Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yes, I have been reading comics

I've been rather neglectful of this blog of late.  It hasn't been for a lack of reading material.  There has been plenty of that.  There was a time crunch for a couple of months, but that is no longer the case.  Really the issue has been a lack of desire in blogging.  I'll try to do better in the coming weeks.
Here are some quick hit thoughts on a few of the things I read recently.
Wonder Woman No. 20 – This is what I’ve been waiting for. This is the beginning of Gail Simone’s third arc on the title since she took the reins at the end of last year. The first arc left me a little indifferent and the second arc wasn’t a whole lot better (though the last issue of that story started to show some of what I was expecting). Perhaps Gail would not agree with me, (that it took this long) but I think she finally hit her stride (on this title) with this issue. We really get to see all the facets of Diana in this story. Her power and strength, her compassion, her determination, and her calm demeanor. Plus, she encounters the Grendel-seeking Beowolf in this story.  I was ecstatic when it was announced that Gail would be taking over this title and it is finally starting to pay dividends. Definitely a good time to be aboard this one.
Echo No. 3 – Never intended to read this particular title, but what with all the openings on my reading list since I kicked Marvel to the curb, I decided to give it a look when the first issue hit the stands. I never read Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, but there have certainly been a lot of positive things written about it. If it was as good as what I’ve read in the first three issues of Echo, I can understand why. Start with a likeable protagonist who has her share of personal issues, toss in a secret government project (a suit of liquid metal that essentially makes its wearer a walking atom bomb) that only adds to her troubles, salt and pepper to taste, add garnish and serve.
Batman Confidential No. 17 – Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire present Batgirl’s (the Barbara Gordon version) first encounter with Catwoman. A very green Batgirl is intent on recovering a notepad belonging to her father that has been stolen from right under her nose by Gotham’s top thief. Is there really anything else you need to know about this one? Kevin Maguire art. Batgirl. Catwoman. I smell winner.
Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Prodigal Son No. 1 – I don’t really know the entire premise of this particular series (never read the book series it is based on and I didn’t read any summary on said book series either), but it has Brett Booth art and it seems like it should be an entertaining story (I did see some preview pages and a description of the first issue before I bought it). A serial killer is taking body parts from his victims in New Orleans while the scarred title character has been called to the very same city via a message from an old friend. I’m definitely interested in seeing where this one goes.
Vertigo First Cut
I really like these collections of first issues from various Vertigo titles that DC puts together. They are priced at an amazingly consumer-friendly $4.99 for the collection and give readers a chance to experience the beginning of titles they otherwise might not check out. This particular collection featured the first issues of:
Jack of Fables
The Exterminators
Crossing Midnight
and a short preview of the upcoming series Air.
I’ve already been reading Army@Love so I’m familiar with that series, but I had not previously read any of the others. After checking out these first issues, I have to say that each have their own appeal. I read Fables (it is one of my favorite titles), but that never really translated into a desire to follow Jack of Fables. Reading the first issue certainly piqued my interest in the book however. I at least would like to see how the first story arc plays out. The DMZ was pretty good, although I thought the last page was a misstep (they obviously had to go that direction in order to advance the premise, but that didn’t make it any less nonsensical). You wouldn’t think a series revolving around bug exterminators would come off as entertaining, but you would be wrong. There isn’t quite enough there to convince me to become a regular reader of The Exterminators, but I can certainly see where it might actually be an interesting series. Scalped presented an interesting enough premise but I was a little bit turned off by the art (which wasn’t bad --- it just didn’t quite impress). Of all the series presented in the collection, Scalped is the one I would be least-likely to pick up even though it is probably a pretty good series. I remember reading the original solicitation for Crossing Midnight and having some interest. I think I might have thumbed through the first issue when it hit the stands, but I guess I didn’t see enough to take it home. Now that I’ve fully read the first issue, I think I would still pass on it even though, much like Scalped, it looks like it is probably a good series. I’ve never been a serious fan of the western genre, but I have to say that Loveless looks very promising. I could almost be convinced to actually start picking it up.
To sum up, pretty much all of these titles look good enough to merit becoming a regular reader of (or at least checking out the initial story arc). They all offer something a little different but seem to be quality projects all the same.
Anyway, I very strongly recommend everyone pick up a copy of Vertigo First Cut and check out the first issue of these titles yourselves. If your local comic shop doesn’t have copies, you purchase it via amazon.com – and for $4.99 it is a definite bargain.

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