Another brief list this week, though my comic supplier is informing me that next week is going to be a bit of a doozy. I’ve had it pretty easy for the last couple of weeks, but it’ll be a late night for me next week! But that’s life for you: a series of crests and waves that you can never be fully ready for. Some say that the challenge of life is not its individual obstacles we have to overcome on a daily basis but the fact that there is such a variety of ups and downs.
It’s the same with comics. As much as aficionados love to whine about and criticize individual books, it’s the big picture that they have to keep in mind; the major story overall, if you like. I try to measure the effects of the stories against the integrity of the character or the history of the publishing house. One story isn’t going to mean much in the grand scheme of things but the major events will have an impact.
Like the chimpanzee said to the ape in reference to the on-looking humans at the zoo, it’s all relative, isn’t it?
Let’s get to the list.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #4
This is the penultimate issue in the of “The Interconnectedness of All Kings” story arc. I enjoy this for the simple fact that it’s a Douglas Adams creation brought back to life to be appreciated in another medium. Dirk Gently is one of Douglas Adams’ most innovative characters and deserves a new story for a new audience. It’s not exactly the way I imagined him, but he appeals to a generation of David Tennant Doctor Who fans which makes him contemporary and relevant.
Justice League #44
Part Four of The Darkseid War and … wow. What a cataclysmic extravaganza of cosmic proportions! This is an action-packed book that really took me by storm. Jason Fabok’s art really matched the frenzied tempo of activity that Geoff Johns set for him in this story and he end result was completely unexpected. Such a thrill-ride with such a wild range of sub-plots – in all honesty, I had to read it twice just to curb my sensory overload. When Johns wants to tell a story … he tells a story.
Batman Annual #4
I don’t like Sean Murphy’s rendition of Batman on the cover of this annual. His jaw looks like the blade of a hockey stick and his posture is Neanderthal. This is such a grotesque parody of the Dark Knight that I’m surprised that it even made a cover.
I’m not crazy about Roge Antonio’s art either. It’s solid and passable, but it lacks the dynamism that a Batman story demands. Think Aparo, Adams or heck, Capullo. But the story by James Tynion IV is so innovative in its attempt to reconcile the new Bruce Wayne that emerged after the emergence of the multiverse and the death of the Joker. While there wasn’t as much of the multiverse as I’d have liked, it wasn’t about that. This was a testament story to the basic character of Bruce Wayne. While he may not regain his Batman identity, this is a Bruce Wayne that will still prove to be a fundamental force for good in Gotham City and the new DC Universe.
Now if DC could just integrate its characters into this universe that would account for their appearances in other comics … sigh. Effect on everything, remember?
The New Suicide Squad Annual #1
I confess I enjoyed this end of the “Monsters” story arc. Sean Ryan has a good grasp on the subtle characteristics of human behaviour like sacrifice, redemption and the need to fix past mistakes. Reverse Flash was a surprising character to demonstrate those traits and a needed one. I don’t think I’ve ever felt sorry for Harley Quinn but Ryan managed to evoke that sentiment out of me. I also enjoyed the fact that though the mission went balls-up, the team still managed to complete it yet they were no further ahead in the game than in the beginning.
That’s the difficulty in writing a story with anti-heroes. They need to be punished but at the same time, they have to achieve their objectives in order to resolve the story. It’s a challenge but Ryan managed to deliver. Kudos to Phillipe Briones for his scintillating artwork as well.
I was dreading reading this one.
For legitimate reasons; Javier Garron’s art is so cartoon-y and Hopeless really didn’t have a real grasp on the nuances of the original Inferno cast to effectively develop a decent enough resolution for this story. For example: Scott Summers wasn’t employed well here – given that his relationship with Madeline was a significant axis for the original story. Illyana should have had a shot at redemption and it was very difficult for me to accept Mr. Sinister’s lack of foresight. The whole series really didn’t work for me.
The pick of the week from this list has got to go to:
Justice League #44
Again – the word is: wow. This arc has be getting better and better. Batman in the Moebius Chair, Superman and Luthor going at each other – there is such a variety of things happening in this book, that it’s hard to keep track of all of them. Geoff Johns manages to keep it in balance though and the result is a really exciting story.
Of course, this is an example of what I was talking about earlier. Not only does this fit well into the new multiverse, but it also allows the readers to see the JLA interact within and accept the new universe as canon. It’s Johns at his best and demonstrates that as in life, the secret to good comics is to keep the big picture in mind, and this is a book about the big picture.