We’re all creatures of habit in one way or another. Why should comic readers be any different?
I’m back to my own habits now, settling into a familiar routine. But Wednesdays are forever though. New comic books come and go, but I find myself drawn to the same old patterns, looking for the same creators who I love, never daring to take a risk on new ones and I wonder why that is?
Well, when you consider the talented offerings that they have produced before, why should I change up my routine?
So, let’s get to the list.
“Even now the smell of goat brings a tear to my eye and a stirring to my loins … “
Can anyone find fault with dialogue like that? Not me … Jason Aaron has always been one of my favourite writers. He has a subtle degree of humour that comes out when you least expect it. In fact, he does this in person as well. His humour is quite refined and when you get him to talk, it’s as much fun as one of his books.
But this isn’t the Thor that anyone would recognize. This is a Thor in the far, far future who has seen the decay of the universe. Unwilling to let the universe die, the All-Father Thor and his grand-daughters (the Goddesses of Thunder) re-ignited Earth and brought it back to life. Now, it is the last light of the universe beckoning greater dark powers to its glimmering.
Whoa. Never saw that coming. In my ignorance, I’m trusting this is an “Elsewhere” story. After all, if you are one who likes continuity, then this isn’t the book for you. But, if you’re someone willing to walk a new path and see heroes in a new manner, then definitely, check this out.
Still, I loved the beginning of this story. Thor and Wolverine … the ultimate drinking partners.
Star Wars #54
David Marquez and Paul Mounts are responsible for the dramatic cover to this intense-looking book.
Think about it: Vader faces off against Princess Leia.
If only we’d never have seen Episode VI, am I right? Then we could re-discover the Star Wars Universe through Kieron Gillen’s amazing storywriting and Salvador Larroca’s pencils! I mean, it: I’d be happy to suffer a memory wipe in order to explore this story as presented by these creators. This is Lucasfilm grade material, and needs to be recognized as how harmoniously it could fit into canon.
Princess Leia faces death in at least a couple of ways in this story and it’s great to see her as the hero of the hour. Yet there are sacrifices made by the other Star Warriors that need to be noticed as well. It’s just such an exciting arc and I honestly don’t want it to be over.
… Definitely in Marvel’s top three books, in my humble opinion, as one would expect.
Doctor Strange #5
SORCERORS IN SP-A-A-A-C-E …
Sorry, couldn’t resist that. My humour is allusionary-based and while in my head I’m laughing hilariously at my own reference to the “Pigs in Space” sketch on “The Muppet Show”, I’m sure there are other people who don’t get the joke.
Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz have given us a wonderful gift: a complete re-modeling of the character of Stephen Strange … a staple character of the Marvel stable of heroes who is as familiar comic readers as their own local comic book shops. But this guy? I love this new guy.
I absolutely love the new origin. In search of magic to replenish what the Earth had lost, Strange has learned new sources of alien magicks, created new tools, invented spells – this is a great spin on an old character and one that has successfully invigorated it.
With all of the attention on the new television and cinematic Marvel adaptations, a lot of comic creators have chosen the safe route to reinvent their subjects by simply adhering to those versions. It reinforces what has been visually shown – and, to be fair, safely accepted by a mass audience. So really, these creators are just giving the audience what they want and hoping to tap into that audience to boost comic sales. I hate to sound so cynical.
To my recollection though, this is the first time a comic creator has actually refined a familiar character with a completely new ground-zero origin story, while keeping true to the original intention of a character created over forty years ago. Now, I’m talking comics and in recent history, of course.
Even if I’m proven wrong, then it’s the best re-vamping of an original character that I’ve seen in a long time.
But then … hold the phone; because, just as I am getting over the joy of seeing this character recreated, save Earth and prepare to take his place once more as the planet’s “Sorceror Supreme”, then Waid throws a curve ball at us on the last page which has not only shocked me, but also has ignited a desperate curiousity in me!
I need to see the next issue of this book, and so do you!
Return of Wolverine #1
Charles Soule and Steve McNiven … two artists who I wholly respect and admire. I don’t think there could have been a better duo to bring this seminal hero back from the dead.
Wolverine has always been my favourite super-hero. It’s his resilience, his stubbornness and his refusal to give ground on any occasion that strikes a note of familiarity in me. Whereas some Marvel fans may invoke the “What Would Peter Parker Do” riff to help guide them in tricky situations, for me, it’s always been Wolverine.
Yeah, I don’t mind that he’s back from the dead. I’ll buy the book, drink the Kool-Aid and wantonly sacrifice my willing suspension of disbelief. I want Wolverine back and I’m glad he is.
I’m definitely curious and eagerly awaiting the next book with drooling wonder. Who is Persephone? What is this organization that has managed to bring Wolvie back from the dead? Moreover, why am I giving away stuff that I shouldn’t be including in this review?
Well, because I’m excited, that’s why.
I enjoyed the book and can sense that Soule has got one hell of a ride in store for his readers. We need to be prepared to just buckle in and enjoy the trip.
I can’t say I enjoyed Jay Leisten’s inking of McNiven’s work though. I don’t want to criticize, but I found it very bold. That was the only issue I had with this story of Wolverine’s triumphant return, however.
Batman Damned #1
But this is a rich book. I’m not used to seeing Batman in such a raw, primarily vulnerable state of being. He is a Batman, and it’s so outside my comfort zone of preferences to see Batman bewildered and, well … lost.
Lee Bermejo is a super talented artist. In fact, I even have one of his Batman head sketches. The man has a gift at making his art a near tangible experience. Combined with Brian Azzarello … the effect is an overwhelmingly sensory experience that combines the dark fury of the supernatural and the natural shadows in which the Batman dwells.
The Joker is dead. Not kidding … that’s what’s on the back of the page. But what is haunting the Batman? A memory or some sort of spectral force that that is drawn to the death of this master villain? Of course, why it is targeting the Batman is the mystery here and will the spirit of the Joker be its weapon?
This is an astonishing beauty of a book. It is grim and real and the fact that even the Batman is frightened says something about the scope of this story. This is a Batman that is definitely out of his comfort zone.
It’s an amazing piece of work and one that Bermejo and Azzarello should be proud of. If plans for this aren’t in the works for this to be in hardcover by the end of December, then DC is doing something wrong.
Tom King … WHY DID YOU GO AND DO THAT???
Tony Daniel and Tom King, a dynamic duo I don’t want to see end. So, why did … ah, I can’t. I’d be giving stuff away.
King has a technique. He likes to reinforce those bonds of familiarity between characters: love, fidelity, responsibility – all the bonds that give readers an anchorpoint to allow them to relate to the characters. He uses prose and exposition to build up those reminders and lull us into a safe sense of routine … and then, BLAMMO!
He hits us with a stark and cold plot twist that upsets the ground we’re standing on, and then the story ends.
It’s no wonder that King loves this medium so much; it’s like he enjoys taking the audience through these twists and turns.
(Oh, and I’ll be investigating this phenomenon in greater detail in my upcoming interview with Tom later this month. Watch for it.)
Amazing work … this is the type of writing that gives aspiring writers false hope. It seems so easy when you read it, but to not only visually frame the story and layer it with so many levels of authenticity is a task far more complex than it looks.
Read it and see what I’m talking about. I mean, it’ll set you up for the emotional piledriver that’s in his other comic that’s out this month.
Mister Miracle #11
Oh yeah … and here it is.
Tom has a great relationship with Mitch Gerads. They’ve worked together so well in the past that you’d swear they’re an old married couple themselves.
But Mister Miracle has a lot of the dynamics that I was referring to earlier, yet with relationships that are far deeper for readers to incorporate into their perceptions. After all, while we may be talking about super-powered beings that refer to themselves as gods and are trying to adapt to everyday life here on Earth, we are also looking at a basic married couple, prepared to sacrifice everything for each other and also now allow for the changes a newborn has brought into their world.
Both Mitch and Tom are dads. Mister Miracle #11 is a story that really pulls at the heartstrings because it’s something they know intimately well.
You ever try to get a baby out of the house? Seriously, you need more than just the bag and stroller; you need extras of clothing, diapers, bottles and then there are the favourite toys. Plus, for the love of all New Gods, do NOT forget the three pacifiers. One for in the baby’s mouth and two for just in case she or he loses that one in transit.
Babies are a logistical nightmare and to see even a superhero running around an apartment to get all this stuff together is a huge exercise in incongruent storytelling and King is a master at it.
What would you do for your kid? Anything? What would you do to save the universe? Would you sacrifice your kid? No … me neither. Better the universe should suffer than my child should experience any hurt.
Darkseid knows that the offer he has made to Scott Free will be rejected yet when Scott and Barda actually show up in Apokolips with baby Jacob in tow to bargain for the demilitarization of Darkseid’s forces and a cessation of hostilities between New Genesis and Apokolips, you can’t help but know that something is up.
In fact, Desaad even suspects that something is up, but what comes next is classic Tom King style augmented by Mitch Gerards’ way of physically portraying Scott Free’s relaxed emotionality. You know we’re being set up, but I don’t have the heightened senses of a small marmoset who’s used to fleeing at the first scent of danger. So, I willingly and blindly go along with the story.
… and, yeah.
It hits me.
You see, I KNEW it was coming; what it was, and I’ll be damned, but it was simply fantastic and it’s something that fans are going to refer to for years to come. It’s one of those moments in comic history that will have an impact on future comic stories, mark my words.
Trust me … I’m a dad. I know these things.
That’s why Mister Miracle #11 is the pick of the week for this week’s list.
Old habits are hard to break. I mean, I’ve read other comics than what I’ve just listed but these are the best of them all and not surprising, they’re names that I’ve written about before in the past. These are great talents and they are on my list on a regular basis for a reason.
So maybe that’s what I’ve learned?
Until next week!