Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Catching up on the comic books he's missed.

Finally!!! After missing the last few weeks worth of releases due to other things like the Bristol comic expo and just general real life, I finally picked up an astonishing (well for me anyway) nine books that had been waiting for me at my local comic book shop. Amongst these books included two new limited series with the remainder being great series, which meant I was more than a little excited to get through my stash. And now, having finally gotten through them all, I can say that, overall it's been a great catch up, although a couple of new books did let the side down.
A whole three weeks worth of comics

So, where to begin? Well, that's easy when looking at all that I had to go through and so I began with Demon Knights #20, which saw our medieval heroes finish up the adventures on Amazon Island and begin their (possibly final adventure) and chase this series' most elusive prize; the holy grail. Now, I don't know the reason why this series is being cancelled but based on what Robert Venditti has brought to the table, it's the wrong decision. Though this issue is a calm before the storm kind of issue, I thought it to still be engrossing, exciting with plenty of
humour (Vandal Savage with a Particular book is inspired). And with the art Chad Hardin, taking over for Bernard Chang, has stepped up beautifully, delivering fantastic art that I can't stop looking at. If the last three issues are anything like this, Demon Knights will end on a high.

Demon Knights #20 and Think Tank #7
And so, I moved on to Think Tank #7 of which, after struggling on the last two issues of this series, I was a bit apprehensive about. But how wrong was I? Despite a bit of confusing start that had a little bit too much exposition, this issue then just snapped into place and became so entertaining as David Loren continued to undermined his handlers/captures within the think tank and outing the dangerous weapons he created, but ended with a twist that, while expected, still shocked me. Meanwhile, the art on this title is still top notch and continues to enhance the book. Therefore, this was the issue that gave my faith back in the book after two stumbling issues. Looking forward to the arc's conclusion now.

So, with two ongoings read, I thought I'd take a chance on the new titles,starting with Dream Thief #1 from Jay Nitz and Greg Smallwood, which told the story of John Lincoln who, after a night of drink and drugs at a museum with a friend starts waking up in a aborigine mask surrounded by a dead body or two. Unfortunately, this book failed to speak to me and I found it a little bit unenjoyable. The worst part of reading this was that there was no reason to dislike this book as the story seemed tight and intriguing and the art was good. In the end, I guess this title just didn't appeal to me, which means it won't be back with me next month.

Dream Merchant and Dream Thief - both #1's
Hopefully though the second new title, The Dream Merchant #1, would fair a little better as its creative team included one of my favorite writers, Nathan Edmondson, along with artist Konstantin Novosadov, whose work is new to me. Unfortunately, I was two for two with new titles this month as Dream Merchant was yet another title I was never to get into. However, unlike Dream Thief, I couldn't get into Dream Merchant not because it failed to interest me, but because I just couldn't understand it. All I know it had something to do with a guy who can't tell the difference between being asleep and awake but it was a struggle to follow and not even the unusual art by Novosadov could keep me enthralled. So, at the end of the day, I doubt I'll be back for this book, no matter how much I wish for the opposite.

However, there was no overall downside to Edmondson's work (thankfully) as The Activity #13 was read next, and showed a great continuation of its ongoing story after the last issue's bump in the road. It was here that I got to see the outcome of Speakeasy's story after having been taken away in issue 11, while the rest of the team take part in a rescue op of a comrade in arms. This issue, for me, was a return to what I loved about this series, helped greatly by Mitch Gerads return, who gave cover to cover clear images to follow, which actually seem better than they were before. The story was, again pitch perfect as the overall "leak" story flowed seamlessly around the immediate rescue story. Although, the "leak" appears to have been dealt with, I find myself looking forward to what Edmondson and Gerards bring to the table in the next issue. Here's hoping I don't wait as long though.
The Massive #12 and The Activity #13
And so, with my equilibrium restored I moved on to what could definitely be the best book I read as Daredevil #26, finally, brought about the big reveal of the main villain that has brought about hell on Matt Murdock since back when the series began. This issue was a real joy as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have taken the series initial premise of making DD carefree and blown it out of the water, bringing about a full on emotional breakdown as the man without fear becomes very afraid and then adding a back-up story that, while not essential, I found absolutely beautiful and well worth the added expense. Now though, I have many questions about how this big villain managed to do all the things he did, but hopefully Waid will bring that up in issues to come and that is why I'll be back next time.
Still the best I get - Daredevil #26
So what next? Well, with three books left and two of those being symbiotic, I decided to face the inevitable and read The Massive #12, which had really been starting to wane in terms of my interest in it. However, what an issue this was, as the crew of the Kapital ran aground in the arctic and faced death at the hands of the environment, Callum continued his Ahab-like mission to find the Massive alone, and on foot. Brian Wood seems to have written this issue to be not only a year anniversary, but also to mark a huge change in the books status quo because, as I read it, I just felt like a corner had been turned. Although I'm curious about what exactly Callum found (a big shadowed shape, not exactly an answer), I feel like The Massive is about to go through a transformation into a book that's about to face a complete overhaul, tempting me to come back for a little bit longer.

Then finally we reached Fantastic Four #8 and FF #7, which I can only ever read back to back. With Fantastic Four #8, Fraction and Bagley followed on from the previous issue by taking the currently human Ben Grimm back to previous day Yancy Street to right a wrong, but instead gets caught up in a shakedown by the predecessors of the Yancy Street Gang. Now I liked this issue as I do any issue that focuses on the Thing's roots, but sadly I still can't shake comparing to the previous run by Hickman. There is nothing wrong with this book as both the writing and art are solid (though a bit less of using the word "dummy" would be cool) but, at the end of the day, this book just doesn't have the same epic feel, instead the feel it gives me is an old 60's serial where there is no overlying story. But like I said, there is nothing wrong with the book and the tease at the end will certainly get me back for the next issue.

However, FF #8 does not  give me the same impression, it gives me a better one. Fraction and the Allreds finish up the last issues story with the kids (and adults) of the Future Foundation take on the Wizard, who's kidnapped Bentley, mind-controlled Medusa (though this is the first I've heard of it) and allied with Blastaar (this guy is getting a lot of coverage right now) to, well, just cause trouble. Unlike it's sister book, which is meant to be just an enjoyable tale, this book is more laugh out loud fun, and it continues to be so here. The main draws for me are, the art (yes I'm loving this art) and the characters, who are written so well. This book is indeed the superior FF title and with a cross-over scene with the other book that was just wow, and hints at character developments that I thought was amazing, I'm more than looking forward to the next issue.

Phew, so that was everything. In future I'm gonna have to make sure I don't leave it so long between pick ups. However, overall, this was a great haul to retrieve with most (though true, not all) of what I read being absolutely incredible books. However, I'd still prefer little and often to much and rare.

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