It’s time for San Diego Comic Con … and I’m not there.
I’m a comic guy, a Trekkie, a classic geek and nerd in both uses of the words and I’m not at Comic Con. Well, I’m also a dad, a teacher and I have responsibilities that get in the way of me totally geeking with my fellow pop-culture junkies, and that also means cash.
I toyed with the idea of mounting a kickstarter to send me to cover SDCC, but then that would reduce the fun out of it. So, in the end, I’ll just have to vicariously enjoy it through Twitter and Facebook and other Social Media that manages to shrink the world.
And there’s always 2016, right? And I can always sell a kidney.
But Comic Con is because of comics, yeah, but also all the other things that are connected to those comics. Movie and television properties, toys, games both electronic and board. The celebrities who are associated with these things are also part of that package.
In the end, they prove one thing: comics are fun. So let’s get to it.
A real surprise to me. I have to give Marvel credit … I’m a Secret Wars 1984 fan, but this re-imagining of the Marvel Universe in a western format is actually quite fun. Especially the map; I love artistic maps.
The art isn’t too bad either – sort of a cross between John Romita Jr and John Buscemi, so it’s got some pedigree to it. I’ll have to keep an eye on this Virella fellar! But I have to say that this was definitely a fun read.
That’s the thing about reviewing comics. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in trying understand the message or integrity that we forget that they’re also supposed to be fun and I enjoyed reading this little visit to the Valley of Doom.
…unlike the visit to this little corner of Doom’s Battleworld, I’m sorry to say. It took everything that was good about the Inferno crossover series from the 80’s and turned it on its proverbial head.
The storyline is just silly and really doesn’t capture the characters very well. Yes, Colossus loves his sister, but he’s not stupid. This representation of Peter Rasputin isn’t true to form. These are caricatures of the X-Men that just don’t hold any real entertainment for me.
Star Wars: Lando #1
I was looking forward to reading this. But I don’t think it holds any real longevity. Lando was charming but not really essential to the franchise. Han could have been betrayed and then rescued by anyone.
While Alex Maleev’s art isn’t my cup of tea, Charles Soule has crafted a very rich caper in the same tradition as Ocean’s Eleven. While the actual heist itself is a bit rushed, the punchline at the end makes up for the hurried pace! I think this is supposed to be a mini-series, but the first issue proved itself to be an enjoyable start.
Civil War #1
Back to Battleworld for another Charles Soule story. Lenin Yu’s pencils are amazing but Sunny Gho’s colours blunt them somewhat in this issue.
This is good … it extrapolates what could have happened if the Civil War had have continued into the new history dictated by Doom. But this issue made me think about all the duplicate characters there are in all the various states. It’s too much of a “Doom Ex Machina” to accept that they’ll all just be reconciled by the will of Doom.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2
As we have just seen a Spider-Man I’m the last comic, so we come to another who values his family more than his identity.
I actually thought Dan Slott couldn’t go further with this, but clearly I misjudged him. The line that stands out in this issue is: “I got rid of it years ago, because that’s what daddies do. We do anything to keep our families safe. ANYTHING.”
You know, about a couple of weeks ago, comic legend and personal literary hero of mine, John Byrne, called Dan Slott out for not preserving the character integrity of Peter Parker. As much as I admire Byrne, this issue proves him wrong. This is the Peter Parker I love.
Slott: you’re okay in my book.
Squadron Sinister #2
The story was a lot more solid in this issue. A little more political intrigue makes this a more entertaining book. Definitely an improvement over the last one.
I’m planning on dropping this title. I mean, Batman’s dead, in the comic the Multiverse’s change hasn’t been acknowledged and Jim Gordon has suddenly lost 20 years of aging and is in a Bat Bunny suit.
… Then Bruce Wayne is back?
Sigh … and Scott Snyder demonstrates how he is going to make me buy Batman #43 next month.
Bryan Hitch’s art spoils the story for this book. While his scriptwriter isn’t bad, the characters look half-inked and amateurishly sketched. I think this is one even Snyder couldn’t save. I’ll be dropping it after this one.
The New Suicide Squad #10
It’s hard to cheer for Captain Boomerang but Sean Ryan manages to accomplish with this book. Writing anti-heroes can be liberating but there’s a knack to it and Ryan proves he’s more than capable. Definitely a good pick for the list this week.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #2
Yep … another joyful romp through Douglas Adams’ lesser known work and all is well.
It’s coincidental that the story is set in San Diego, home of the famous San Diego Comic Con and I can imagine Chris Ryall sitting at his table there now, distributing copies to fans and talking it up.
And he deserves to. Remember earlier how I said that we forget that comics should be fun? This is an example of taking a great piece of work and reinventing it in comic format for a new generation of readers to enjoy.
I have a very fond place in my heart for IDW. They are an innovative company that is constantly looking for new properties to adapt to comics. That’s part of the fun.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is one of those stories that everybody needs to read and Ryall and Akins definitely do a great job of capturing Dirk’s mysterious perceptiveness and con-artistry and presenting it in a way that it can be thoroughly enjoyed. Definitely one of my favourites.
Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #1
I’ve been dying to see this one. Of course, at first, it did make me wonder what was in the water coolers at both DC and IDW offices, but it’s Star Trek – so I can be easily swayed to look at anything with Star Trek in it.
I’m beginning to think that if you put Star Trek in anything, it makes it better. Look at IDW’s last foray into the Planet of the Apes. That turned out great and so did this.
The story begins with a mysterious force attacking Ganthet, a former Guardian of Oa. He carries with him rings attuned to the emotional spectrum: yellow for fear, red for rage, blue for hope, and so forth. Anyone familiar with the Green Lantern comics will know these rings.
But having them power the Enterprise? Pure fun. Then, of course, the surprise guest at the end of the issue – well, it just seems like it was meant to be.
And there’s that element of fun again.
Star Trek: New Visions #7
This latest photonovel creation of John Byrne is titled 1971 and includes one of my favourite never re-visited elements of the original series – Gary Seven.
I love these. I’d love to ask Byrne why he doesn’t just draw these new stories he concocts. Not that I’m complaining – don’t get me wrong; like I said, I love them. But is it the challenge of sifting through what must be hundreds of images, and then having to manufacture new ones for new characters. Byrne is a legendary artist – he can draw anything he wants. I’m just curious to know.
Still, what a great story: Gary Seven helps Kirk fend off an alien invasion of planet Earth by using the Guardian of Forever. Just pure Trek stuff that Gene Roddenberry would have loved to see.
So, I’m having a hard time pick my choice of the week. The criteria I’m going to apply is going to have to be the one that gave me the most fun.
Star Trek New Visions #7 has to be my pick after careful consideration. Like I said, if you add Star Trek to anything, it’s automatically better. it’s like some sort of magical food ingredient that makes anything taste better.
But Byrne really has my curiousity. I want to know more about his process. I’d love to interview him. Maybe Chris Ryall could answer that question as it’s really difficult to contact John Byrne these days. In fact, on a personal note, I’m really disappointed that I’m not at SDCC 2015 because this is one of John Byrne’s few appearances! Sigh … there’s always 2016, right?
But whatever his reasoning, it’s clear that he’s hit the nail on the head. This is my favorite new revisiting of the original series, making use of the original cast’s photos – this is something that Gene Roddenberry would be proud to see: his legacy has continued and Byrne is making that happen.
So that’s my choice for this week. If you’re at SDCC this year, make it a great one! If you’re not, then commiserate with me as we longingly read Twitter and other social media and hope that 2016 is our year!