2.15.2012

2.15.12 Reviews (Part 1)

Wasteland #34 (Oni Press): I was telling Brian Wood this the other day, do you know what I really love about a comic? When it makes me look up a word. One need only Google “Nephilim” to get all sorts of insight about the surprisingly effective thematic overlay Antony Johnston is working with in this arc. I also appreciate the manner in which there are clues littered all over the place in this issue, but Johnston shows restraint as a writer and doesn’t beat you over the head with them. It’s not the type of book where some villain is going to monologue in the third act and explain the plot, the denouement, and everything you missed along the way. He respects the intelligence of his audience, and that’s a rare gift as a writer, to operate on a level totally devoid of annoying exposition. There are clues about locations and relationships and Michael’s powers, and what’s transpired in the history of this universe in order to get the characters to this point. I guess when you add all that up, it means, simply put, that nobody is better at world-building than Antony Johnston. When it’s packaged in the easily digestible fluid-looking style of Justin Greenwood, it really sings. I keep wanting to label Greenwood’s style as “animated,” but it’s actually more than that. True, there are some caricature characteristics that make it border on that, but the emotional content of the facial expressions and the gestures of the body language add a nice level of realism that makes a great marriage. There’s energy behind these pencils and they never appear as static lines on the page. Kinetic? Is that the word I’m looking for? Maybe. It’s hard not to comment on the religious overtones in the issue, I’m no biblical scholar, but there’s old stuff here, like Old Testament stuff about lesser deities and the tension between pagan culture and Christianity, along with the obvious Christ-like figures at play. Wasteland, yep, she’s still got it all. Drama, disaster, action, sex, politics, and religion in one of the most fast paced issues in recent memory. It’s a veritable witch’s brew of hot button social topics in one slick looking cauldron. Cliffhanger too! I mean, what the hell happened to Michael and Gerr?! I gotta’ wait another month for this?! C’mon! And thanks for the pull quote on the front cover, guys! Here’s to a very enthusiastic Grade A.

Glory #23 (Image): Not sure if I mentioned it in the Prophet review, but you know what I love? I love how they decided to just continue on with the numbering scheme as if nothing ever happened, in sort of a thumbing-of-the-nose to THOSE OTHER COMPANIES who beat us over the head with an endless sea of relaunches, reboots, renumbering, and ultimate revulsion at their continued publishing practices. If nothing else, you gotta’ love the energy coming out of Image Comics this year with their Image Expo and commitment to the “Experience Creativity” marketing campaign. The lesson? Support Creator Owned Work. Follow Creators, Not Characters. Anyway… if Supreme was Superman, then Glory was the Wonder Woman analogue back in the day, so let’s see what Joe Keatinge and Ross “Wet Moon” Campbell have up their sleeves, no? Right from jump, I like the type of narrative involvement used in relaying the world this is set in. The creators dive right in and never look back. The women look like women, and on the scripting end this taps into the industry’s pulpy, sci-fi, mythological roots without getting lost in genre fetish, with plenty of accessibility for a modern audience with a little more refined palate. The colors are immaculate and Campbell’s art has this inky Paul Pope, Jack Kirby framing, and sinewy Frank Quitely shit all over it. I love it! It’s really fun stuff, especially the meta-commentary about the resurgence of superheroes in the modern era, and how that relates to the fallibility of man. There’s a real sense of consequence about it; shoot, I can already tell that I like this even more than Prophet. The parallel storytelling with the two female protagonists is absolutely on point. God, I bet DC is gonna’ be so damn jealous that this isn’t the type of direction they were remotely capable of taking the new Wonder Woman in! Grade A.

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