After all the effort to get up to date on collecting my thoughts on my weekly comic books, and then life got in the way so I’m back to playing catch-up. A huge haul of comics to get through for this week, so on with the show.
Batman and Robin #15
Frazer Irving draws a great Joker (and Grant Morrison has a lot of fun writing him) and a really good Damian, so this a good-looking comic book. Morrison is bringing everything together in his storyline about Dick Grayson and Damian, and the plans of Doctor Hurt (I really liked the full page shot of Batman and Robin bringing down the villain), so the final page is a really nice treat.
Chaos War #2
The return of a God Squad, with Hercules, Thor, Sersi, Venus and, erm, Galactus? The battle against the Chaos King continues, with things looking grim for our heroes, and we’re only on the second issue. Apart from the chat with Eternity and the occasional joke from Amadeus (who seems particularly out of place, with his hypermind not working for the sake of the plot), it’s a case of making the villain even more powerful and causing more problems, such as reawakening the dead. Khoi Pham’s art seems more appropriate this issue, even with the Chris Bachalo flourishes (like the lines on the nose in a side profile), but it still doesn’t feel like normal Hercules from Van Lente and Pak.
Ninety-nine issues and still going strong – an impressive achievement for a Vertigo ongoing series. I know that there are many people who think that Fables should have stopped after the end of the war in issue 75, but I’m not one of them. Bill Willingham is still producing quality stories – he has got all of folklore and fairy tales to work with – and I’m enjoying the machinations of the Dark Man (I like the nice touch that all the people he is using have a connection to Fables people), and it was rather fun seeing him chatting with the North Wind, who was announcing Frau Totenkinder’s challenge to a duel. The art from guest artist Inaki Miranda is really good, a slick style with good line in faces (I loved the Dark Man’s reaction to the challenge), and there is even a spooky full-page tribute to James Jean’s cover to issue 76. Another good issue.
Morning Glories #3
A prologue set in 1490, with the phrase ‘The hour of our release draws near’ playing an important part, adds to the mystery at the heart of Morning Glories. Casey is trying to discover what has happened to Jade after last issue, and needs a lesson from Ike in how to get what she wants (and drops a Peanuts reference in the process); meanwhile, Jade wakes up to find herself in a part of the school with people in padded rooms, where she meets a violent Spanish girl who dispatches the guards before writing ‘The hour of our release draws near’ on the wall in blood. This series is doing a nice job of setting up the mystery and keeping the narrative moving, just as long as it remembers to pull the trigger eventually and not go all X-Files on us.
Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards certainly pack a lot in each issue of Turf; luckily, there’s not quite as much writing in the first issue, but letterer John Workman is still given quite a workout. This has a lot of information exchange, as Eddie Falco learns about the aliens (via an unusual method), we learn about Pete O’Leary (in an old-fashioned comic strip style to contrast with the subject matter), and we learn about the nature of the vampires and the slightly different nature of Dragnomir. There is also planning and fighting and great artwork from Edwards, meaning that Turf is turning out to be a lot more enjoyable than I originally expected.
Vertigo Resurrected #1
It’s good to finally have this Warren Ellis-written Hellblazer story published after all this time, even if it has lost its power somewhat in the interim. It’s well written and well drawn (by Phil Jimenez), but it doesn’t really feel like a proper John Constantine tale. This long-lost story is bolstered by a selection of different short stories from different Vertigo anthologies throughout the years. There is an exquisitely drawn tale from Brian Bolland, a Brian Azzarello story drawn by Esad Ribic (someone who usually does covers), an odd thing from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely that doesn’t really work, the bizarre combination of Garth Ennis and Jim Lee that is four men talking in a car, as well as stories from Steven T Seagle & Tim Sale, Peter Milligan & Eduardo Risso, and a story written and drawn by Bill Willingham. A nice collection, if a little odd, but good as a historic document.
This is one of Peter David’s in-between issues, where not a lot actually happens. The book has two threads: Rictor and Rahne get the baby checked and there is a mystery involved, and someone called Ballistique (no, I’ve no idea) is freed from mind blocks by Monet. Not a great issue, but not total rubbish either; just a filler that will presumably have impact later down the line.