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Comics I Bought 14 May 2009

The equal opportunity part of me feels slightly bad for only buying comics from the big two this week – last week’s haul was two-thirds independent publishers, and no Marvel – but I assuage my guilt slightly with the purchase of a first issue of a Vertigo comic, even though it was only a dollar. I overthink my comic book purchases, don’t I?

Captain Britain and MI:13 #13
I’m glad to be buying this in monthly format because it (a) it’s great and (b) it isn’t selling nearly enough for such a good comic. This issue is a corker because it gets to the ‘lowest moment’ section of the story: this is the point when the bad guys have done their worse and the good guys look like they don’t have a hope of winning. It is an expected part of the narrative but Cornell sells it absolutely perfectly: Dracula’s plan and execution are flawless, heroes from outside Britain can’t get in, our heroes fight back but are useless against the onslaught. Cornell even kills off the members of the Houses of Parliament, the wish of all British anarchists. I don’t know how he plans to turn everything around in the next issue, based on how this one ends, but I can’t wait to find out.

Fables #84
Ah, Jack. How much do you annoy me? Let me count the ways … The crossover continues as Jack takes over Fables for an issue and ruins the tone – blustering, shouting, being smug and incredibly punchable. The way the plot just allows him to walk into the Farm and take over running things was just annoying, and a little clichéd, which is not something I’ve come to expect from Fables. I like the fact that Jack knows he is being read – I loved the idea with Ambush Bug, Deadpool, She-Hulk – but, unlike those characters, Jack is insufferable prick and that really gets in the way of enjoying the book. It doesn’t help that Akins’ art doesn’t get the Fables’ characters quite right; they look slightly off, which is bad timing because it’s the only part of the story that is interesting.

X-Factor #43
Peter David keeps the fun coming in X-Factor; the unpredictability, the humour (‘Sorry, that wasn’t very “noir.” The whole hugging thing.’), the character development, left to his own devices in his little corner of the X-universe, is a delight. Also, the build-up and the kiss itself is really quite moving, which makes me sound really sad but I don’t care. It is also an advert for buying a book in the monthly format – the ending to this issue is completely out of left-field. I’m really enjoying this book on a consistent basis, so much so that I almost don’t care about the use of two artists.

The Unwritten #1
A 40-page story, which sets up a long-term narrative but also tells a complete and satisfying tale in its own right, all for a dollar? Why doesn’t everybody do ongoing series like this? Mike Carey and Peter Gross have created a good book with a strong central premise and great potential for future stories: Tom Taylor is the son of an author who has created the most popular series fantasy books, about a boy wizard called Tommy Taylor who was based on Tom. He now lives on the convention circuit because his father, Wilson, has disappeared and left all the money in trusts he cannot access. Tommy is bitter and angry but things get worse when it seems he may not actually be Wilson’s son. And things get more complicated when reality and fantasy seem to merge … Carey and Gross pack a lot into this first issue, setting up the situation, telling the story, developing their characters and giving us humour and adventure along the way. This series has got legs and I look forward to seeing it get its chance.

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