I began reading comics at the age of four. My parents had a convenience store in the UK and every morning, the newspapers would arrive and I would find myself in the front of the store in the early hours of the morning sifting through them to search for the comics.
British comics used to come in newsprint format, and to an extent, a good number still do. So they would be rolled up within the daily papers but I never minded. In fact, it was an adventure for me. At such a young age, to trundle to the front of the shop, I have a clear memory of the anticipation and the joy at finding the new issues.
I honestly think my parents used to order them from the news agents so I could experience that happiness in the morning. Of course, it saved them from waking up and getting them, I suppose!
Of course, I couldn’t decipher all the words, but I was able to grasp the visual logic of the story structure and for the most part, the comics made sense to me. In fact, it made literacy acquisition a lot easier for me as I had that visual reinforcement.
I think I have that same joy in selecting what comics I’m going to feature in my weekly review. It’s a love that’s combined with nostalgia, especially when a lot of the titles or characters are from my childhood.
It’s just fun to share that joy with others, I suppose.
Let’s get to the list.
Star Trek: New Visions #8
You can’t get any more nostalgic than this! My favourite fandom in comic format. Plus, in photo-novel fashion exactly like the ones I used to get from the grocery store IF my mother thought I deserved a treat! Yeah – this one is hard to ignore.
Fifty pages of unadulterated Star Trek goodness from John Byrne. It’s action-packed and paced exactly with the same sort of intensity you would expect from the original series.
When ROM initially appeared in Marvel Comics back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, I remember thinking – even as a kid – that Marvel had sold out. Of course, ROM was part of Jim Shooter’s campaign to license toys for comics. That trend spawned the Secret Wars, the Micronauts and eventually the Transformers and GI Joe. Despite what negative press Jim Shooter may have gained in his career, they were arguably some of the most successful titles in the Marvel stable.
However, with cross-overs, I eventually learned to love the lone Space Knight. He was a solitary figure, tasked with a lonely quest and misunderstood by humanity. Christos Gage and Chris Ryall have managed to capture that same feel about the character and re-introduced him for a new generation. It’s a very authentic and accurate representation of the Space Knight that we remember but with enough differences to make him shine again.
Gotta pause for an in-joke with Chris Ryall: this book smelled great too!
Again – another example of that nostalgic age of reading Marvel Comics. But in this case, I never felt ripped off when I read this title. In fact, I think Marvel did a great job of fleshing out the toys and attached a great story to them.
But Cullen Bunn has created an amazing storyline in his own right that has definitely made this book my current favourite in the IDW list of offerings. It’s fun and it also manages to inject some of the 1980’s fun, and with the announcement that the Micronauts are going to find themselves in an extremely fun – but expected – place, that will only make the fun even greater.
Seven to Eternity #1
Rick Remender and Jerome Opena present this senses-numbing tapestry of a science fiction story … and I am awestruck by the breadth of creativity and its fantastic nature. This is the type of sci-fi that hearkens back to the glory days of Heavy Metal and Ralph Bakshi. This is a tale of uncut and pure imagination.
Yeah … I liked it.
But in all seriousness, I haven’t read a story like this in ages. It’s completely fresh and has to be one of the most unique tales I’ve encountered in long time. It has an eclectic collection of elements like a forgotten culture, adapting to an alien world, sorcery, religious fervor and family honour all woven together in a mosaic of comic art that really needs to be seen to be appreciated.
I’m trying very hard not to reveal too much because this should be a book that is savoured by the reader. This promises to be another epic Image title that you can expect will elevate the comic genre to new heights.
Aquaman: Rebirth #7
Dan Abnett is one of my story gods. This is the man who knows how to imbue international intrigue into a superhero book. I love how he has elevated Aquaman’s character to reflect a true king. This book has the right amount of mystery mixed with secret organizations, a master nemesis and international statesmanship. It’s a great angle on Aquaman and is probably the defining one for this generation.
Batman: Rebirth #7
This is the beginning of the story arc “Night of the Monster Men”. I love the fact that this is in a continuum that links all of the Batman books together. It’s somehow reassuring to know that there is a concerted approach to maintaining Batman in all of his different appearances. To my mind, it reflects care and consideration for the integrity of the character and it’s respectful.
Riley Rossmo’s penciling doesn’t measure up to snuff, in my humble opinion. It’s a little grainy for my tastes But Tom King and Steve Orlando have co-plotted a pretty gruesome master plan for Dr. Hugo Strange to unleash right in the middle of the worst hurricane to ever hit Gotham City. On the heels of Tim Drake’s death, it’s a pretty harrowing time for the Batman team.
Not a bad start to an arc; definitely worth picking up.
Okay … as much as I’m a little concerned about the wobbly way that Superman seems to be flying these days; I mean, there’s a lot to integrate: a new Superman from another parallel Earth, married to Lois with a kid, a distrust with Batman; this is hardly the Superman we knew and clearly is heading for a new character definition.
But damn it, this was an incredibly cute story.
The cute factor was high with the new Man of Steel and his family on a simple jaunt out to the County Fair. Absolutely loved every frame of this book.
I was speaking to Francis Manapul about this at Fan Expo Canada a few weeks back. He seemed to be a little nervous about it when we chatted but after reading this, I have no idea why.
This was something he needed to brag about.
After all, this was the lynch pin I was looking for to reconcile the new Superman with his peers and what a better place to start than with Batman and Wonder Woman?
Francis, if you’re reading this (and I hope you do), you have accomplishged an incredibly necessary taskwith this book. Not only have you hit upon the right story angle but this is a trio who needs to reconcile in order to smooth relations with essential characters in the new Rebirth universe, but you have also alleviated a lot of the story blocks that are going to arise with your fellow DC Comic creators.
Like Wonder Woman said to Lois: “This was a good idea.”
It’s an example of the missing humanity in the Rebirth process. It’s not enough to just accept the new status quo – you must have some of the human pathos behind it in order for the fans to relate to it. Lois did exactly what a loving wife would do, and that makes the story and the characters’ interaction authentic.
Francis Manapul – proud to call you a fellow Torontonian. You have restored my faith in the inter-relationships of the “Big Three” in DC Comics. Whatever they paid you – get them to double it.
The Pick of the Week: Trinity #1
As much as I want to go with Image Comics’ Seven to Eternity, I have to just settle for giving Rick Remender and Jerome Opena an honorable mention. It was a spectacular work and I whole-heartedly endorse people to buy this book. It’s a true example of exemplary comic creation.
But Francis Manapul has taken the legacy of over 70 years and managed to reconcile Trinity #1 within the new DC Comics continuum, and as a guy who is fully invested in the idea of maintaining a healthy continuum, I have to go with Francis Manapul’s Trinity #1 as the pick of the week.
Dude … you rock, and I unabashedly admire you for all your efforts. This was an intensely gratifying story that brought a sense of stability to the observers of the new DC renewal process. I fully appreciate what was done with this book and hope that others soon share my appreciation. What would add a little bit more of an authentic dimension would be an acknowledgement of what was happening in Gotham. After all, Wonder Woman did bring up Cheetah, right? It’s that recognition of the other aspects of the trinity that brings authenticity to the premise of the new universe.
This has been a great comic-reading week. It smacked of nostalgia and pleasant memories of characters and storylines that I read in my early and developing readership. I just want to say thanks to all the creators this week who made this an amazing week of reading comics!