Comics I Bought 1 October 2009

Comics I Bought 1 October 2009

Time to catch up with another month of comic books from the past as if I only got them yesterday. It’s a little confusing, but bear with me.

Astro City: Astra Special #1
I really like the magazine cover design for this comic, but I don’t think it makes for a good comic book cover on the racks: it’s very busy, full of text and it subdues the central image. I’m conflicted. I still don’t like Brent Anderson’s style (his people dancing in the first few pages are just awful) but he is the Astro City artist, so I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the story, a classic case of superheroes seen from the perspective of the ordinary person: Astra, daughter of a member of the First Family and a member of the Monstro City royal family, has graduated from college and is celebrating with her closest friends, including her boyfriend. She meets with various members of her family and superhero friends, and we have a front seat for these glimpses of this world; it feels exactly what Astro City is supposed to be all about, and it’s such a relief after the seemingly never-ending Dark Age saga.

Herogasm #5
My opinion on Herogasm oscillates: on one hand, there are cheap jokes at the expense of superheroes and comic book awards; on the other hand, there is the sense of a writer moving pawns into place and telling a story through dialogue (the conversation in hotel bar), where even I don’t get the full sense of what is happening when the Homelander stops his speech at an important juncture when he sees who has popped his head round the door. I’m conflicted, as I said before. The art doesn’t help – the McCrea/Burns combination is serviceable and competent, but the style seems at odds with the sensibility Ennis is striving for (or maybe I just miss Darick Robertson).

Usagi Yojimbo #123
Now this is a great issue of a great comic book series. Usagi happens upon a swordsman killing some samurai, only to meet a former vassal of Lord Mifune (Usagi’s lord). The man is still trying to avenge the death of Mifune at the hands of Lord Hikiji after all this time, and believes it will happen now that Usagi has arrived. But Usagi is conflicted because he follows a different path and obeys his lord’s order not to commit seppuku after his death. This is a powerful story about the quest for revenge, and Stan Sakai conveys it with his usual skill and artistry.

X-Factor #49
This issue sees Peter David address the issue of Shatterstar and Rictor’s relationship, with Guido questioning Rictor’s sexuality and why he never mentioned it. It may seem a little obvious, but I think it’s quite a valid discussion for the characters, and David throws in some jokes along the way (‘Good idea. Save it for the miniseries.’) The issue is filled with conversations rather than action, as Cyclops and Dr Doom chat, and Layla and Jamie, making this feel like filler until issue 50. Admittedly, the material isn’t without value, but it still seems like padding. I still haven’t warmed to Valentine De Landro’s art, which can be inconsistent at time, so it doesn’t make for a completely satisfactory issue.

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