13 Apr 2011

Incoming... 13/04/2011

New comics are released Wednesday in the States and guess what, in the UK too! Here's a brief look at our expectations for the books we're picking up this week.

Stewart R: Image have been bombarding our senses for a couple of weeks with #1s but now it’s time for a few of those second issues to creep out of the woodwork and let us all see if the spark of those debuts lingers on in the follow-ups. First up to bat is Joe Casey’s Butcher Baker, Righteous Maker #2 which will be attempting to up the ante after a tits, ass and interesting ideas type of first issue which certainly showed off the artistic stylings of Mike Huddlestone to a very successful degree. I really did like the strange take on an All American Hero who looks like (and has his carnal way with the ladies) Burt Reynolds on steroids and drives a rig just like Jack Burton from Big Trouble In Little China. That makes it sound like a very basic and crude comic but there was definitely an underlying current of social and political commentary to be found alongside a wry sense of humour as well, which has me wondering just what the next few chapters will turn out like.

Certainly with Casanova Gula #4 signalling the end of that title’s current run this week I’ll be in need of some crazy carnage, bodacious babes and over-the-top-heroics which Butcher Baker on paper should be able to provide. Fraction and Moon’s work on Casanova Gula has really sucked me back into the story of multiverses, super spies and terrificc acronyms and the craziest thing of all has been that save for a few panels in the first issue the title character has been completely absent. Casanova Quinn was definitely the star of the first Luxuria series but this second arc has highlighted just how strong a cast of characters Fraction built in those initial 7 issues and how well he can vary his writing style compared to some of the bigger Marvel hero titles he has his fingers in currently. I’m certainly hoping that Gula #4 doesn’t mark the end of the Casanova series as there’s a tremendous amount of promise to be found in this universe that Fraction built.

Sorry, got a little sidetracked there, let's head back to Image’s wares shall we? Now I got the feeling a few weeks ago that I was fighting one particular comic’s corner alone when I mentioned Hoang Nguyen, Khari Evans et al’s strange diesel-punk war-opera to a few Paradox comrades but nonetheless that will certainly not stop me from picking up Carbon Grey #2 today! The artwork was truly sumptuous, albeit with a slight nod to the busty, manga style that may see a few heads turn away in disinterest but that was melded with a painted, almost European feel that really made me sit up and take notice. Having been a little burned by the disappointing Dustwars title a few months back I could do with a decent otherworld war book to make up for that and I just have to keep my fingers crossed that the many writers and artists invested in this one manage to keep the quality high.

It seems that everything I’ve talked about so far involves alternate realities or multiverses and to be brutally honest with you I’m not likely to stop now as Infinite Vacation #2 turns up this week which probably deserves to sit atop the throne of quantum-quandaries and intriguing concepts. The idea of turning the travel between realities into a commercial enterprise is quite inspired and Nick Spencer then went and added a slight murder-mystery element to proceedings as well as a tasty dollop of romance. And there you have it, yet another Image title that carefully picks at the stitching of my wallet trying to get to the safely stowed currency inside and you know what, I’m very happy to be handing my cash over for comics that are coming from publishers who aren’t Marvel and DC as it indicates that the industry is showing healthy growth in creative talent even if numbers are declining month on month.

So what of ‘The Big Two’ this week? Well, they still have plenty to offer in terms of quantity and quality and as always there’s a slew of great regular titles offering up their latest instalment to the masses. Of them all I must mention two, one from DC and one from Marvel, that are hammered in and glued down to my pull list currently and are showing no signs of being removed. Tomasi and Gleason have been delivering the goods as expected and Batman And Robin #22 serves up the final chapter of the ‘Dark Knight, White Knight’ arc as the dynamic duo try to prevent any more kin of former Arkham inmates meeting a fatal end at the hands of the White Knight. This has felt like too big a story to be told in only three 20-page issues but I’m hoping that perhaps this issue doesn’t so much as signal an end to this match-up but instead offers a glimpse at a foe that could really test these two crimefighters for many months and years to come.

Marvel’s top draw for me has to be Uncanny X-Force #7 by Rick Remender and Esad Ribic. I never thought that X-Force would be a readable team following Kyle and Yost’s efforts. I never thought that I’d find any interest in Deathlok or a horde of his kind. I never thought I’d see Matt C pick up an X-book before the year 2012 rolled around and signalled the end of all of us - thank the Mayans for coming up with that and then disappearing into the annals of history without properly explaining it!! - but here I sit and lo, a great read, Deathloks are interesting and Matt C may have fallen in love with the antics of mutants once again! Good times.

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