outcome of Yeoman – now Lieutenant Janice Rand, a definite fan-favourite and crush of mostly every Trek fan. Then, he even throws a short few pages that tease the inclusion of Lieutenant M’Ress – and if you don’t know who that is, then you are not a true Trek fan.
I have to say, that Time Out of Joint really showed me what sort of Trek fan John Byrne is. I will willingly give him my dollars because he has continued the style of Trek that I first fell in love with. That brings this illustrious creator closer to me, which is also frustrating because I will never meet him. However, I still feel like he and I have a lot more in common than I initially realised.
Clay and Seth Mann share penciling duties with the amazing David Finch on this book scripted by the illustrious Tom King. With a darkly powerful cover by Finch, this team has propelled Batman to an amazing height. The question is: where do things go from here?
An unbelievable direction that King is taking Batman. It’s an interesting one, to be sure, but it’s one that will have definitive ramifications on the Batman’s future. If there is an issue that will alter the course of Batman stories forever, then this is that comic.
I’m torn by the ending of this book. I think this is a development that logically fits Batman’s evolution but at the same time, I can’t shake just how different things will be. It’s a life-changer that will not just change the comic, but also the character. If so, then King has done something truly historical here and it’s going to be exciting to just watch and see what develops.
Of course, nothing may happen; there might be a no in the works.
Whatever the outcome, this is definitely a thought-provoking issue and that, after all, is what will keep readers returning to this book.
I don’t think I’ve read a Superman book that has viscerally affected me as this issue. Doug Mahnke’s art is truly superior and is a large part of the enjoyment of this comic.
Threatening a child is an action that borders on the unforgivable. Manchester Black has proven himself to be someone quite willing to cross lines and his willingness to attack Superman through his son is an act that is thoroughly reprehensible and makes the reader want to hate him more.
… Especially if you have children of your own. Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi have definitely hit a nerve with this storyline. By selecting a villain as callous as Manchester Black who has no moral limitations in harming an innocent, particularly a child, the reader empathizes with Superman’s predicament and we want him to hurt Manchester Black as much as he can.
Of course, the real discovery to make is: will he? That’s the real story – will Superman still continue his moral code when his child is threatened?
The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #6
A delightful end to another well-cropped story. It not only re-establishes Captain Atom as a hero under the new DC Rebirth, but it also gives him a brand-new origin story for the 21st century. Cary Bates, Greg Weisman and Will Conrad have done a wonderful job here and it really needs to be acknowledged. It’s not an easy task to make a second-string character relevant for the new DC universe but they’ve managed to do it in six issues. Of course, this not only sets Captain Atom up for more adventures in the future, but it makes him a welcome and established figure in any comic, say, the Justice League? It was a strategically-placed comic and it was done very well.
Wonder Woman/Steve Trevor #1
I really enjoyed this. I mean, I don’t want to give the idea that I’m on the band-wagon with the other supporters of the newest and most successful DC movie since Batman Begins (and there was a long gap between the two films), but this new incarnation of Wonder Woman is hot right now and the world is ready for more of her, and yeah – so am I.
However, this book is more about Steve Trevor than Diana and to be frank, I’m very glad to see it. Not only do we see a relationship based on mutual respect and equality, but we also gain some insight into the nature of their beginning romance. We see Wonder Woman as a true noble figure and Steve Trevor is her logical and appropriate stoic counterpart. It’s more than just a romance; it’s a true partnership and I, for one, find it extremely compelling.
I think Tim Seeley really has Wonder Woman’s character down-pat here. She is formal, regal but also not afraid to get her hands dirty in a fight. I love the way he structures her dialogue, the way she banters with Steve – it’s a beautiful example of a writer fully in tune with his character.
It also doesn’t hurt that the visualization of this stunning story is made possible by the dynamic art of Christian Duce, who really knows how to display action sequences. The positioning of the characters is extremely fluid and the combat sequences are absolutely exciting. This is a great book to pick up.
Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey definitely have created the spookiest comic outside of CIA dark operations. Given that their intentions are to create an X-Files story that rests on the shoulders of the most authentic “X-Files” motif possible, then they have achieved something quite extraordinary with this book.
In all candour, while the “clandestine branch operation” of the local government is a well-used motif, it takes someone like Shalvey to properly visualize the series, and make it work. Ellis fleshes out the characters in such a well-defined way. Each member of the team has a specific skill-set that makes them unique and each of them brings a distinct flavour to the success of this book.
I willingly surrender all disbelief to Shalvey and Ellis in this book, because secretly I think I want to believe that this sort of world exists. Given today’s international political climate, it’s a better explanation that today’s governments are influenced by the occult rather than by simple stupidity and motivated self-interest.
This title is probably the most positive book I have read in a while. Not just on a personal level, like Huck, but on a grand, existential level that should help alleviate some of the fears where we go after we die. Don’t think I’m getting messianic on you or anything, but if we are really going to submit our sense of disbelief, then this is the book to completely surrender to.
I don’t know what it is about Mark Millar, but how does he and Greg Capullo know how badly I want this to be real? This is a real twist on high comic fantasy in that it’s fantasy that we can believe can happen.
After all, Bonnie Black is the everyman character that we can all relate to, and her destiny: to enter a new life, to vanquish a legendary evil and to bring an era and status of peace and order to a mythical kingdom has to be one of the greatest spells that we can fall under. What an aspiration and to think that her death brings forth so much good for others. It makes death not to be feared but to be purposefully transitioned.
I’ve made no secret of my complete adoration of Millar’s storytelling. I’ve loved his Jupiter’s Legacy, Jupiter’s Circle, Kingsman and the list goes on. Greg Capullo’s work is always thunderously astounding and this is a man who knows how to draw out the essence of a character and make it stand out for all to see.
This is definitely the pick of the week for this installment. I can’t shake the feeling of wish-fulfillment this comic instills within me and I’m sure that’s the same for a lot of other people as well. Comics are such a powerful storytelling medium that they have the power to allow you to see your wishes depicted even before you know what they are. It’s something just short of magic, which is what this comic is: magic.
Like I said, I look forward to the time when I can surrender my disbelief to tales like this and hope that you can too. That’s it for this week – looking forward to surrendering to the next one.