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Comics I Bought 8 May 2009

Too many comics for self-indulgent preamble. Even Ignition City #2 arrived.

Astro City: The Dark Age Book 3 #1
It’s been over a year since the last Astro City book, which is a shame when it’s such a good book. Brent Anderson’s art, although a style I don’t like, suits the mood because it feels old, appropriate when this story is set in the 1980s. The Royal brothers are trying to locate the killer of their parents, killed when they were kids; this involves Royal going undercover in an organisation that provides supervillain henchmen, a nice conceit from Kurt Busiek. It’s nice to have Astro City back – I’ll be buying the individual issues as they come out, even though it will read better as a collection, because Busiek and Astro City warrant it.

The Boys #30
This issue is the pause in the story – Butcher and Wee Hughie have a chat, The Frenchman and The Female share a moment, Mother’s Milk fulfils a promise, Hughie and Annie reveal without revealing, and Butcher shows his bastardry in case we’d forgotten. Ennis can write these moments without them being sappy or pointless, and it’s a nice breather before the second half of the big story begins. Robertson provides some of his best art – he always worked well with the characterisation of his cast. I’m looking forward to the second half of Ennis’ look under the covers of his view of superhero comic book tropes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #25
The television series always had quieter and smaller moments, and they could also be rather dull affairs. The sub-plot about Dawn being turned into a giant and a centaur by a thricewise comes to a head when she is turned into a doll (although I didn’t recognise her until later in the story) and Buffy sets out to find her. Turns out that it was just a simple spell by Dawn’s boyfriend Kenny after she slept with his flatmate, and all she had to do was say sorry for it to end. Ho hum. There are some nice flashes of cultural humour (Buffy: ‘Who dresses like Wolverine for fun?’ Xander: ‘Certainly not me. Any proof you’ve seen to the contrary could easily have been Photoshopped, and, besides, I was drunk.’) and Georges Jeanty provides his strongest art for a while, but this series needs to get back on track and kick it up a notch.

Ignition City #2
Talking of kicking it up a notch, Ellis brings some sizzle to this second issue after the rather pedestrian first issue. Things happen, people interact, interesting ideas flow (the alien language, the harvest-moon songlock), the reasons behind the death start to emerge, history of the city and the people begin to emerge – this is the pace and impact the first issue should have had, especially in a limited series. I’ve never seen Deadwood, which is part of Ellis’ inspiration for this story, so I don’t know if there are supposed to be connections that I don’t recognise, but it could explain the unusual tone to the book – it has some Ellis touches but it is also distinctly different. Pagliarani’s art seems to be even uglier this issue but I don’t know if that’s deliberate to reflect the atmosphere Ellis wants; it still isn’t particularly pleasant to look at unfortunately.

Killer of Demons #3
The final issue of this excellent and enjoyable mini-series is just as good as the first two issues and provides a perfect continuation point for further mini-series. The end to this story involves a real change in status for the universe Yost has created, and the climax even throws in a Fight Club joke. This is funny and entertaining, but Yost just lets Wegener go to town on the hilarious over-the-top violence – his kinetic, visceral, sharp-lined art style is a delight, and makes the killing of demons so much fun, it’s almost criminal (if you’ll pardon the atrocious pun). This has been a great little series and I can’t wait for another series.

Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #2
This has to be the most quaintly charming and oddball book I’ve read in a while – El Macho, king of the Bulldressers of Los Huevos! Morrison can do such beautiful little stories when he wants to, and the duping of Seaguy by Doc Hero and the Disney-like corporation is one of those. To do this, he needs the gorgeous art of Cameron Stewart to evoke this dreamlike quality – his Carmen is absolutely beautiful, exactly the sort of vision to entrance a man in a fake world. His bull, El Monstro, is so adorable – dressing a bull in women’s clothing is not the sort of thing you expect to see in a comic book from DC. Utterly delightful.

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