I have been working on slowly whittling my list down bit by bit, even while struggling to maintain my wide interest in comics I’m still only slowly cutting down my list, but by not adding new books my list is slowly coming back into a semblance of control, still way too many titles. Of course this is another week in review where I did not read everything, but my excuse this week is that my real world job is super busy and waiting for my first grandchild to be born is part of the adventure. The plan is that when my daughter goes into labor I get a phone call and fly down to Florida where I’m ultimately moving too early next year. That makes comics not exactly my highest priority. Still it doesn’t mean I did not enjoy a few books this week.
First up in Uncanny X-Force #18 by Writer Rick Remender and Artist Jerome Opena with Esad Ribic. I should also mention Dean White on colors because he has provided great work and keep the overall feel of the series consist regardless of the artist. The Dark Angel Saga concluded and while I have to admit the length and breadth of this story caused me to forget who was who at times the actual story ended in fine fashion as Dark Angel died at the hands of his love Psylocke. She then entered his mind and gave him a wonderful life as the two of them were married, had a family and grew old together until he died; it was a perfect ending and a fitting conclusion. Warren’s death was the only way this ending made sense. Of course Marvel can’t let anyone die for even two pages anymore and we get a stupid ending of a naked Warren walking up to Psylocke apparently free of any Apocalypse influence, but with no memory of maybe anything. The last two pages ruined the book for me, but I guess since no one dies in comics there is no sense in dragging out the inevitable. Where this series goes from here is an open question, but I would like to get a nice hardcover collecting the entire Dark Angel storyline which is essentially the entire run up till now.
Locke & Key Clockworks #3 (of 6) by Writer Joe Hill and Artist Gabriel Rodriquez finally came out. It seems like it has been forever since the last issue of this series. I absolutely love this book and it always surprises me as I was expecting much more about Dodge now being in Bode’s body and some information on what is happening with Bode. Instead we got a time travel story examining the past of Tyler, Kinsey and Bode’s father. Locke & Key is one long novel of 36 chapters and has been split into a series of mini-series. Each chapter reveals more information and reveals more layers of the onion. It is a beautiful story, with horror, fantasy and magic elements sprinkled throughout, but in the end, as all good stories are, it is about the characters. Gabriel Rodriquez art is simply amazing, the details that he puts into his work are incredible. All in all this should be a story that will stand the test of time and if it ends well be one of the all time great series.
Severed #5 by Writers Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft with fantastic art by Attila Futika was another good issue. As with many middle chapters it is a lot of build up, but what I loved was how it worked out to a beautiful cliff hanger of an ending. Jack is on the road with the Salesman and is unaware that he is a cannibalistic monster. As the story progresses we are left wondering if in fact the killer is trying to mold a protégé or just savoring his next meal. Jack is upset over what he feels is his friend’s Sam’s betrayal, unawares that she was apparently consumed by the Salesman. The cliffhanger at the end of this issue is when Jack’s finds evidence that his benefactor is in fact a mad serial killer. The art by Attila is great is has a brushed feel to it that gives us a strong sense of it being from the depression era America. The story is riveting and well done and you can’t wait until the next issue. Severed has to be one of the best mini-series of 2011 and the Snyder and Tuft team are doing a magnificent job.
Next up is Batgirl #4 by writer Gail Simone, Pencil Artist Ardian Syaf, Ink Artist Vicente Cifuentes. This series is still not a top series for me because it still has a sense of strangeness caused by the fact that I know and do not know the character. This is due to the long history I have with the prior DCU. The plus side is that each issue I’m enjoying more and more. The conclusion with her fight with The Mirror was nicely done and I thought how she set up her confrontation with him was decent. It was not perfect because she admits he is a better fighter and she still wants to go one on one with him. Personally if I know someone was going to beat me I would not play fair. The whole idea of Babs living with a roommate she doesn’t know is still just stupid. How the heck with this works at all without them knowing your secret identity? For a super smart woman Babs seems a little dense at times. The art is decent but feels a little rushed in places, I think DC needs to bite the bullet and realize to have monthly books you need to have two artists handling each title and try to find styles that mesh. In the final analysis this series is starting to find its rhythm and I think it has potential to move up the charts.
I wanted to talk about more books, but I have to switch to a shorter commentary or the column becomes too long. I know I could go on and on and bore the crap out of all three readers, but I feel an obligation to make this column not overly long.
Animal Man #4 – By Jeff Lemire and Travis Foreman is from a week or so back, but you have to get this and Swamp Thing as the coming war between the Red (Animal Man) and the Green (Swamp Thing) against the Rot is shaping up to be a great story and could easily be a Vertigo book (which is high praise from my view).
Batwoman #4 – By JH Williams as Writer/Artist, J. Haden Blackman co-writer, with Dave Stewart on colors. This book always looks absolutely beautiful. The richness of some of the panels and pages is incredible. The story is rock solid and finally DC ran the issue with no ads in the story and pushed all the ads to the back which made the book read just great. This is one of the better books from DC.
Last up for this week is Suicide Squad #4 by Adam Glass as writer and Federico Dallocchio as the artist. What a great book, full of double crosses, action, mayhem and just flat out good storytelling and strong, strong art. This issue we see Captain Boomerang get set-up and Deadshot as always is such an uncompromising bastard that it makes for a well done action adventure book. This is close to being one of my top tier titles out of DC.
That puts an end to another exciting week. A while back I turned over control of running the blog to Lee and as our task master he is demanding a year in review column which is coming up soon, but if grandbaby shows up I may not make that deadline as the baby is due the same day as this coming new comic day of December 21. Before I give my list of what I’m getting this week I have to report the causality of Red Hood and the Outlaws from DCnU, it was just too inane to waste $3 on anymore. I can get that some people think it is mad, insane fun, but it needs to be more than that for me. The books for this Wednesday Batman (great series), Batman Inc. (can Grant makes this work still?), Batman Odyssey (can I even try and read this book), Birds of Prey, Catwoman, DC Universe Presents (doomed to failure), Fables, GL Corps, Hellblazer, Justice League, Nightwing, Supergirl, Thunder Agents, Wonder Woman (one of my favorite series now), Avengers, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Incredible Hulk, Legion of Monsters (just fun), Punishermax (great book), Thunderbolts, Uncanny X-Force (that was fast), Wolverine and the X-Men, Invincible, Near Death (gets better each issue), BPRD Russia, Cobra, Stuff Of Legends Jester’s Tale and Vampirella.
Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy Holidays.
See ya next week?