After some tired rambling about politics and comic books, it’s time for some thoughts on specific comic books, as I return to talking about the weekly haul of books from the month of January this year.
The Boys #38
The origin of The Female by Ennis and Robertson – she was a Japanese girl who accidentally drank an unstable synthetic copy of Compound V as a baby (Ennis has the Japanese scientist talk with strange Englishisms, a rare error on his part) and kept as a guinea pig while they studied her to gain information about her blood. Eventually she escaped and was located by The Boys – at a time when they still had the elusive Mallory as part of the team (Robertson makes sure to draw him so we can’t see his face), and he is responsible for making sure that The Female is treated like a human being. It’s a small tale in the big picture, but it’s well told and necessary.
Doom Patrol #6
‘Things got weird. Weirder.’ This was the line used to describe the Grant Morrison Doom Patrol run, as we get a potted history of the team through the eyes of Larry Trainor aka Negative Man. It’s one of the problems with having a book that has been revamped so many times and had so many different interpretations – something that happens a lot at DC. Giffen and Clark do a good job, but it feels like a lot of effort for little reward (unless other people got more out of it than I did). The Metal Men Second Feature sees the return of Kevin Maguire to art duties, and it’s a joy to see his facial expressions, comedy timing and ability to cram vast amounts of detail beneath the mountains of dialogue, but the strip seems to have lost momentum and I’m not enjoying it as much as the earlier issues. This book is heading into category of possibly being dropped.
Nation X: X-Factor
Or ‘Why X-Factor Isn’t Part Of Utopia’. I can’t remember the last time there was a special issue to explain why a book wasn’t part of a crossover with the rest of the family of books, but the best person to actually make this work is Peter David. He uses the majority of the story to have fun with the members of X-Factor meeting old friends (and jokes, such as Longshot and Alison ‘Dazzler’ Blaire hooking up, the interaction of Shatterstar with old friends) and his usual witty banter. The only odd part is the introduction of Crone, Scribe of the Others – a slightly annoying character with inscrutable powers and a special book; an off-kilter addition to an otherwise enjoyable non-story.
Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth continue the high quality of the first issue by producing a great second issue – our heroine Dex gets some great dialogue, bantering with the doctor who is fixing her up after last issue, and we meet her friend in the police department, as well as the trouble with the police. The book is mostly conversations, so Southworth has to do a great job to make it visually interesting, and he does it well. This book is developing really well, and I hope it keeps up a regular schedule.