Comic books, you say? Well, yes – after three film reviews, two television sitcoms and talking about an art exhibition I saw, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’d forgotten all about comic books. The last mention was talking about a comic book artist I like, and that hardly counts … I didn’t get the chance to pick up Usagi Yojimbo last week – it was only one book, which I knew was going to be (a) good and (b) held for me until I arrived, so I didn’t feel too bad – but the balance is struck by the fact that Killer of Demons #2 didn’t arrive (at least not at Gosh!). Onto the reviews.
The Boys #29
Ennis reaches the end of We Gotta Go Now, which could have been an issue or two shorter, but it ends with a bang, or rather a lot of bangs, as Robertson returns to draw many pages of ultraviolence. Robertson’s depiction of gore always seems so realistic, it sometimes seems strange that he draws superhero comics so well. And the justification for the violence is provided when we, and Voight-American, learn the truth about Godolkin and his G-Men. In a way, I was surprised by the reveal, thinking it a little obvious for Ennis, but he makes it believable and palpable, which is all part of his skill.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #24
Jim Kreuger and Cliff Richards come on board for an issue focussing on Faith and Giles. A breather episode is fine but I didn’t enjoy this. It starts from the cover: Jo Chen gives Faith a breast implant, which is a shame. The interior art by Richards vaguely resembles the characters but is inconsistent; I’m not even sure exactly how Faith defeated the monster at the end – did she bash it with the crossbow? How did that work? The story is quite flat and predictable, with no flashes of anything to make it memorable. I can’t recall anything I’ve read by Kreuger that has stuck with me, although I never read the Earth X stuff with Alex Ross, which apparently is what classifies him as a ‘top list’ writer, and this doesn’t dissuade me of that opinion.
Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #1
Grant Morrison gets accused of writing impenetrable comics, which is nonsense. However, I read this comic and I didn’t really understand what was going on. Not what was happening in the issue – Cameron Stewart’s thick-lined art is clear and expressive, but what the story was about. Personally, I blame Jog – his casual thoughts on the first series made me read the book looking for other meanings and it came up blank. Seaguy is an unhappy man who wants to be a hero in a suspiciously perfect world who just misses his dead friend, something people in power don’t like. And that’s all I got – my ability to see deeper meaning is obviously weak. Ah well, at least I liked the ‘visible thought precipitation’ of Prof. Silvan Niltoid. I shall look to Jog for understanding …
Usagi Yojimbo #119
The comic from last week is the best of this week. Stan Sakai started off this multi-part story with an air of menace and threat, but this issue felt more light-hearted in tone, even though our protagonists are attacked by zombies (I never thought I’d see samurai zombies in Usagi Yojimbo …). This is highlighted by the original cover design, which is included in the back, where the zombies are attacking Usagi, crying, ‘Brains!’, except for one crying, ‘Grains!*, the asterisk footnote stating he is a vegetarian zombie. There is an hilarious panel where Usagi chops the heads of three zombies in a row, and the sound FX is ‘Chop – Choppity – Chop’. Action, comedy, peril, resolution, enjoyment: Stan Sakai – don’t you ever change.