It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …
Well, not in these parts. It’s 10 degrees above zero (Celsius scale) here; we’ve got lots of rain and the only thing that we can cozy up to on a fairly decent night like this is the thought of my comics resting on the side of my comfy, leather recliner.
Yeah, guess what I’m getting for Christmas this year.
I’ve been looking forward to reading my comics all day. It was a tough one and comics have been a reliable and familiar escape for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can place episodes of my childhood and adolescence by when a comic was published. I remember reading my comics on the bus to school and bought them at the local comic shop on my way home.
I don’t get to do that anymore. Still, comics manage to capture my imagination and send me to new realms of fantasy; just now they do it after the kids are in bed, the morning coffee has been set and I’ve got a cold one by my side ready to accompany my childhood indulgence. Such a juxtaposition.
Let’s get to the list.
Star Trek – Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #6 (of 6)
This was a diverting crossover. It was fun, but I have to say that I felt the last issue was hurried. I also wish it could have been the TOS actors that I remember instead of the film version. Chris Pine is a really great character, but I would have loved to have seen the William Shatner version of Kirk lock horns with Hal Jordan.
Given that both the character of Green Lantern and Star Trek were creations of the sixties, it just made sense to bring the original aspects of both those properties together. Now that would have been a cool premise – the Green Lantern of the 1960’s expounding Cold War vicissitudes and Kirk agreeing with him.
The resolution was a bit too simplistic for my tastes, but it was still an excellent crossover idea and it was great to see a collaboration between DC and IDW. IDW has a great reputation for boldly going where no comic has gone before – nice to see DC testing the waters as well.
Dark Horse Comics
Mystery Girl #1
This is actually a book that came out last week and there was a delay in shipping. This is also the first Dark Horse book that I’ve reviewed in a while. So it’s nice to see some contribution from a great publishing house in my column.
I always like strong female characters; I’m married to an Irish girl, so it’s something that I’ve grown very comfortable with. But there’s something unnerving about talking to someone who knows the answer to your questions instantly and without hesitation.
The art by Alberto Alburquerque wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. It was also a bit of a slow start but Paul Tobin creates a slow but effective and believable beginning to this endearing character. This isn’t a bad book and I’m definitely curious to see where Trine gets her powers from.
We continue with the fake Batman storyline while Bruce Wayne sits in the wings.
Really … there isn’t much else to this issue except … FOR THE GREAT BIG TEASE AT THE END!
Does Snyder know the way I think? Or am I just amongst the same model of fans who are yearning for Bruce Wayne to take back the cowl? Read the book an tell me what you think.
The New Suicide Squad #15
Not crazy about Phillipe Briones’ work on the art of this book but Sean Ryan has a very intricate tale of spycraft laid out for us. Actually, I find that that this title seems to get better. Maybe it’s the fact that espionage is such a wonderful source of plot twists (watch Homeland people) that I enjoyed this issue but I’d like to think that Sean Ryan is already thinking like that. It’s a good story that leaves you with just enough curiousity to buy the next book!
Star Wars Annual #1
Okay – the secret behind the success Marvel has been enjoying with this franchise is their ability to marry new characters that augment the existing ones. Let’s face it – the old characters, as nostalgically wonderful as they are, will not carry the success of the new film. Sure, everyone is asking “where’s Luke?” but the success of this new film is going to be a transference of the torch to new characters.
Marvel is doing this with its new books. The annual is no exception. The story of Eneb Ray, a rebel agent on Coruscant is a really great one-shot adventure that underlies the evil of the Empire and the under-dog nature of the Rebellion. Let’s face it: the story is only good if the Rebellion still has a threat and Marvel is effectively maintaining this battle for the sake of the enjoyment of the fans. This is why these books are doing so well.
Keiron Gillen is fast becoming a source of my admiration. I’d buy him a beer any time.
Secret Wars #8 (of 9)
The delay on the culmination of this book is no less than annoying. After all, the event has lost steam. People aren’t regarding it as the tumultuous even it was hyped to be. Now that the repercussions are starting to make themselves known at various intervals, it’s becoming less important as loyal readers are desperately trying to make sense of it all.
That’s the problem: the publishing schedule, which is obviously beholden to artist and writer creative issues, supply issues, copy editors and whatever else bugaboos plague a major publishing house (because. Lets’ face it: Marvel is a MEGA publishing house) is rife with potential upsets and unforeseen gremlins. I used to work for three major publishing companies in Toronto before I became a teacher and I can tell you. There are so many problems with a publishing schedule. Marvel is not immune.
However, despite the predictability of this story, the cosmic perceptiveness of Jonathan Hickman and the enjoyment of seeing Doctor Doom receiving the beginning of an old fashioned drubbing, I was disappointed with this story. In short, it hasn’t done it for me, which is a great let-down considering how well it started. I’m just concerned about that time-old notion that my faithful readers know what I’m always concerned about: the damage to the continuum.
Plus, the casual disregard of Ben Grimm was really hurtful. I felt that.
Scarlet Witch #1
I’m not loving Vanessa Del Rey’s art. It’s vague and it misses out on things like facial expressions and other details (body language, etc.) that help to tell a visual story. However, James Robinson does an excellent job of harkening back to the ideas of female witchcraft that have somehow made their way into the Scarlet Witch’s powers. It used to be that she altered probability, but of late, Wanda Maximoff has been increasingly regarded as a true sorceress. I am not keen on that as she is a mutant and her power should be treated more scientifically, but I blame the 90’s.
Robinson does an extremely good job of creating a character who is haunted by the history of the witches who predate her. He also manages a bit of femininity as a sop for the growing contingent of female comic readers, but it still works regardless. I like Robinson’s writing and thank God he has something else other than Airboy to fall back on.
Not a bad first issue. I think I’ll keep with it.
Another shipping delay – I should have looked at this last week.
While Ron Garney’s art isn’t to my liking, it serves to do the job. But Charles Soule …. Now there’s a writer that I’m really starting to pay attention to. Not only has he delivered a Daredevil that I can believe, but he makes him just a little bit more effective with his accomplice Blindspot. Also, making Matt Murdock an Assistant District Attorney (remember when he used to be a defense attorney?) is just priceless. It puts him on the same side as the heroes.
There’s an aspect of Murdock starting from humble beginnings in this book and it really works on me. I will definitely be adding this one to my pull list. With luck, they may change artists.
We Stand on Guard #6 (of 6)
I’m a big proponent of Canadian influence in international media, so I was very excited to see this book. At the beginning, it promised so much and came out so explosively. Why was it limited to a six issue mini-series?
The ending was too short. It should have continued into at least a longer series. There was no way to effectively communicate the plight of a guerrilla war in so short of a duration. I know Brian K. Vaughn and Steve Skroce will probably agree with me here but this needed to be a longer story. Not just out of the sense of a proud Canadian seeing the diversity in our rebel force striking deep into the heart of the American war machine, but to simply fully experience the battle effort! We torched the White House back in the War of 1812 for God’s sake! We deserve more than six issues.
It began with a bang and ended with a bang … although from a story perspective it seemed like a whimper.
With that, it’s time to pick the title of the week. The honour has to go to:
Star Wars Annual #1
Keiron Gillen and Angel Unzueta have formed to into a masterful team to produce an amazing title. Though I normally dislike stories outside of the regular continuum, that’s the purpose of the annuals and this issue does not disappoint as it creates a supportive character that can really add to the fabric of the continuum while not detracting from the value of the story. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have kick-ass art augmenting the experience. Unzueta’s likenesses are incredibly spot-on which really helps for a story from such a popular franchise.
So that’s my cozy evening over. I’ve really enjoyed reading these comics with you! Hope you enjoyed reading them too!