Monday, February 4, 2013

comics for the week of 01/30/13.

A little late this week, but no apologies. Still catching up.

Angel and Faith 18 - This is a great issue of a great series. The ways that this book is superseding the main title has already been documented, but more than that, the characters feel authentic, the emotions are real, and the story feels like it matters. We get to see more young Giles, as well as an older role model (of the female gender, no surprise) and then we play catch up to modern times where his demon is trying to take over (at least part of) the world. Rebekah Issacs' art makes a huge difference here. It's the best. Eyghon seems like a real threat, but the best thing about his capability is what it brings out of Alasdair, whom I didn't fully trust the last time we saw him. Maybe I'm a fool to do so now and it's going to come back to haunt me, but I'm a fan of that. Great stuff.

Avengers 4 - I read issues 1-3 in a whirlwind blast and I'm glad I did so. Those issues told one story and it looks like the next few issues are going to be mini-introductions in the form of new origins for some old/new characters. First up: Hyperion. I'm curious how they're going to make this work, given the problems Marvel had with the Sentry, but I'm always willing to give it a go. However, the art by Adam Kubert was terrible and the story was convoluted for me, since I have no idea about these recent changes with AIM. (Maybe this is new, too? That might make me feel a bit better personally, as a comics nerd, but it would make me feel worse for the other newbs trying to get into the series.) Once again, Hickman's enormous scope is on display and it's clear that there's a lot going on here, but I'm not fully on board yet. Hyperion's going to play a huge part in this saga, no matter what happens, I just hope that Marvel continues to give Hickman free reign and lets him create this large scale masterpiece however he wants, so that we get a FF-style payoff.

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 5 - Another great entry from Wein and Lee in the form of the most compelling character in all of the Watchmen legacy. This time around, Jae Lee gets to tackle brief panels of Silk Spectre, Rorschach and the rest of the Minutemen, but in that detached way that we've gotten from the rest of the solo books. Adrian Veidt shows off how far ahead of the curve he always has been, buying up the island, studying Dr. Manhattan, and getting out of the costumed adventurer business just ahead of the Keene Act's passage. No surprise that he's the smartest man in the room at all times, but it is a bit surprising to see how he navigates and, even in his audio diary, the things that he keeps from his audience (us, sure, but presumably himself? Unless this is designed to be something more at a later date?) for the last chapter.

Hawkeye 7 - First of all, this is another Marvel book that I've recently caught up on, reading all six of the prior issues via a friend's stack. Secondly, even if you don't buy comics, you should go and buy a copy (or five) of this issue. There are reasons. However, on to the issue itself. The first half, focusing on Hawkguy in Rockaway is poignantly touching. A family focuses on what its got left when it seems like they've got nothing left and everything's been taken. The second half, with Hawkeye (Kate Bishop style!) starts out hilarious, especially her interactions with Clint and "Steve Buscemi's tiny grandpa." The way this book is written (MATT FRACTION!) is fantastic. The humor, while maintained, quickly turns to a celebration not only of people under terrible circumstances, but of Jersey in particular. The problems that were underreported in significant areas have been well-documented already, but Fraction does a great job of getting them front and center, too.

Invincible 100 - The Death of Everyone concludes. The first page shocked the hell out of me, exactly as it was supposed to. Overall, the issue had a tone of commemoration, and while that could have bugged, I felt like it was appropriate. Robert Kirkman now has 2 separate series over the 100-issue mark and that's an incredible accomplishment for some indie books - despite their presence at Image, they're clearly indie books. As for the issue itself, I don't want to spoil things too much, but let me say that I was convinced that Kirkman had gone through with it, but when the truth was revealed, I didn't feel a lot of whiplash, which I thought was odd. Maybe this is a better way to get there? I don't know. As far as the middle bit with Cecil, I thought that's been unavoidable since ten or so issues ago. Also, the last page with Eve was great, as was the page with Eve and Mark's parents. There were some genuine emotions in this issue, which is a great thing. I'm also interested in the idea of Invincible Universe; with all the different groups and characters running around here, there's a lot of room for bigger stories that don't necessarily focus on the Viltrumite angle, which is what I think Invincible is at its core. Congratulations, Kirkman!

Rachel Rising 14 - Beautiful. Amazing. Inspiring storytelling. And I already said last issue that I was probably done with this in singles and so I am. I'm still fully recommending this comics, but I can't do it in single doses. Maybe you can, and if you can, you should. But I'll be picking up the trades. Rachel's history gets more convoluted, Zoe comes back, Jet doesn't, Aunt Johnny has some insight and we see glimpses of the past. See you in TPB.

Unwritten 45 - Contains the line of the week: "Without story - without the ability to step sideways from fact into hypothesis, human life is untenable." Focuses on Richie Savoy. Lovely to see that he's still in Australia and that we still get to hang out with Didge. Here we see a gnarly case of story becoming reality, in a great new twist. New powers are being revealed and Mme. Rauch seems to know something about what's coming up. Didge goes to check out a homicide case that's pulled straight from The Walking Dead and Savoy doesn't see anything odd about the fact that a kid's horror story seemingly caused it. In fact, he seems to think that her confronting him will just make him stop. Silly vampire. This is only gonna be a two-part break, but I'd be shocked if there weren't long-lasting ramifications from this distraction storyline, and I'm loving the fact that we didn't see Tom Taylor at all in this issue, but that it didn't feel like a letdown.

Young Avengers 1 - Playing catch up from last week, thanks to a friend's recommendation on Twitter, and I have to say that this is an underrated title. BTW, Buffy books: this is how you can and should write gay characters: they're people who are gay, not gay things there to be manipulated for gay reasons. Young men like Billy and Teddy are people besides their sexual identities and that's proved from the first moment we see them. The Spider-Man cameo is hilarious and the fight the young couple get into over it is over far too quickly, just like many arguments we all had when we were 18. Their emotions veer far too wildly, far too quickly, and that's one of the reasons why Billy acts so rapidly, without thinking through the consequences of his actions. However, we get to see one of those consequences on the last-page cliffhanger. Meanwhile, there's a plot going on with Loki and it seems clear that he's telling people to remember. Could it be that things have already changed and he's the only one who realizes it and he's actually there to do some sort of good? I mean, he's the Mischief God, sure, but he's also pretty egocentric and if things aren't working out well for the world and he's not behind it, well, I'd venture a guess that he's not going to be happy about that. Great stuff in the beginning re: Noh-Varr and his odd place in the Marvel U, too, with Kate's narration being a central thread. I loved the nod in the credits to the song that was playing, too. I'll be sticking with this one, and if you didn't pick it up, you're missing out, too.

Book of the week goes to Hawkeye. I'm that much of a fan, sure, because I've got the passion of the converted, but it goes beyond my zeal and the special appeal of this issue in particular. Plus, it's got the funniest line of the week: "Why are you crying? Did you just watch Rudy?"

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