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Comics I Bought 8 October 2010

Writing about comics from this month – I am now topical. Not that this is my sole reason for doing this, I hasten to add; it’s just nice to be current for a change. I’ve been enjoying it for my Notes On A Film, so I shall enjoy it for comic books as well.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #37
The end is in sight, as the final storyline of Season Eight draws closer to its conclusion. The appeal for me is in the dialogue from Joss Whedon (although Scott Allie is included as responsible for the script) – the characters sound exactly as they should (I can hear the actors speaking the lines) and the interaction is a bit more zingy. I’m still not sure about the Seed and the new universe thing as the reasons behind everything, but Whedon is complicating things nicely for a typical happy/messy climax; also, unless I’m being optimistic, Georges Jeanty’s art is a little sharper this issue, which could be down to Andy Owens’ inks.

Chaos War #1
Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak’s run on Incredible Hercules has been a lot of fun, in the mix of entertaining superheroics and funny characterisation, so it’s nice to see them get the chance at the mini-crossover mini-series. However, based on the first issue, I don’t think that the combination of Hercules/Amadeus Cho and ‘gather the heroes to fight the threat’ works as well as the earlier comics. There is some good stuff in here, in the dialogue, the reaction of heroes when they believe that they have to rely on Herc, the interactions, Herc fighting the All-Fathers, but it seems to lose its sure footing when it comes to the getting the plot going regarding the battle against King Chaos. I don’t know if it’s the tonal shift between the two main elements of the book or if I can’t handle the difference in expectations of a Herc book, but it didn’t grab me as much as previous issues. It’s not helped by the art; I’m not sure if it’s Tom Palmer’s inks on Khoi Pham’s pencils, but the style is more diffuse and strangely rendered. We’ll see how things progress in the second issue.

Liberty Annual 2010
This book is a charity comic for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, so no negativity can be aimed at it; all the contributors gave their time for free and it benefits a good cause. There are lots of pin ups from the likes of Frank Miller, Skottie Young, Amanda Conner and Rob Liefeld (yeah, I know), and longer stories – a Conan story from Darick Robertson, a bizarre Boys story from Garth Ennis, and pages from Scott Morse, Don Simpson and Larry Marder. However, the best thing about the book is the Milk and Cheese story by Evan Dorkin; it’s hysterical, it’s incredibly violent and it ridicules the CBLDF and comic book fans. Apart from feeling good about buying it, this story alone is reason enough alone to buy the book.

Jonathan Hickman is working an interesting game with this series, with lots of intriguing elements, jumping back and forwards in time, setting up long-term plans and character interactions to have results down the line, as well as wonderfully bizarre notions such as the foetus god gestating in the sun and Leonardo Da Vinci becoming the first man in space in 1956. It’s a great read, it makes me want to come back for the next issue, it makes me want to read it again to see the connections – this is the sort of response I want to get from a comic book. The story is enhanced by exquisite art from Dustin Weaver, with different art styles for different time periods, great panel design, able to handle people talking but then having changing location to the surface of the sun. Really good stuff.

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