7 Dec 2011

Incoming... 07/12/2011

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: I do like it when we get some near-future technological ideas realised in comics. Matt Fraction has been applying Tony Stark’s repulsor technology as an energy solution withint he pages of Invincible Iron Man and until recently you could normally count on Beast to be concocting some doohickey in his laboratory to ease the everyday lives of mutantkind within the pages of Uncanny X-Men. Of course the loveable blue fuzzball is no longer to be found in Uncanny, or anywhere near Scott Summers who he has taken a nasty disliking to and so the scientific shenanigans on Utopia have been taken up in the past couple of years by Dr Nemesis, Madison Jeffries and Kavita Rao who have found themselves bound under the title of the X-Club.

These great minds have been fighting day and night to keep Utopia and its inhabitants up and running, making repairs, improvements and medical treatments and cures whenever the situation calls for it. Well now we’re going to have the opportunity to see them shine even further - or at least try, you know how temperamental an X-book can be! - in a miniseries dedicated to them which starts today with X-Club #1. Simon Spurrier writes and art is provided by Paul Davidson for a tale that sees the X-Club attempting to mend bridges with society burnt to the ground with the events of Schism. Suffice to say that their grand, beneficial scheme looks like it may be a victim of catastrophe or sabotage and they, along with robotic lifeform and begrudging X-Man, Danger will have a tough time in trying to clear their names. It sounds like a winner to me and I’m really looking forward to getting some further insight into these interesting fringe characters.

While I’m looking forward to one Marvel comic this week, there’s one that I’m really quite apprehensive about handing my money over for and that is Avenging Spider-Man #2. After something of a frustrating experience reading issue #1 and realising just how close I was to rip-off territory I really cannot decide whether to continue with the rest of the Zeb Wells and Joe Madureira arc or just cut and run now. Wells is a terrific Spider-Man writer and Mad can deliver some really dynamic art but in the debut it was clear that both were being held back by certain constraints that led to a far from satisfactory final product. At $3.99 for 22 pages I’m loathe to scream ‘daylight robbery’ but value for money really is starting to count a lot more these days. With this second issue also coming polybagged to supposedly prevent misuse of the digital download code contained within I’m starting to wonder if it’s actually more a method of preventing people counting the pages of story before handing their money over! This is one of those moments where I’ll have to wait until that last moment when stood inside Paradox Comics before deciding whether to part with my money or not.

While I’m certainly noticing that more of my money has been going on DC comics than ever before I’m definitely not sorry about the increase. From the relaunch we’ve now past the mid-arc point (assuming that the 6 part arc format is in effect across the board) and with some titles flying along at full steam already there are one or two that could do with knocking things up a gear or two. Having heaped a healthy amount of praise on it from the start I’m starting to feel that Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen’s O.M.A.C. is one such comic that may need a slight nudge in the hind-quarters. #4 will (fingers crossed) look a little further into just who poor Kevin Kho is and what sort of protagonist he’ll make as he’s been a passenger on the trip through three issues so far. I fully understand that DiDio and Giffen have been going for a retro, classic-Jack Kirby kind of feel and that has worked to an extent but it’s starting to cry out for some proper character development and as we edge further in to the series - I’d dare say that DiDio isn’t employing the standard arc structure as such presently - I’m certainly going to need more than a string of punch-ups to keep me entertained over the course.

There have been punch-ups aplenty through Judd Winnick’s tour of the African Batman’s realm so far, and a fair amount of gruesome machete action it must be said, but he really has been throwing in characterization, politics and drama by the bucketload too. Batwing #4 is going to bring us a ‘secret origin’ story of David Zamvimbi’s dark past and what troubled history he had to travel through before becoming a force for good in Tinasha. I think it’s quite brave of Winnick to tackle something as stark and horrific as the child soldiers that populate many of the continent’s militias and from what I’ve seen in the series so far I’m guessing he did an awful lot of homework before tackling this book. I was disappointed to hear that the brilliant Ben Oliver wasn’t providing the art through the entirety of the first arc - his work having been a heavy contender for best of the relaunch in my opinion - but if you’re going to have an artistic interlude it is far better to have it happen when the opportunity for a ‘flashback’ issue raises its head. Chriscross’ preview art looks good enough so this remains high on the list of comics fighting to be read first this week.

Up on that list will have to be Sweet Tooth #28 which sees Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt reach the conclusion of their ‘The Taxidermist’ story which has been looking at the part the Alaskan wilds may have played in the destruction of society and the plague that may have brought about the rise of the animal children. Lemire had been dropping the odd hint about Alaska being the destination that Gus needs to get to for quite some time so it’s been interesting to get some insight into why that might be. Kindt’s unique artistic style has been the perfect fit for this story and he’s managed to bring his own touch into the book while keeping it feeling familiar with what Lemire has done previously. I’m not sure if there are plans for him to do further work on Sweet Tooth as the series continues after this but I’d certainly welcome him back to the fold should Mr Lemire require another break at any point and the story allows.

1 comment:

Living Tribunal said...

Regarding Avenging Spider-Man 2, my suggestion is to buy it only if you eventually find it in your local retailer's bargain bin. Not worth $3.99, or even $2.99.