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A Month Of Comics: Part 3

Finally, I get to wrap things up in my review of five weeks of comic book purchases. Too much work, going away for the weekend, then no internet connection really gets in the way of blogging, you know? So, time to discuss the remaining books, with no particularly linking theme.

Usagi Yojimbo #112 – The second part to ‘Sakura’, there’s funny banter between Usagi and Gen, they help out Sakura and a child against Boss Kaneko, there’s adventure and sword-fighting and justice. How does Sakai do it? Month in, month out, he produces quality work that is not only beautiful and expertly conceived but is also thoroughly engaging and absorbing. It’s an amazing achievement, one for which he deserves a lot more credit – a creator-owned character being told continuously for over 20 years and is still brilliant (and no bizarre misogynistic philosophies). Simply superb.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #15 – the final part of Wolves at the Gate, bringing things to a rousing and satisfying conclusion. Drew Godard, long-time writer of the television series, does effortlessly good banter, and the Xander/Dracula relationship is fantastic (spin-off series, anyone?). It’s fun, despite the seriousness and death that is innate to the series – a giant dawn fighting a giant robot in the streets of Tokyo brings a smile to your face. Even with the introduction of Bisexual Buffy (hello, Googlers!), this has been good stuff.

Fables #73 – the first part of War and Pieces, as the Fables go to war with Gepetto. Blue takes us around the various locations in the war, allowing us to see everybody and assess the situation, and written in an entertaining way. Willingham has created a wonderful world in which to tell stories, which he also does extremely well – I hope he keeps up the good work.

All Star Superman #11 – Morrison and Quitely continue their delightful exploration of Superman, with lots of background stuff for long-time fans, and introducing Luthor with superpowers while Superman fights Solaris – this is what superhero comics are all about.

Final Crisis #1 & 2 – I don’t see what the problem people are having with this series. Morrison is writing a big story, about evil winning and the good guys having to fight back, with a mystery and drama, and JG Jones draws it in his beautiful style – this is good comics by anybody’s standards. The only things I don’t get are the DC references, but that’s what Douglas Wolk’s Final Crisis Annotations are for. Could this be the crossover at DC that people can actually read and enjoy?

Immortal Iron Fist #15 & 16 – the swansong for Fraction/Brubaker on their deliriously good updating of Daniel Rand and the Iron Fist mythos. The first is a Legends of the Iron Fist story, which is a fun little tale, but it is issue #16 that is the perfect way to say goodbye – Fraction tells a strong story and Aja brings his pencil magic (he is the current standard artist for Iron Fist for me). He even draws a cameo for Fraction and Brubaker. Fraction sets things up for the next writer by having Danny become a philanthropist, giving his money away (but it will take time, what with having billions), reuniting with Luke Cage and Misty Knight (albeit in slightly different ways), teaching kung fu to kids, and discovering that something happens to Iron Fists in their 33rd year, on the day of his 33rd birthday. This has been a great run – who would’ve have thought Iron Fist would be a successful and brilliant comic in 2008?

Ex Machina #37 – this continues the good writing, good art and good concept of Ex Machina, but also continues the lack of that distinct something that means that stories don’t linger. I can’t put my finger on it, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the comics in the moment.

What if this was the Fantastic Four – seriously, just buy this comic and feel good about yourself – it’s a fun little story with the last Mike Wieringo art, and there’s art from a host of talented artists (Art Adams, Alan Davis to name but two): a lovely tribute and all for a good cause.

And there you go – all the comics I’ve bought in the past five weeks. This doesn’t include any trades I’ve purchased recently, which usually get a separate entry when I get round to it, but it provides a snapshot of my tastes at this moment in time, and let’s you know which books I buy in the singles and which I save for the trade (such as Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men and Brubaker’s Daredevil).

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