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Comics I Bought 22 October 2009

Trying to fit a five-week month into a week of writing was ambitious on my part – I’m glad there are only a few things to talk about for this week. Excuse me if it’s not as coherent as normal (ha!)

Ex Machina #46
Ex Machina is one of those comic books, like Fables, where I worry that I’m repeating myself when I talk about it: Vaughan is a good writer, Harris a good artist, I enjoy the story and the characters, and I think it’s really good. I like the mix of politics and action, and I’m enjoying the book as it reaches its conclusion, which I’m not sure will end happily for everyone involved.

Noir Vol 1
Anthologies: a mix of the good and the bad. I bought the book for the new Kane story by Paul Grist (I think Kane is brilliant, so any new material is a must) and the Criminal story by Brubaker and Phillips, and I wasn’t disappointed. There were some other nice parts to this black and white collection of noir-themed stories: I enjoyed the David Lapham story (I haven’t read any Stray Bullets for my sins), the art by Hugo Petrus reminded me of an early Adam Hughes, and the Rick Geary story. The other stories, which were not bad, I did not connect with as much, which left me with my usual anthology blues. However, the thing that annoyed me was the prose story in the book – this is a collection of comic book stories; if it’s the written word, then it should be in a short-story collection, not a comic book anthology. Do I sound like a grumpy old man?

Spider-Woman #2 (and belatedly Spider-Woman #1)
I didn’t buy the first issue of Spider-Woman, despite being a big fan of Bendis and Maleev’s run on Daredevil, because I incorrectly thought it was going to be $3.99 for all issues, instead of just the first issue – I’ve made a policy of not buying continuing series at that price unless it’s a ‘second feature’ book to justify the price. When I learned of my misconception, I bought the two issues at the same time, hence this explanation.

The other oddity to this issue is the fact that I had already read it in the ‘motion’ comic form. Personally, I don’t think the motion comic is the future of comic books because it’s neither one thing nor the other, but I did enjoy it and the voice work. Similarly, I liked this book; Bendis has his quirks but he has a great feel for noir books and I really like the concept for the book: Jessica Drew is now an Agent of SWORD, running down the remaining Skrulls (towards whom she feels quite a lot of anger and resentment). And I like Maleev’s art, moody and atmospheric and its photo-realistic feel. It’s early days for the book yet, but the first two issues have me sufficiently interested to continue reading the series, which I hope gets the chance because a superhero comic book starring a female lead is unfortunately not something that traditionally does well in the marketplace.

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