Stewart R: After a whirlwind week, including as it did amongst other things some crazy Bournemouth snowfall and freezerbox temperatures, a couple of heavy nights on the town and a speedy trip up to London and back I had looked at the two titles sat in my pull list and for a moment felt relieved. Then I started looking around at what else was due to be hitting shops, I attended a recent Paradox Comics Group meeting and shared a few thoughts about the odd title here and there and now I’ve ended up with a far more respectable collection awaiting me this Thursday.
Batgirl #16 was always on the radar as I’ve really been enjoying the heck out of Bryan Q.Miller’s portrayal and development of Stephanie Brown and while it seems that regular artist Lee Garbett has stepped aside I was impressed with Dustin Nguyen’s work last time out and think he’ll be a good long term fit for this book should he stick around. A story where a hero gets framed for something they didn’t do is of course an idea that’s been used time and time again, but with Batgirl being a younger, inexperienced heroine with a more mature head behind her in the form of Barbara Gordon’s Oracle it makes this run from the strong arm of the law a bit more interesting and entertaining.
The second hard-fix on the list is G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #161. Since IDW recently decided to give Larry Hama his ‘old job’ back with the original and of course best - biased, oh so very biased - Joe title, this has been that guilty little pleasure that turns up each month and takes me back to the late 1980s. Ah yes, back to the time where hordes of military henchmen working for a secret, yet huge terrorist organisation tried time and time again - and failed again and again, of course - to take over the world and defeat a mere handful of brave and selectively trained men and women of noble disposition. This month sees a change on art duties to S.L. Gallant and Gary Erskine and while initially I thought the visuals might be a little too simple they actually remind me of some of the UK Action Force comics of twenty years ago so I’m expecting something of a nostalgia trip again this week.
So you may ask me dear readers, where have I plucked these three other titles from to fill my reading week? Well friends, I owe two to the Paradox Group and another to Smilin’ Stan Lee! Paradox supremo and shopkeeper extraordinaire Andy flashed a #0 copy of Joe Benitez’ latest Aspen offering at me a few months ago and I am a sucker for some tasty artwork so I have decided to pick up a copy of Lady Mechanika #1 to see if the delicious flash also packs some hefty substance. The steampunk elements combined with a hint of the paranormal should hopefully provide a good dose of entertainment. I don’t believe I’ve picked up much, if any, of Aspen’s work before so I’ll be interested to see what sort of comic this publishing house is in the habit of putting on the shelves.
Image, on the other hand, I’m quite used to and they are in the habit of finding winning titles where you least expect them. I only finished reading Marc Guggenheim’s Halcyon #1 some 5 minutes before I sat down to write this very Incoming... instalment having had the knowledgeable likes of Matt C, James R and Tom P all big up this new title to me only a few nights ago. Well, I’m already sold and will certainly be picking up Halcyon #2 to find out just what Guggenheim is going to do with this story of superheroes, dwindling crime rates and parallel universes. I already like the way that certain protagonists here are neat reworkings of staple Marvel and DC characters and I much prefer to pick up this type of ‘What If’ comic when it comes from a different, slightly smaller publisher with a freer approach to tackling such big ideas and concepts while also managing to poke a little bit of fun in the bigger houses’ directions.
Of course while some comic creators are taking age-old character stereotypes and are either freshening them up for a new audience or exposing their stale underbellies in the hope of finding something new, there are just some writers who will carry on doing the same job they were doing 40-50 years ago. Oh yes, Stan’s back and he’s brought another comic idea to BOOM! Studios’ table. Soldier Zero has had a reasonable start but with Paul Cornell at the helm I’m waiting to see if the title is likely to draw me in and keep me reading it month on month or lose me under the weight of mediocrity. I just didn’t bother with The Traveler I’m afraid having had too many other things to read that week. Starborn #1 on the other hand has me interested and the previews look pretty promising to boot.
The story focuses on Benjamin, a regular guy with a mind-numbing job who finds himself daydreaming about bizarre and exotic alien locations. When Benjamin begins to jot the contents of these daydreams down the creatures and individuals from his visions start to appear in his everyday life and he begins to realize that he could well be the heir to a galactic empire! Naturally old Smilin’ Stan has just come up with the concept here and the scribe duties actually fall to iZombie’s Chris Roberson but this sounds like the big scope comic idea that I like to sink my teeth into so I’ll be looking to see if this in another title to add to the pull-list on a regular basis.