A strange week for comics, with the hype and queues for the variant cover of Amazing Spider-Man #583 and the mess Marvel made of allowing the retailers to order it correctly. However, it all passed me by because (a) I’m not in America and (b) I don’t read Amazing Spider-Man. Here’s what I bought instead:
Captain Britain and MI:13 #9
This issue is the conclusion to the Hell Comes To Birmingham story, with everything turning out okay for the team with the help of Alistaire Stewart. Okay except for Captain Midlands, who betrayed the team for his heart’s desire (the handing of a gun to someone for noble suicide seems really odd to me; I’m sure it only exists in fiction – there was one recently in The Spirit. And never trust a death scene off camera). Leonard Kirk’s art keeps getting better on this book – there’s a real strong stamp on the book – which makes Mike Collins’ art on the pages with Captain Britain inside the Dream Corridor look a little lacklustre by comparison (with the exception of Meggan, who looks very pretty in that panel). But Paul Cornell must get kudos for doing a top-notch job on his first ongoing series for Marvel, with nice juggling of plots and setting up plot strands (Meggan being real), nice dialogue (‘Step away from the pensioner.’), and for the last page – Dracula on the moon: ‘Get me Doctor Doom.’ Brilliant.
Underneath an beautifully eerie yet strangely erotic cover from James Jean, issue 80 of Fables is an in-between issue – we are in between the destruction of Woodland and whatever happens in the next issue. Mayor Cole evacuates everyone to the Farm and Boy Blue discovers the truth about Rose Red, and there are omens of danger (Mister Dark, Baba Yaga, an empty storage bottle, Santa’s naughty list). All is told with polish by the usual team of Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (with the art on the continuing back-up story about Mowgli by Peter Gross) but it is the calm before the storm, and we have to wait a month before we discover what happens – the joys of the monthly comic book format. I can’t wait.
Final Crisis #6
Now this is how to do a big superhero crossover story – huge scale with small moments, heroics, touches of inspiration (the God-Weapon), fights, comic book fun (Tawny taking down Kalibak), the big ideas (the Omega Offensive and Montoya’s role), comic book science with the Flashes, even Luthor and Sirvana doing their bit. It’s not perfect, obviously – these things never are, unfortunately – and the multiple artist roster has an adverse effect on the outcome, but when you have Batman shooting Darkseid with a toxic bullet, you get that feeling only comic books seem to provide. The ‘HH’ when Batman shoots him, followed by ‘Gotcha’ (Does that sound like the real Batman?), followed by the double-page spread of the Omega Beams catching up (Does the Omega Beam leave a corpse? At least Batman goes down the way he should – properly and on his own terms) – this is exactly the type of thing that I want from my comics. It’s a fun, zippy read that leaves me eager to read the final issue (and even read some of the Final Crisis tie-ins I have ignored). Now, Morrison, deliver the goods with the final issue – show us what you’ve got.