Saturday, February 03, 2018

On The Silencer #1

*Just like the previous of DC's "New Age of Heroes" books, Damage #1, the first issue of The Silencer features "Dark Nights Metal" in the blue tier of the corner box, the space which indicates which family of books individual titles are part of.

And just like the first issue of Damage, The Silencer doesn't have any apparent connection to the events of Dark Nights: least, not the issues of Metal that have shipped to date, #1-#5. So if Damage and The Silencer and the other "New Age of Heroes" books are going to be Metal spin-offs, then there are either going to be a lot of set-up in that sixth and final issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's event series, or else these books are going to have to do something in future issues to retroactively tie-in to Metal. (The one exception among the announced "New Age" books seems to be The Terrifics, as 50% of that book's stars have been prominently featured in Metal, and the fifth issue of the series starts to reveal how it ties in; I suppose there's a good chance Immortal Men will be a clear tie-in too, as a group of immortals played a small role in Metal near the beginning).

*I figured this vertical gatefold cover out very quickly, after struggling a bit with the one on Damage. It's an awkward space to fill with art, really.--I'm not sure why they didn't go horizontal, which is the sort of space comics artists and readers are more familiar with--but artist and character co-creator John Romita JR did a pretty good job of filling that space; much better than Tony S. Daniel did. Romita has  the title character in the center of the image; the space below her is filled with a pile of dead ninjas, which she is standing atop, and the space above her is filled with more, live ninjas raining down on her.

Now that I've seen two, I guess I understand the image on the other side of the cover as well (part of what confused me with the Damage cover was that it looked like three un-related images by Daniel, while the back was a portion of another image). The back of each cover are portions of an image previously seen in promotional material showing many of the characters from the "New Age" line standing side by side. I guess you can collect them all, tear the covers of, put them together like a puzzle, and BAM! you have a poster.

Also, as I previously mentioned, I am dumb, which contributed to my bafflement about the covers.

*After the three-panel, in medias res opening page, there's a heavily narrated seven-page sequence, much of which appeared in previews in the back of previous DC comics, in which Honor Guest is confronted by a cyborg tough named Killbox. It's a pretty flinchily violent scene involving a fistfull of sharpened pencils--I woulda jumped in my seat if I saw it in a movie--but aside from her ass-kicking abilities, The Silencer has a kind of cool, rather unusual super-power, too; one I don't think I've ever seen before.

When she puts her fingers to her lips and goes "Shh," she's surrounded by a sizable field in which there's no sound; this lasts until she snaps her fingers.

 I wasn't sure if there was more to it too, given that it looks like she's embedding her hands fingers deep into Killbox while, um, killing him, but that was likely just the way JR JR is drawing the violence, with people's fingers and fists striking so hard they seem to smoosh or even enter the body of their victims..

*Pasta fagioli is one of my favorites. My mom, my late grandfather, my friend's mom, a local restaurant in my home town, the folks that make it for the churches in Ashtabula to sell on Fridays during Lent, they all make it completely differently, and yet they all make very good pasta fagioli. I'm sure someone somewhere makes terrible pasta fagioli, but I've yet to find it.

This may be the first time I've seen it mentioned in a comic book, but it could also simply be that I have forgotten prior mentions of it in comic books.

*I was somewhat surprised to see Talia al Ghul show up. As drawn, in business suit, she's completely unrecognizable. JRJR draws her so that she looks exactly like Honor Guest, only with white skin and brown hair instead of brown skin and blonde hair.

DC has done a good job of keeping Joker appearances rare and fairly consistent, particularly in comparison to years past, but at the same time they seem to have really lost control of other Bat-villains. Ra's al Ghul and Talia al Ghul are good examples, as they seem to show up pretty much anywhere any bat-related character appears--and that's a lot of different comic books--and there's little evidence that the editors and writers are keeping track of them in even the most cursory ways.

For example, this Talia, in both appearance and status, doesn't really seem to match the one we've seen just four or five issues of Batman ago.

*Leviathan, the organization she lead in the pages of Grant Morrison's Batman comics, which awkwardly span the Flashpoint/New 52 reboot, is mentioned.

*Killbox is followed by two more assassins with dumb names, Bloodvessel and Breacher. None of them survive the issue, so the dumbness of their names isn't really anything to be concerned with, I guess.

*Talia gives Honor some kind of disc-shaped gadget which she only reluctantly takes and I guess it is her costume...? In disc-form? We barely see it in this issue, as she only dons it at the climax, but it's pretty lame-looking (you can see it in the "New Age" house ad; she's the character in profile you can't recognize, because she's wearing a mask she lacks on the cover of The Silencer).

I'm so used to that cover image at this point, that I was surprised to learn she even has a costume. Having seen it in a couple different places so far, I think it's probably better than she not have one. I suppose it could grow on me, though.

*Hey, guess what? This comic book contains no splash pages at all! Not a one! In fact, the fewest number of panels per page in this book is three, and some pages have as many as seven panels. There are several passages with a six-panel grid lay-out. This is in sharp contrast to the first "New Age" book released, which had a gratuitous amount of page real estate wasted on multiple splash pages and double-page splashes.

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