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Comics for 15 June

Fables #50
Definitely my book of the week. And a double-sized, special issue that is not only good but also uses the occasion for scope and a special event in the story. The book tells of Bigby’s mission, a cracking adventure in the Adversary’s realm, via the Cloud Kingdoms of the giants, with plenty of death, explosions and derring-do. Then we are treated to the, quite appropriately, fairy-tale wedding of Bigby and Snow White, which bought a smile to this jaded old man, and we discover the whereabouts of their missing seventh child. This has all the ingredients I ask for in my comics: strong narrative, interesting characters and good dialogue, wrapped in a genre cover. I don’t particularly like the way the art seems to have turned a little blocky and hard around the edges, which I think is to do with the inker, but that might be just me. Top marks.

Ex Machina Special #2
The concluding part of the extended flashback story of The Great Machine, as he deals with a character trying to become his arch nemesis. As usual, Vaughan brings his film-school tightness to proceedings, telling the story through character and dialogue, with the softer pencils of Sprouse visualising the tale. I particularly enjoy the Mayor Hundred character due to the fact that he uses his brain, not in the Reed Richards uber genius way, but in an accessible way through his engineer training. Even the way he eludes the DJ trying to trap him into a ‘When did you stop beating your wife’ corner shows a thinking man, which is something I find pleasantly aspirational.

Squadron Supreme #4
I am in two minds about Squadron Supreme. On the one hand, it is well written and well drawn, and seems to be laying the groundwork of the plot nicely, while investigating the characters involved. On the other hand, I am not enjoying the strong-women-because-of-rape nature of the Inertia character. Now, I can’t imagine what it is like to be raped, and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, so I don’t see why it has to be used as an origin story for a character. It has appeared as backstory in other characters, such as the recent nonsense with Black Cat by Kevin Smith, to the extent that I have seen people post that it is a cliché, which is perhaps overreaching. However, just because it can be used as somebody’s history, doesn’t mean it should. It is made even more unnecessary by the very clichéd aspects of the character’s youth, with a protective mother and a preacher father who also uses his position of religious authority to have sex with women in his congregation. It all seemed so formulaic from JMS, which was the most disappointing aspect. If only Gary Frank didn’t produce such great art, it would be easier to decide whether to dump this or not.

[See Jake’s post, strangely at both Ye Olde Comick Shoppe [EDIT: blog is now invitation-only] and 2 Guys Buying Comics, for a sharp and sarcastic take on this particular issue]

100 Bullets #73
See previous comments on 100 Bullets, namely: street-smart dialogue; sharp, fully realised characters; gritty, noir trappings; effortlessly cool artwork.


The other bit of business of the day: a very fond farewell to Ninth Art, the consistently thoughtful and enjoyable site dedicated to the medium of comic books, which has its last update today. They will be sorely missed.

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