Northlanders #41 (DC/Vertigo) comes hot on the heels of the cancellation announcement for the series. I supposed I could go into some long-winded tirade about what a travesty this is vis-à-vis the current state of the comic book marketplace and what it says about modern reading audiences, but sometimes I just feel like… what’s the point? Books get cancelled. Some very good books get cancelled. The demands of commerce sometimes outweigh the needs of art. When I’m being logical about it instead of just reacting emotionally, I feel like it’s a minor miracle that a book ostensibly about Vikings, without any easily identifiable main character that recurs, reaching #50 in the first place is a pretty fucking grand accomplishment. Congratulations to Brian Wood and all of the amazing artistic talent involved over the years. Kudos for trying something innovative, a sequentially numbered series of mini-series essentially – with alternate trade dress and multiple jumping-on points (differentiating it from say, the Hellboy formula of a series of mini-series, not sequentially numbered, with limited jumping on points…). Anyway, that entire first arc with Sven, the issue 17 one-shot, Zezelj on The Shield Maidens, yeah, I’ll carry some fond memories of this book with me. At the very least, I’m glad I have something like HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation, with that level of intelligence and stark beauty, to replace it in my pop culture consumables.
Moving along, Marvel offers Invincible Iron Man #505 (Marvel) and I can’t say I’m as thrilled about this as I used to be. It seems like ever since the soft-reboot of the numbering schema to #500, I just haven’t really been into this book. Maybe it’s Fear Itself or some other impending publishing shake-up (still can't believe they're ending Uncanny X-Men!), but it just feels like it’s been treading water for a while and isn’t doing anything of consequence. I have to say that I’ll be putting it in the “maybe” column this week. On the graphic novel front, I can heartily recommend the Legion Lost HC (DC), which should have been collected years ago, but it makes sense now why DC would have waited to get this out in order to tempt audiences for the two new Legion series coming out in September. This story follows the events of the Legion of The Damned mini-crossover which was also recently collected. I cannot, however, heartily recommend Justice League: Cry for Justice TPB (DC). It is easily one of the worst things I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s the very epitome of misogynistic, illogical tragedy porn storytelling, with near incomprehensible art at the technical level, full of conflicting light sources, poor choreography, and a penchant for cheap titillation. The worst part is probably that with a quick glance, it looks great, in this slick confectionary style with glossy paper and garish coloring. It’s all empty calories though, kind of like when you send your kid to school with lunch money, the idealistic parent in you imagining some tasty meal involving whole grain bread and perfectly manicured carrot sticks, but all they come home with is a crumpled up Charleston Chew wrapper in their pocket, while your mind flashes forward to the next dentist visit and thoughts of childhood obesity... and who knows where the rest of that 5 bucks went? It’s almost worth getting as an exercise in proof by counter-example; this is how comics should not be done.