Thursday, July 19, 2012

Comic shop comics: July 11-18

Daredevil #15 (Marvel Entertainment) Props to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee for figuring out a way to do cut down on the amount of artwork that needs to be provided for an issue of a Daredevil, and to do it in such a way that entire pages of black panels with nothing in them but lettering is actually integral to the story.

Matt Murdock is completely deprived of all five his senses and trapped in Latveria, but after awhile his sense begin to return, and Waid and Samnee show us the action from DD's point-of-view as well as from an omniscent point-of-view, the formers allowing color artist Javier Rodgriguez and letterer Joe Caramagna to do an awful lot of noticeable, noteworthy storytelling (Personally, I liked the empty dialogue bubbles that were nothing but solid colors, conveying that Murdock could tell someone was saying something and the general emotion—blue-sad, red-angry—but he couldn't actually make out the actual words.

It's a beautiful comic, and it's a smart comic, even if it's a Superhero 101 sort of plot, about a hero escaping from a villains' clutches under incredible odds.

Bonus! We get to see a few panels of Samnee's Iron Man, and get a good look at the new Captain Marvel's stupid banana-clipped hairstyle:
If she wants to shave the sides and make that a mohawk, I am all for that. But long hair piled on top like that with what I imagine must be a banana clip? I do not care for that.

Saga #5 (Image Comics) One of the neat things about this book so far is the way Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have made all of the characters interesting enough that it's easy to find oneself rooting for them all on some level. Even the badder of the bad guys, like Prince Robot IV and The Stalk, are beautifully designed and rendered, making it difficult not to sympathize with them.

In this issue, Vaughan's plotting gives The Will a pretty incredible and noble motivation to agree to do something at odds with the fates of our protagonists—that is, to murder them for money. And that noble thing he wants to do is protect a very young child from a very terrible thing, so that the conflict has now taken the shape of two parents on the run trying to protect their child...versus a guy trying to kill them in order to protect another child.

That's some nice, strong plotting, Vaughan.

Also in this issue, Prince Robot IV goes to the bathroom and, we learn, has previously knocked up his wife. I hope Image eventually publishes a Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe style companion to this book, explaining the biology of the Robot royalty characters, because I'm not entirely sure how it works, but find myself curious.

Also also, a horribly sad ending, mostly because Staples is so great at drawing awesome breasts...and the beautiful/scary/crazy-looking creature that has them.

Saucer Country #5 (DC/Vertico) Say, I bought six comic books at the shop this week, and four of them start with the letter "S." Huh.

Smurf Vs. Smurf (Papercutz) Smurf Village falls into civil war over the correct usage of the word "smurf" in compound nouns. It's awesome. There are three shorter stories of less ambitious length and subject matter (and thus awesomeness), but the one where Gargamel's benevolent cousin decides the Smurfs are socialist vermin that need to be exterminated because they don't believe in money and thus won't pay him for the candy he gives them is kind of funny seen through the suggested frame of capitalism = sinister sorcery/elfin genocide justification, socialism = mostly peaceful co-existence.

SpongeBob Comics #10 (United Plankton Pictures) Still a fun, funny, superior gag comic for the very same reasons repeatedly cited. This issue is perhaps noteworthy in that James Kochalka provides a full eight-page story, rather than the handful of three-panel, newspaper funny pages-style comics he usually contributes.

Wonder Woman #11 (DC) Two more Olympians are introduced this issue: Artemis/Moon (awesome design!) and Demeter/Harvest (less so; the wrinkly green Skrull chin doesn't work for me), and Wonder Woman and her allies battle against two Olympian gods, and Zeus' empty throne—a well-designed chair atop a well-designed Olympus that looks nothing like the previous DC version—gets two rival claimants at the book's climax.

The story arc that the book has been telling for almost an entire year now seems to be reaching its overall climax, which I'm glad of. It's been a pleasure watching Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang reinvent classic Greek mythology and set it in modern times while maintaining enough fantastical weirdness to make it feel mythological and fantastical rather than clever and mechanical, but it's gotta be leading somewhere, and a year is an awful long time to get there, isn't it?

I'm enjoying this serially, but I bet it will read even better as a series of trade collections somewhere down the road.


Akilles said...

I think that I like this segment the most, of all your other regular segments.

I guess I have to read a review of Saucer country # 5 elsewhere...But, then again, no. I`m gonna read the series some day anyhow. So, why bother reading reviews of all the issues?

JohnF said...

I like Ms. Marvel's, er Captain Marvel's new costume. I hate butt-floss costumes.
Don't care much for the hairstyle, though.