If you've been reading ComicsAlliance for any length of time at all, you've probably already twigged to the fact that I tend to like really weird comics. Whether it's obscure Golden Age oddities, the Ninja training manuals that were sent to comic book stores in the '80s, or the pouch-filled excesses of the '90s, that's what I love to read. And in three solid decades of reading comic books, I've rarely seen one as weird as The Fox.
Even though it had some of the biggest names in comics involved -- drawn and plotted by Dean Haspiel with scripts by Mark Waid and J.M. DeMatteis -- the miniseries seemed to slip under the radar for a lot of people, and to be honest, I can see why. It's a strange story about a strange character that most people aren't too familiar with. Now that it's out in paperback, though, it's easy to pick up and read -- and you should, if only because it's even stranger when you read it all together.
Months before it even came out, this week's Teen Titans #1 was off to a pretty rough start. Not only did it have the stigma of being one of the few "New 52" comics to be canceled and relaunched in the three years since DC's line-wide superhero reboot, alongside last week's New Suicide Squad, but criticism over Kenneth Rocafort's cover sparked a controversy that would've drowned out the actual content no matter what the content of the issue was. And really, that's kind of a shame.
Teen Titans #1 isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a solid story of teenage superheroics, and like so many of the recent launches from DC, it feels like the type of thing that the New 52 should've been doing all along. If it just didn't look like it does, it'd be great.
Bryan Lee O'Malley's first graphic novel since he concluded the Scott Pilgrim series in 2010, Seconds is a book about second thoughts, second chances and second helpings. It's also the book in which O'Malley is setting up his second act as a cartoonist. The first Scott Pilgrim book came out almost exactly ten years ago; six volumes and a movie later, that franchise has defined O'Malley's public image. That kind of early, extended success can be a trap for an artist, especially when it's with a project as self-consciously game-changing as Scott Pilgrim. The bigger the audience, the more it demands more of the same.
Seconds is unmistakably the work of O'Malley's singular voice: it's a romantic comedy with magical elements and some witty fourth-wall breaking, drawn in a manga-derived style with big-headed chibi characters. But it's also a very different sort of book than he's drawn before: not a bildungsroman like Scott Pilgrim (or his earlier Lost at Sea), but a fable about a woman who's pretty much got her life together already, trying to undo her mature errors. It's virtuosic in a lot of ways, but one of its many charms is how casual and low-key it seems.
This week, Chris and Matt are oddly surprised by the (possible?) commentary found in New Suicide Squad #1 by Sean Ryan and Jeremy Roberts. Then they like how Armor Hunters #1 by Robert Venditti and Doug Braithwaite hits the big event-comic notes without being contrived. And finally, they discuss a couple of DC's digital-comic offerings: Scooby Doo Team-Up #5 by Sholly Fisch and Dario Brizuela, and Bat-Manga #1 by Jiro Kuwata.
Wonder Woman has been quite the topic of conversation of late, thanks to the news that the popular and critically-acclaimed Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang creative team would soon be leaving her title after a three-year run to be replaced by the already controversial team of Meredith Finch/David Finch -- who have already made some troubling statements in simply trying to promote their run -- and the news that Gilbert Hernandez will bring his talents to the character for Sensation Comics.
While we were all talking about the Finch family, feminism, and the premier female superhero in comics history last week, we may have missed the fact that DC Comics just published an excellent Wonder Woman comic, one that cherry-picked elements from her most popular iterations (her weird-but-awesome Golden Age persona under the guidance of her creators, the Lynda Carter TV show, Super Friends) and presented them in dismemberment-free, all-ages comic that could be enjoyed by anyone from the littlest girl to the oldest old man. A comic book that was both fun and funny, and had just a touch of good old comic book insanity.
I was excited for Ms. Marvel from the moment it was announced. I reblogged it, retweeted it, called my mother about it, chatted it up at my local comic shop. But secretly, I was more than a little certain that it would suck in all the usual ways. Sure, the cover was splashy, and sure, I was hearing good things about G. Willow Wilson. But I was girded for — and expected — twenty or so lackluster issues before cancellation.
The first issue came out, and it was good. Really good. It was bright and fun and electric with personality in every way a comic can be, from its color palette to its ending splash. Still, though, I was unconvinced — fantastic first issues have given way to mediocrity before.
But the second issue was great. And the third. And the fourth. And with the fifth issue and the first arc completed, I feel that I can finally let out the breath I've been holding and say that Ms. Marvel is truly wonderful work.
On sale now, the first issue of the new Spider-Man 2099 series by writer Peter David, artist Will Sliney and colorist Antonio Fabela is the very definition of a light comic. It's loaded with jokes and goofy asides -- most of them pretty funny. There's a throwaway villain. The colors are bright and appealing. It's mostly a really enjoyable read.
Until the one moment that bothered the hell out of me. Expect some spoilers below.
Dick Grayson is one of those characters that's been rumored to be on DC Comics' chopping block for well over a decade now, so like a lot of readers, I expected his unmasking in Forever Evil to be followed by a quick and ignominious death at the hands of, I don't know, Deathstroke or Harley Quinn or somebody. When it was announced that it would instead be leading into a new series where he'd be ditching the Nightwing identity and joining up with Spyral as an international super-spy, I was actually pretty excited. There's a lot of possibility there, and if it was done right, it could take advantage of what the New 52 reboot had to offer by doing something that we hadn't seen before with that character, something that would be fresh and exciting even for a major DC character who's been around since 1940.
With the first issue of Grayson, Tim Seeley, Tom King & Mikel Janin and cover artist Andrew Robinson have done their level best at doing just that, and they've pulled it off. This is a book that jumps straight into the action, that's not afraid to drop some really, really weird stuff on you right in the first issue, and the end result is one of the strongest new titles since the New 52 got its start in 2011.
While I was playing the final episode of Telltale Games' first season of its Fables prequel game, The Wolf Among Us, I was struck by just how many genres it cycles through before its conclusion. It's a locked-parlor mystery. Then it's an action movie. There's melodrama in there. One scene is straight-up horror. Then it's a legal drama.
Previous episodes covered even more genre territory, from noir to surreal fiction to police procedural, but it wasn't until this episode that it dawned on me that Telltale was honoring the storytelling style of Fables, which started as a whodunnit and quickly became beyond categorization in its genre-hopping. Fables isn't just a series about storybook characters, it's a story about stories, and Telltale gets that. This final episode, "Cry Wolf," absolutely proved it.
I'm not even close to kidding when I say that one of the most exciting things about life in 2014 is that we're experiencing an amazing renaissance of Sailor Moon. Not only has the manga been reissued in its entirety from Kodansha, and not only is the classic series being released uncut with two episodes every Monday on Hulu, but Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, a new series based on Naoko Takeuchi's original series, made its worldwide premiere last weekend.
This is, for someone who loves Sailor Moon as much as I do, a pretty big deal, and Crystal's first episode lived up to the hype by being an absolutely gorgeous new version of Usagi's first outing as Sailor Moon. The thing is, Crystal was designed to be a far more strict adaptation of the source material, and while it definitely succeeds on that front, that's also its biggest problem.
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