Comics

Published on April 26th, 2014 | by Brad

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My Week in Comics – 23/04/14

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My week in comics this week is late. Sorry about that. Due to the bank holiday, there was a disruption to the comics being delivered, so I’ve only just been able to get them today. Late on just my fourth issue. I feel like a Jim Lee comic…

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Justice League United #0

Written by Jeff Lemire. Drawn by Mike McKone.

This book has a slightly difficult problem from the off – it’s here to replace Justice League of America, but due to the Forever Evil delay, the JLA finale won’t be until the end of May, by which point this will already have its #1 out. This makes the launch with a #0 look really odd. The original plan was for the final issue of JLA and JLU #0 to be released on the same day, thus a sense of “out with the old, in with the new” could be crafted. As is, you have a #1 in all but the number on the cover.

I talked about Jeff Lemire a fair bit a few weeks ago, but it’s worth mentioning again – he is a dab hand at this superhero thing. It just fits him like a glove. The whole JLU team appear here (albeit Supergirl only in cameo in a flashforward), each getting a showcase moment, and establishing their personality. The immediacy is refreshing, in an age where decompressed storylines mean that you can sometimes be five or six months into a team book before all the members have been introduced (yes, Geoff Johns, I am talking about you). Lemire’s more than proved himself with Green Arrow and Animal Man at this point, and he quickly weaves in Stargirl, Martian Manhunter and Hawkman from the old JLA with the New 52 debut of sci-fi hero Adam Strange, a personal favourite of mine, and new original character for the series, a super-powered Cree teenager named Miiyahbin. Billed as a Justice League book set in Canada and outer space, JLU’s story is off to a pretty entertaining start. If Lemire is given enough time, he could make a pretty good successor to Justice League International out of this.

To that end, he needs to keep hold of Mike McKone. His slightly cartoonish style of artwork complements the lighter tone of the story beautifully, whilst he forays into the slightly unsettling where the story requires it. The action is well-choreographed, and the snowy expanses of Northern Canada look gorgeous and foreboding in equal measure. He draws all the characters well, and their varied designs and colour schemes make the book very nice to look at. It’s beautifully coloured by Lemire’s Green Arrow collaborator Marcelo Maiolo, using a much bolder colour palette here, though there are the occasional stark moments thrown in for impact.

Justice League United #0 is a pretty solid start to what promises to be a very entertaining series. As a first issue, it plays very well to new readers – you could never have read a DC comic in your life, and you wouldn’t feel lost here. It’s very welcoming, very entertaining, and a treat for the eyes. Recommended.

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Dead Boy Detectives #5

Written by Toby Litt and Mark Buckingham. Drawn by Buckingham and Russ Braun.

From the pages of The Sandman, the Dead Boy Detectives have quietly, unassumingly gone about making a very enjoyable comic book. We follow the ghosts of Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland, two schoolboys brutally murdered about 90 years apart in the same schoolroom, in their new capacity as private, paranormal detectives. It’s a delightfully bonkers concept which could have only sprung from the mind of Neil Gaiman, in that most fertile of creative playgrounds, The Sandman. The banter between the boys, Edwin’s young Victorian gentleman clashing against Charles’ early 90s basket case, creates a great dynamic, aided further by their living friend, Crystal Palace (her parents are very pretentious). The first four issues took the Detectives back to where it all began, whilst introducing Crystal, and they were a good start. #5 launches a new story, as the boys move into Crystal’s treehouse, Charles’ relationship with her deepens, and Edwin follows a cat, with fabulously odd results.

Dead Boy Detectives has a strange, slightly off-kilter look to it, which suits events very well. There are a couple of interesting visual flourishes, in particular two double-page spreads in which one character explains something to another. The colour-scheme is quite washed out, in the main, with occasional moments of vibrancy standing out.

If you’re looking for a comic that’s a bit different from the standard superhero fare, you could do a lot worse than Dead Boy Detectives. It’s a good-looking book, with an engaging trio of main characters, and an enjoyable style. I like, and I think you will too.

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Batman Eternal #3

Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Consulting writers Ray Fawkes, John Layman and Tim Seeley. Drawn by Jason Fabok.

Three weeks in, and Batman Eternal is rolling pretty nicely. Carmine Falcone declares war on the Penguin, whilst his puppet police Commissioner Jason Forbes declares war on Batman. Fabok’s Penguin is a delightfully grotesque creature, with a certain regal air to him that tells you all you need to know before you even read a word that’s coming out of his mouth.

What has been notable about this series is its rather minimal use of its title character. He’s only in six pages this week, with the bulk of our time split between Falcone, Penguin, the GCPD and the New 52 debut of Stephanie Brown. Steph’s history is pretty convoluted, so I won’t go into too much; suffice to say, her appearance here is something fans have been clamouring for for two and a half years, since the launch of the New 52 basically erased her from continuity altogether. Her return has been a big selling point of Eternal for old-school fans, and her discovery of what her father gets up to on a night cuts straight to the chase. The roster is expanded further by the likes of Firefly, Lock-Up, Signalman, Imperceptible Man, Mr Mosaic, Hypnotic and Mr Combustible, all the types of freaks with gimmicks Falcone has returned to take down.

Batman Eternal is off to a very strong start, and thus far has delivered the goods to the extent that I’m happy buying this week in, week out. I’m interested to see what happens when the artist is someone other than Jason Fabok for a bit, as his work is a major part of what makes it such a good comic, but we’ll cross that potential hurdle when we get to it. For now, the comic is a damn good read.

 

Still no American Vampire. Grrr.

Brad

Brad

Consumer. Scribbler. Occasional drunkard. Nice beard, though...
Brad

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