Comics I Bought 14 January 2010

Another visit to the past, as I discuss the comic books I purchased in the second week of January. Still got four months of weekly hauls to go before I get up to date – it’s nice to have a goal to aim towards.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #31
The series has been in a bit of a malaise recently, and the book was dropping down my list of ‘must reads’; it didn’t help that Georges Jeanty’s ability to keep consistency to the likenesses of characters has been waning, thus making it tricky to work out who was who in some instances. This issue sees the return of Joss Whedon to writing the issue, rather than just his role as ‘showrunner’, and at least the dialogue is razor sharp again; this issue felt like a proper issue of Buffy again. The award for best scene (and dialogue and characterisation) goes to the scene where Buffy tells Xander she has some feelings for him, after seeing him with Dawn, and Xander tells her like it is – it’s absolutely perfect and feels so right, and I was laughing out loud again (Xander: ‘I’m a potential romantic interest! I’m on the list—right after being gay. I rate almost as good as trying to change your sexual orientation. You went—through gay—to me.’). A very enjoyable issue.

Strange #3
I still don’t care for Emma Rios’ style, but she is more than capable of handling the jump from normal to the surreal and a comedic twist that is required from Mark Waid’s well-constructed Dr Strange story. This involves a demon contacting Stephen about another demon who is breaking the rules of magic in order to gain as many souls as possible – a metaphor for modern bankers? – from the mothers of daughters in beauty pageants, a target ripe for mocking as well as sympathy. This is good stuff, but I still have the nagging feeling that it’s a holding pattern rather than a genuine new direction for Strange.

The Unwritten #9
The Unwritten continues to be one of those really good books that seem to fly under the radar – this issue manages to pack in the excitement of mercenaries coming to kill Tom Taylor, while he tries to escape from prison with Lizzie (who knows more than is going on) and ignore the magic that is going on around him (the appearance of Roland, Mingus the winged-cat from the books and his use of the magical doorknob). There is also real tragedy, which brings about another axis of the fictional/reality instability in this comic book, which is one of the main premises driving the story. All this and even a note about the real Roland of the story. Mike Carey and Peter Gross are doing a great job on a wonderful series.

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