Comics I Bought 8 January 2009

I thought this week was going to be absent of books from the big two, so that I could revel in the smugness factor of only buying creator-owned comics from smaller publishers (well, Buffy is sort of creator-owned), only for Marvel to ship New Avengers #48 late and bugger that all up. So, just imagine that New Avengers turned last week and we can luxuriate in snobbish pomposity from being so noble in my purchases.

Anna Mercury #5
This issue wraps up the the five-issue mini-series charting the adventures of the titular character, so-called ‘NewPulp Fiction’, mixing science fiction, pulp, and action with a strong woman who wears leather and has unfeasibly large hair. Everything comes to a satisfying conclusion but it doesn’t feel involving; it’s obviously the start of an ongoing series but the market can’t necessarily handle it. I think that the idea is a good one, and the art by Facundo Percio was a great find, but it didn’t capture me the way other Ellis creations.

The Boys #26
It’s strange how a different artist changes a book – John Higgins does the art instead of Darick Robertson this issue and it somehow alters the entire tone; it somehow causes the rest of the book to seem different. The art isn’t horrid by any means, but there are some pages that seem wrong such that it seems the story isn’t the same one we’ve been reading. The scene were Hughie and Annie (the superhero Starlight) are having sex outdoors didn’t feel real (the difference between Higgins’ buxom Annie and Robertson’s Annie, who is smaller, thinner, younger, doesn’t help), the scenes with G-Wiz seem even odder and the Butcher parts felt off. An uneven issue in comparison to previous.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21
Jane Espenson admitted in an interview that she finds writing comic books very difficult; I think she is write. Even though she was one of the original Buffy writers, and has been working on the new Battlestar Galactica, this comic book hasn’t got the balance between getting the information across to the reader and telling the story in a coherent fashion. It seems that clarity is lost for some admittedly good jokes and the hugeness of the scale of what happens in the book (in a reality show about Harmony, the annoying vampire last seen as Spike’s girlfriend, she kills and drinks the blood of a slayer – apparently this means that the world now sees the slayers as the bad guys: how does this work exactly?) is not actually conferred. A bit of a disappointment.

Doktor Sleepless #11
After last issues police procedural, this issue was a mix of two characters providing the readers with information in the form of a conversation and some action in the form of fighting between LO/C (the Chinese-British refugees who took up residence in Westside and took over the criminal activity in the area) and Grinders (who wear Doktor Sleepless masks). It’s not as involving as last issue, but infodumps can be a little tough. The most entertaining part of the book is the backmatter where Ellis talks about journalism/new media/the internet/metroblogging. It’s quite fascinating.

New Avengers #48
The ‘old’ New Avengers are forming again, taking up residence in Captain America’s home, offered by Bucky the new Captain America, but the reasoning for Wolverine, Spider-man, Luke Cage, Clint Barton, Bucky, the returned Spider-Woman and Mockingbird to be together seems very vague. The best bits of the book are when these Avengers go to the Fantastic Four to help them search for Luke and Jessica’s baby – the reaction of Sue when Jessica tells her is perfect – but the stuff in the bar full of SHIELD agents was annoying. And the last page reveal didn’t feel believable, which is a bit of pickle because it sets up the fulcrum of emotion for the book for the immediate future. Things aren’t helped by Tan’s art looking a little rushed in places, as if the monthly grind is having an effect on his otherwise enjoyably modern style. Mark under ‘could do better’.

No Hero #3
Do four double-page spreads of hallucinations help us feel that we believe that the character believes they are real? I’m not sure, but I do know that Juan Jose Ryp draws a detailed image, a younger Geoff Darrow perhaps. This issue, even with another killing of a supe, feels like nothing happens in it. Apart from learning about disgel and a little about a piece of history, the story is in a holding pattern, because we don’t see what happens to the process of becoming a super-powered individual with the aid of FX7. At least it looks amazing.

That was exhausting. It’s not the reason it took me two days to write, but I hope there are a few less comics next week. Especially from Warren Ellis: he should have a word with Avatar and get them to sort out their shipping schedule. Three in one week is not sensible.

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