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Comics I Bought 14 June 2010

Back to the comics. In these posts, I try to catalogue my thoughts on the books I purchased in the weekly trip to the comic book shop. However, the normal routine was disrupted by moving offices, which meant that I wasn’t a 10-minute walk from Gosh! any more. Having settled into the new office, I discovered that it wasn’t as far away as I’d thought: a 10-minute walk to the tube and two stops to Tottenham Court Road station meant that I could resume my lunchtime visit to purchase the new books. Therefore, this is two weeks of comics, bought on a non-Thursday (the day we in the UK get our new comics delivered).

Serenity: Float Out
This was the only book that came out the week of 3 June 2010 that I wanted to buy. I’m a big fan of the Firefly television show and the Serenity film, and I’ve bought the two Serenity series, even though I didn’t think they were as good. Unfortunately, this is another book to add to that list. Written by Patton Oswalt and drawn by Patric Reynolds (and executive produced by Joss Whedon), it is about three former compadres of Wash remembering him after his untimely death in Serenity. In doing so, they each recall a tale of Wash; the thing is that it means there’s not enough Wash, even though it is about him. It is a sensible choice for a story but it doesn’t quite work. I think part of it is that Oswalt doesn’t quite capture the voice of the series, the unique parlance that was Firefly, the specific word choices that demonstrated the world, which is an important aspect. The art is functional the likenesses are all right but the work is nothing special. The only thing of note was the final page showing Zoe pregnant with Wash’s baby. Whedon – that move doesn’t compensate for unnecessarily killing off Wash. Just so you know.

And now to the books from the week of 14 June 2010.

Batman #700
I wouldn’t normally buy one of these special anniversary issues, but it was Grant Morrison doing a big story about Batman, and I’m enjoying his run at the moment. It is a fun story through time about the original Batman, the Dick Grayson Batman of the current time, the Damian Wayne Batman of the future, and even includes a bit of Batman Beyond (to which Morrison links in the third section of the story). The art from Frank Quitely is the best of the bunch – Tony Daniels is competent, Scott Kolins is a little rough, Andy Kubert is perfectly fine, and David Finch does a good job (I think he’ll be a good Batman artist). I enjoyed the story, but I didn’t enjoy the padding out to make this a $4.99 book: the pin-ups are OK, but not as bad as the filler that are the pages of Batcave detail and preview pages of Neal Adams’ Batman: Odyssey. This soured my enjoyment of what should be a joyous celebration of the eternal appeal of Batman.

Heroic Age: Prince of Power #2
Seeing Amadeus Cho fight Thor, mostly to prove that he (and not Thor) was Hercules’ best friend, is a lot of fun (‘You! Were! Not! Herc’s! Best! Friend! Say it! Say it!’). Thor’s reactions are priceless, too. It’s done while Vali Halfling, illegitimate son of Loki and all round nasty character, puts his plan into action to takeover the Olympus group. The mix of excitement, adventure, intrigue and fun is a hallmark of Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak’s Hercules, and they’ve still got it.

I’m enjoying this series after just the second issue, even if I don’t completely understand everything that is going on. Leonardo Da Vinci talks with our protagonist Leonid, there is the sense of history and a scale and the future, with beautiful art from Dustin Weaver and an expansive story and and excellent narrative from Jonathan Hickman. The set-up is really good; I just hope he pulls the trigger with equal skill.

The Unwritten #14
The Unwritten is so enjoyable that it’s frustrating: I want to know more about the story NOW. The fake Tommy Taylor novel, the historical London connections (‘They’ve got guns. We’ve got Paddington Bear.’), Lizzie Hexam’s connection to Dickens, the villains’ ability to detect Lizzie’s communication technique – it’s all too intriguing and I want to have all the details about this great story. More please, Carey and Gross.

Young Allies #1
I really liked Sean McKeever and Mike Norton’s Gravity mini-series, so I thought I’d try out this new series – it’s written by McKeever and features Gravity. This is a classic ‘forming the group’, as Gravity, Firestar, Arana, Bucky and Toro meet while dealing with the Bastards of Evil – ‘discarded and disavowed sons and daughters of supervillains’ (personally, I love the name for the group). David Baldeon provides pencils, and he is a good choice for a team of teens, with a manga-tinted style but with a strong clarity. It’s a good first issue, including additional pages at the end of the story that provide background information on the main characters. The characters are well defined and McKeever has a good way with dialogue. However, the special spark of magic wasn’t there for me – I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s nothing to do with the quality of the book.

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