Busy days in in the comic word this week. Marvel’s Battleworld is in full swing, and is the new lens through which we view Marvel’s comics these days. As Doom is the central axis point on which the new Marvel universe revolves, we have to remember that it is through this perspective that we have to view Marvel’s main titles and judge them on that basis.
Sigh … gone are the heady days of Cockrum and Byrne, Buscema and Matlo.
At this point, I need to make special mention as to where I get my comics. My comics come from the Comic Book Lounge and Gallery (comicbooklounge.com). They’re delivered faithfully every week by the manager and proprietor, Kevin Boyd. Kevin is a walking encyclopedia of comic information and a great guy to boot. If you are in Toronto and are looking for a comic store that offers delivery service, you really need to check this guy’s operation out. Trust me … you can’t go wrong.
Well, there are some new titles to look at from DC, Marvel and Image this month. So let’s get to it and take a look at them, without any further delay.
Oh wow. Just … wow.
This comic NEVER fails to take my breath away. It’s amazing how Forever Carlyle can be a devoted, deeply sensitive and loving daughter one moment and then turn into a ruthless, solid steel soldier the next. I love how Rucka is able to make this transformation so effortlessly and not detract away from the main plot. Forever has become one of my all-time favourite characters in comics today and I wonder why this comic isn’t getting more acclaim or attention. If ever there was a movie to be optioned for a film from Image, this is it.
Tales of Honor: Bred to Kill #1
Not bad – I really like this comic adaptation of David Weber’s space military series. Matt Hawkins does a pretty good job of keeping the integrity of the original series while condensing the plotline fairly succinctly and accurately. Linda Sejic’s art seems a little bit fuzzier than in the previous comic incarnation of the series, but it’s still excellent by any standard. I enjoy it and it’s a decent comic. If you haven’t read Weber’s stuff then this comic is an excellent introduction to it. You should really give it a go.
So, post Convergence, this is the New 52 JLA all gussied up and ready for show. Actually, it’s not bad. A friend said that to him, this felt more like a DC book than DC has been in the last little while. I tried to get a feel for what he meant. Bryan Hitch has done a stupendous job of making the JLA grandiose again and I found myself actually enjoying this title. Weird as it may seem, I think there might be a place for the New 52 in DC’s newly-vamped cosmology.
Secret Six #3
What an incredible ride through a messed-up Gotham suburb with the alienated cast of the Secret Six trying desperately to fit in under cover. I mean, when one of the opening lines of a book is “What I wanna know is who had weird sex on the couch last night?” then you know you’re in for a maelstrom of weirdness.
Gail Simone’s like a chef. Her mixture of weird humour, compelling characters, unadulterated moments of simple sweetness and shocking betrayal creates a meal that you race to devour. I read this comic co fast that I had to go back for seconds … and thirds. With Dale Eaglesham’s amazing art setting the table so well, it’s a perfect dish.
Now I’m hungry.
In all honesty though, I’ve waited a while to see Dale pencil a comic and I am not disappointed. His art has to rank amongst my favourites. I’ll always be a fan.
Doctor Fate #1
Can’t say that I was overly impressed by this re-invention of Doctor Fate – who has always been a favourite Earth-2, Justice Society character of mine, I have to say. But this re-working of the character by Paul Levitz and Sonny Liew tries to modernize Fate by making him younger, hipper and attached to his cell phone. Moreover, he isn’t truly a doctor – just a struggling pre-med student and seemingly half-Arabic and half-Caucasian – at least that’s the sense I’m got. However, he needs a little bit of Arabic blood to be descended from the pharaohs, I suppose.
The art was a little too cutesy, the dialogue seemed too focused on wondering if our hero, Khalid, was tripping out on drugs, and the Egyptian motif was way overdone. I couldn’t get into it as much as I tried, I’m sorry to say, because I really wanted to like it.
Astro City #24
Again, Kurt Busiek manages to find a simple story that brings the super-hero from his lofty heights and makes him relatedly human again. It’s a sweet story in which a super-powered monkey channels his combat training, enhanced strength and training away from fighting crime and into what he loves best: music.
Moon Knight #16
I literally salivate in anticipation before opening this book. Seriously, what a great run Cullen Bunn has had with this title. The antagonists in this issue are a little vague, but what a great one to show how bad-ass Marc Spector can be. I love the pseudo-religious overtones in this book and we see how strained the relationship between Khonshu and Spector actually is. Just an awesome book and I am especially appreciative of how distanced from Secret Wars it is.
Speaking of Secret Wars … here’s an attempt to resurrect a title from a few years back and integrate it into the Battleworld lens.
I think Doom would have approved of my one-word summation.
Squadron Sinister #1
I was intrigued by this title; especially as there are two squadrons on the cover, one sinister and one supreme.
Actually, I was pretty impressed by it. The funny thing is: Marvel has changed the universe’s rules. We simply have to accept it, like it or not, and judge the comics by the milieu they are set in. So in case, there is no way this is going to be a homage to the Squadron Sinister/Supreme from the glory days, but it is one that somehow fits into this new world. And I have to say, it fits in pretty damn good.
If you accept it for the story that it is – it’s really enjoyable. It has the right amount of intrigue and it definitely makes you think. Out of the Battleworld books, I have to say that I enjoyed this one the most.
So to wrap things up, the pick of this week’s pulls has to go to:
Seriously – I cannot think of a better book I have read in the last two years. I am just surprised though that its popularity isn’t better promoted. This is a comic book that all pop culture/media junkies should be selling to the movie companies. Hell, I’d even love to see it get its own TV show. It’s dystopian, has a strong female lead and has espionage and military themes up the wazoo.
But it’s the contradictions that I love: the code of the Lazarus, the fact that she is a weapon and not a daughter and that her family that Forever Carlyle has to be loyal to are far from loyal to her. It’s an amazingly rich story and if you haven’t read it, you need to start now.
I’m sure even John Buscema would love it.