THOUGHTS ON COMICS: Sweet Tooth Volume Two
So far, I’m floored by this series. Every chapter has been perfection. Jepperd and Gus, while on completely different ends of the spectrum, are two of the best characters this industry has even turned out. Inventive storytelling, beautiful art that pushes boundaries, and raw, unsentimental emotion make this volume a stunning read.
If the quality stays this high, I’d put Jeff Lemire’s post-apocalyptic epic right up there with Y: The Last Man.
I can’t wait to read what happens to these lovely characters next.
THOUGHTS ON COMICS: Sweet Tooth Volume One
I read SWEET TOOTH: VOLUME ONE while I was in the hotel during my off time at Heroes Con this year. I was moved to tears twice, shocked by the storytelling multiple times per issue, and inspired to be a better writer and, by extension, person throughout reading it. I cannot praise this post-apocalyptic indie sci-fi thriller character drama horror-thing enough. Beat by beat perfect. “This could be the beginning of a classic,” was my first thought after completing it. I’ve had some time, I’m still thinking the same thing.
I have the rest in trade, so let’s see if it lives up.
Justice League Dark gripe
Why does everyone rag on Peter Milligan’s Justice League Dark? I think it’s a great book. Clever writing, engaging characters, a nice slow-boil narrative, and beautiful art. I’m excited to see what Lemire’s going to cook up when he takes over the writing, but I just don’t get the Milligan criticism. In September, I bought more than half of the New 52. I’ve been dropping ever since, and now I just buy four DC books a month. Milligan’s Justice League Dark is one of ‘em.
Angel & Faith #1, Flashpoint #5, Justice League #1
Comic Book Wednesday
For years, I ran a site called Buffyverse Comic Reviews. I figured I’d stop when I knew I was going to be writing a story for IDW’s Angel: Yearbook, as it’s tacky to write about comics that you know you’ll be writing soon. If it’s a positive review, it just seems as if you’re kissing ass so you can write more in the future. If it’s negative, you come off as a dick to the other people working on a book. Well, as I have absolutely nothing to do with the current Buffy/Angel comics, I figure… well, why not? Also, this review will also cover with finale of Flashpoint and, really, the DC Universe as we know it… and the birth of the new DCU with Justice League #1. I also picked up another comic at the shop, but I’m not going to review this one… because I am in the middle of writing an issue of the series as we speak. I’ll give more info on that when I can, but I’ll tell you this… it’s a blast. And now, the reviews! Man, it’s a good week. Angel & Faith #1
Live Through This - Part One
Written by Christos Gage
Pencils by Rebekah Isaacs
Dark Horse Comics
Coming from someone who was extremely skeptical about Angel co-starring in his own title, someone who wrote for IDW’s Angel and wants the title to himself (once you get a taste of writing Whedon characters, it’s hard to stop - it’s like crack or Pringles… it’s like crack flavored Pringles), and someone who was more than slightly dubious about the Twilight plotline… the first issue of Angel & Faith is a damn good comic. First and foremost, Angel as a character isn’t sidelined at all. Every page is about him. Every page is about Giles. The comic is really about the two of them, and how Faith has become the level-headed slayer. She’s not only playing the role of savior like Angel played for her in the television show… she has become a mentor for other slayers as well. She’s grown, but she’s still the same snarky, dark, powerful woman that she was in the show. And Angel… as I said, the book focuses on him more than anything else. His time as Twilight casts a dark shadow over this comic (rightfully so), but you don’t have to really buy his motive in order to enjoy this book. In fact, Faith even says, “Y’know what? Your whole Twilight phase makes about as much sense as a David Lynch movie.” This isn’t the creative team shrinking back from Buffy: Season Eight, though - Angel goes on to give more explanation as to his Twilight persona, though he never excuses himself or attempts to make sense of it. He knows that he was under the thrall of Twilight, but admits his fault in all of his actions. He’s after redemption, and his end goal makes so much sense for who he is as a person. Angel is a fan of the big, sweeping actions (his plan in Not Fade Away, his plan in After the Fall #16, his time as Twilight), so of course he wants to bring Giles back to life. It’s a heroic, sad, and misguided decision that I can’t wait to see play out. Whistler appears, and his role suggest that we might finally get some backstory for this character. Is he who he says he is? Besides balancing the scales of good and evil, what stake does he have in all of this? That scene also introduces Pearl and Nash, a pair of human/demon hybrids who seem to be the Big Bads of either this arc or the whole series. It’ll be interesting to see how this all unfolds, but from what we’ve seen, these are some creepy, brutal beasties. With one issue, Angel & Faith has already swept away my reservations and a bit of my jealousy (I’m a writer and a fan, so I want to write everything - it’s a thing). It gets the voices pitch perfect, introduces the villains, and kicks off character arcs for Angel and Faith that already have more purpose and clarity than the entirety of each of their Season Eight storylines. Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs hit this one out of the park.
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils Andy Kubert
I’ve enjoyed all of Flashpoint, and I didn’t expect anything less than excellence from this issue. I love everything I’ve ever read from Geoff Johns, I’ve found the storyline compelling, and I’ve been anticipating finding out how this will kickstart the New 52 for months. What I did not expect was for this issue to be as utterly moving as it was. For those who read the preview, the opening reveals that it isn’t Reverse Flash who is responsible for the hellish world of Flashpoint, but Barry Allen himself. The rest of the issue brings the battle between Flash, Reverse Flash, Thomas Wayne, Aquaman, Wonderwoman, and the Resistance to a dramatic (but brief) climax. The action is quickly gotten out of the way for the real emotional meat of the comic… and I sobbed. Literal tears and all that. This is some of the most emotionally powerful storytelling I’ve read all year, and it moved me more than any comic book I’ve read since Brian Lynch’s After the Fall (read my review for the finale of that series here). Geoff Johns’ love for these character is obvious in every panel of the books he writes, and this one just sings. Big character moments, gripping action, and a moving final scene, this sets the stage for many great stories to come.
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Jim Lee
And the New 52 begins here. While I understand and agree with the intention, it may have not been smart to release this issue the same day as Flashpoint #5. I obviously thought that the finale of Flashpoint was excellent, so it was a bit jarring to see how… let’s say dialed back the premiere of Justice League is. It’s made up of three long scenes, beginning with Batman running into Green Lantern while on the run from the authorities and in pursuit of an alien creature. Most of the issue (let’s say 70%) is Hal boasting and Bruce making him look like a jerk. The rest of the issue shows football player Vic Stone dealing with daddy issues in his pre-Cyborg days and the bickery duo of Green Lantern and Batman trying to find and confront Superman. It’s a quick read that puts action before story. The action is good, though Jim Lee’s explosions are a bit chaotic and sometimes take some effort to follow. It’s a decent introductory issue, but I expected a bit more meat for the big start of the New 52.
TOMORROW: Kevin Smith’s The Bionic Man #1 review & Batgirl #22-24 review
A Continued Tribute to Supergirl
TAKEN FROM MY BLOG: http://patrickshand.blogspot.com/
Tomorrow, DC will release the final issue of the current Supergirl title. This book might not matter to as many people as books like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and The Flash… but, for those who have followed the title from the first issue until tomorrows #67, we have watched Kara Zor-El evolve from a flat, absurdly sexualized, upsettingly naive character to a young woman who has developed confidence, depth, and integrity. Best of all? Around the time Sterling Gates took the reigns of the title, artists began to draw her as an actual person instead of a strange concoction of hips, five foot legs, and endless (and exposed) belly. The evolution of the character has been one of the most dramatic in the DC Universe, and I’m happy to have been documenting her continued development over the last two arcs with this blog. Earlier today, I posted a blog that featured what I thought were the best and most iconic images of our modern Supergirl. You can read that here. Here are a few runners-up. Any time Amanda Conner draws the character …Especially when she cooks up hilarious sketches for fans at conventions. And whenever Supergirl and Krypto are in the same panel. Joshua Middleton’s work Joshua Middleton, while a great artist, was a bit hit and miss in his duties as cover artist for Supergirl. The covers that paid too much attention to the shortness of Kara’s shirt weren’t selected for inclusion here. Instead, we’ve got the two awesome images included above. How dynamic is that newspaper one? R. B. Silva’s cover for Supergirl #67 (the finale) Epic and intense. Tender and sweet. A great send off to both Kelly Sue DeConnick’s arc and the series as a whole. Adam Hughes’ two page story in Superman/Batman #75 This story, I think, speaks of how comic books are one of the strongest mediums of storytelling. using just a few images and a few carefully picked words, Hughes celebrates the history of Supergirl and Batgirl, paying homage to how they’ve gotten to be the wonderful characters they are today. I can only hope that the new DC Universe keeps these characters as awesome, strong, and dignified as they have been for the past few years.
Best Supergirl Images
TAKEN FROM MY BLOG: http://patrickshand.blogspot.com/
A few weeks ago, I read this excellent (and old) article that featured the images Comic Book Resources had dubbed the “five most iconic Supergirl” covers. I enjoyed the article, and mostly agreed on the covers… but one of the quotes included in the article inspired me to write this blog entry. Under an image of the current Supergirl, CBR blogger Brian Cronin wrote “People might not be a fan of the Jeph Loeb/Michael Turner Supergirl, but their take on Supergirl was pretty much the most popular Supergirl has been in comic books since her very early Silver Age appearances." I was at first surprised by this, but then realized that this article had been written prior to Sterling Gates’s defining Supergirl run that served to transform Kara Zor-El from a thinly written superhero with no direction (both creatively and as a character) to character that is believable as a hero and as a teenage girl. So I’ve decided to, in honor of the end of the current on-going Supergirl series, to pay tribute to the covers that feature the modern Kara Zor-El. Even though Supergirl will continue publication in September, starting with a new #1, the new character design (pictured below) and solicitation for the first issue make it seem as if Supergirl, at least as we know her, is coming to an end. The new Supergirl costume is complete with the odd armor that Superman also wears. The boots have no knees, she has the same collar that a lot of the heroes are rockin’, and she has no skirt. The design isn’t bad… it’s just different. I hope for the best. But for now? Let’s celebrate what has worked for the last two years. 5. Perhaps one of the most recognized images of our current Supergirl is Adam Hughes’s cover for Supergirl & the Legion of Superheroes #23. It’s a bit cheesecakey for my taste, but there is no denying that this is an iconic image of the Maid of Might. 4. Amy Reeder, perhaps the best cover artist to tackle Supergirl, contributed this cover to Supergirl #57. What I love about this cover is how Supergirl isn’t sexualized at all. Even excellent covers like the previous entry tend to show a bit more of Supergirl than needs to be shown, but Reeder excels at showing our hero as what she is… a teenage girl with way too much on her shoulders, an inconceivably large legacy to live up to, and more power than she knows what to do with. The hair might be a bit out of control, but this image is just gorgeous. 3. Interior artist Jamal Igle’s cover for Supergirl #53 was the beginning of a more confident Supergirl. The sly smirk and the knowing eyes were showing readers what was to come in the Supergirl title. 2. Amanda Conner. She’s one of my favorite comics artists, period. She made Power Girl, a character who has long been a ridiculous example of how women are made into nothing but eye candy in comics (I mean… a boob window? Seriously?), into a character that you can’t help but feel for. She only drew one Supergirl issue, but a lot of her sketches from Comic Cons have been made public. It was very hard for me to pick my favorite of her Supergirl images (I almost settled on a comic strip featuring Supergirl and Krypto), but her design for this Supergirl bust just takes the cake. 1. The best Supergirl cover is from Amy Reeder, who contributed this cover to Supergirl #60, in a month when DC asked its artists to design covers that are simple, iconic, and speak for who the character is at his or her core. When I first reviewed #60, I wrote this of Amy Reeder’s cover: “SUPERGIRL #60 is brilliant. Even if the issue had been horrible—which, let’s just say it wasn’t, for those who like to skim (also, hey, stop skimming!)—the cover is iconic. Supergirl, with the pink S behind her, stares out at the audience with a slight smile; after Gates’ character defining run, Supergirl is in a good place. She’s confident in herself, which just demonstrates how far she’s come from the mess of a girl that arrived on Earth in Superman/Batman. The smile and calm look in her eyes on the cover of January’s Supergirl #60 perfectly and subtly shows that Supergirl has finally earned the S; the symbol that she has constantly struggled to live up to. That’s the art of Amy Reeder for you. Now, I’m just waiting for DC to throw her on interiors.” And what more needs to be said? Annnnnd…Just ‘cause. LATER: Honorable mentions. TOMORROW: Supergirl #67 review.