Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Comic Shop Comics: June 22nd

Archie #9 (Archie Comics) Mark Waid and Veronica Fish's latest issue of Archie continues the trend of the earlier issues, in which each one stands alone as a complete story, while continuing to advance a broader narrative. In that respect, the series has been somewhat TV-like, with each issue similar to an episode. In this one, Archie and Veronica decide that given her father's hatred of him, maybe they should hang out at his house rather than hers. This proves to be something of a challenge for Veronica though, as she's not used to such a non-mansion household. Mild hilarity ensues.

As does some romantic tension between Archie and Betty...although the former is of course oblivious to it, as he's fairly oblivious to everything.

Mark Waid's introduction to the reprint back-up is of interest, as the writer admits in it that Archie's everymankid nature can make hims particularly challenging to write...something I imagine has only gotten harder and harder as the decades past and Archie's generally bland portrayal calcified. As Waid notes in talking up the attributes of classic Archie artist Harry Lucey (Waid's favorite), however, it's in the artwork that characterization can often be added back into the character.

I found that all rather fascinating, as the rotating artists of the new, rebooted Archie has made Waid the prime creative force behind the character, and he seems to have done a pretty fine job so far of giving the character a distinct enough personality.

She Wolf #1 (Image Comics) At just 20-pages for $3.99, this price point was pretty far outside my personal comfort zone–not crazy about the paperstock, either, or the way the back cover takes my fingerprints–but, as you can see, it was an extremely light week, and this looked pretty fantastic.

It is, as you can probably guess from the title and cover, a werewolf comic, and it is by Rich Tommaso. The setting is apparently the 1980s, based on the fashion and a few minor cultural touchstones. Our heroine Gabby Catella, whose boyfriend was apparently a werewolf, until he is gunned down by policemen in front of her. And now she might be a werewolf...or might not be.

There are some challenging jump cuts in this narrative that make it difficult to tell exactly what is happening when (for example, on page three, Gabby is nude and looking out her bedroom window, where she's a werewolf running around, while in the first panel of page four we see her reacting to what she sees out the window, and she's fully dressed). There is at least one extended dream sequence, as well as some jumps it time.

That made for a slightly disorienting read.

I really love Tomasso's artwork here, though. There's a slight suggestion–an accent, really–in the visual language that reminds me of Richard Sala, but that may be simply because of the somewhat abstracted, flat style and the fact that Tomasso is drawing pretty young girls and a monster.

I really like the way he draws these werewolves, as they seem to have some human-like features and some wolf-like features, but also look completely distinct from either. There's something long, sleek and unnatural about them; in some panels they appear like gigantic, semi-erect minks rather than the more traditional hairy-person-with-a-wolf-head we usually see in post-Howling comics and movies.

Wonder Woman #1 (DC Comics) This is the first issue of the new Wonder Woman series, and it is by writer Greg Rucka and the first of the two artists he will be working with. This issue is part of the storyline set in the present, and featuring the lovely, detailed, fairly realistic artwork of Liam Sharp, whose style reminded me quite a bit of Rags Morales, a favorite artist of mine. Rucka and Sharp collaborated on the last six pages or so of Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, but this story doesn't directly pick up on that sequence at all.

I'll refrain from going into much detail here, as I'll be writing about this later in the week as part of the "Afterbirth" series of posts I've been doing (maybe I should have worked on that name a little harder). For now, I'll be brief. The art is great, the story is boring and very little happens (i.e. it's a Greg Rucka Wonder Woman comic), the characterization of Wonder Woman is stronger than it's been in five years, Etta Candy's post-Crisis and New 52 looks have apparently been amalgamated, Steve Trevor grew a beard and stopped wearing black spandex and The Cheetah got a new 'do.

Overall, it's fine, but not sensational, or even terribly satisfying. Like Rucka's last run on the character, I assume it will read far better in trade than in single issues, as it seems to be written once again for the former rather than the latter.

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