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More Comic Reviews (Sign of the Apocalypse)

I handled a certain selection of my 3-week haul in the previous post, so this next batch are linked by being more traditional, lighter superheroics and comics.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #18
Adam DeKraker does a nice job of pencils over Kitson’s layouts this month (can he do a continuous run on this book? Is he only good for Waid-written limited series?), which continues the story of the current Supergirl (whatever this incarnation is nowadays, I’ve stopped keeping track) in the LSH future (including a full-page spread referring to Infinite Crisis, I think; I only recognise it from reading the news sites). There is also the reveal of Brainy attempting to return Dream Girl’s soul to her body, rather than just simply bringing her back to life, which is an interesting twist on the obvious. Waid has some fun with the group this month, with some fun dialogue and sight gags, which hopefully means that the spark is back in his writing.

Runaways v2 #16
The lack of spark in Runaways continues in this issue. I just re-read it for the purpose of capturing my thoughts on it, and the flick through didn’t engage me again, which is not a great sign. The dialogue, albeit effective and pacy, doesn’t sing with the earlier Vaughan style, and the story seems to be taking a long time to get anywhere interesting. Alphona keeps things visually arresting with his unique style (I particularly liked the pixies conjured to locate the spy) but it doesn’t make for a satisfying read (my expression of the moment, it seems), a charge that wasn’t levelled at Vaughan until recently. He used to remember that each comic should be worth the £2 (or $3 plus tax) that was spent on it, but he appears to have forgotten that of late. Talking of which:

X-Men/Runaways in Marvel’s Free Comic Book
A big thank you to the wonderful chaps at Gosh!, my LCS, for sticking this in my sub box without me asking for it. A pleasant surprise from the best comic shop in London. To the story; completely silly and pointless. The X-Men act out of character for the sake of a meeting with the Runaways. A waste of time, except for the delightfully cartoony and funky art of Skottie Young, who has a very nice handle on the X-Men, and some great dialogue from Vaughan, more like his old self than the current comics. There are some great lines in the story, that make up for the implausibility of the actual plot. The rest of the comic is a shameless exercise in ruining the reading process, but it was free, so I can’t complain.

X-Factor #7
Olivetti’s art seems more suited to X-Factor than Calero, which gets this new arc off to a good start. I understand that PAD is a fan of the television series Angel, which provides a template for this comic: a central character funding a strange group of people investigating unusual things. Singularity Investigations continue the connection, as they are the Wolfram & Hart equivalent, and PAD has them invite Madrox in for a chat, while Siryn blithely refuses to believe that her father, Sean Cassidy, aka the X-Men Banshee, has been killed, nicely playing on the fans’ expectations of the news (echoing PAD’s own line: ‘I sometimes think that in mutant heaven there are no Pearly Gates, merely revolving doors.’) I think that PAD is going a little slowly for a new book that has to make an impact, but I’m enjoying the ride (for the most part) and hope to continue to do so.

PvP #26
I remember discovering PVP back in 2001, and devouring the archives of the online strip. It was funny, had great characters, had a nice line to the artwork, riffed on pop culture a lot, and was my introduction to the world of the webcomic. I like having the paper version of the strip as well, as I feel better about giving Kurtz money for all that entertainment he provided for free. However, not all of the storylines work for me. This is not a criticism, per se; he shouldn’t be writing his strip to entertain all the people all the time. This issue is one of those times. I flicked through this, without much in the way of emotional involvement, with the odd chuckle here and there at a particularly good line, but nothing more. In a way, PvP is like an enjoyable sitcom – you enjoy it, but not every episode will be a belter. The quality of Kurtz’s work isn’t in question, just the area in which he took the characters. I don’t feel much for his back-up strip set in fantasy/D&D territory; it’s just me. I still look forward to the next issue.

Jack Staff #10
I think I’m losing my patience with Jack Staff. It is not the very long delays between issues (number nine was in October of last year), although that doesn’t help. It’s the feeling of an anthology that isn’t going anywhere, and is taking a ridiculously leisurely time getting there. Admittedly, Grist’s art is as good as ever, and the Alan Moore-alike, Morlan the Mystic, is rather funny, and the main story has a nice Kane feel to it, but it isn’t doing its job of satisfying me with a single comic. If I’m going to continue to buy this book, I want to feel that it is worth my hard-earned money. At the moment, it isn’t doing that. Much as I don’t want to do it, I fear I shall have to give it until issue 12 (whenever that may appear) to determine its monthly purchase fate.

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