Friday, 22 January 2016

Comic book catch up - Digital

It's been a long hard month for me to start off 2016. My family's impending arrival has meant that putting together a nursery and getting all those sterilisers and travel systems has been my priority. Coupled with the fact that I recently started a new role at my work, meaning I am having to re-learn whole new procedures, it is fair to say that reading comics has not been my priority.

However, as February inches ever closer I've finally found a time to not only get to my local comic shop, but to actually get through my rather large (for me) backlog, some of which just happens to go all the way back to the November. So, with such a big list to read through, I figure I'd get started and talk about what I've read in January.

Starting with my digital series (because, you know, easier access), my first read of the month was the new instalment of my favourite series of 2015, Black Science which continued the five issue arc that was stated on the cover as lead Grant McKay continued to trek through the landscape of his own mind and memories, only this time joined by his late dad.

Now, while I was a bit worried after its hiatus with a forgettable #17, #19 builds on the greatness that 18 reminded me the series could be, causing me to be absolutely absorbed by the story. I think what really resonated for me though was how well written the father/son relationship was, with this issue breaking down Grant's failings and making him a better person.

Oh yeah, and lets not forget the art, which is still solidly beautiful and, in my opinion, is a style which the comic would be less without. I mean, seriously, if it wasn't Scalara's pulpy look on this book, then I might have given up on it some time back, good story or not.

With my wife due in a couple of months, this issue really made me think of my own impending fatherhood and what kind I want to be. In the end that's the best kind of comic, one which makes you think.

Next up I read Superman: American Alien #3 where writer Max Landis tells the story, with the help of new artist Joelle Jones, of young Clark Kent (though older than the last issue) as, after his plane crashes in the sea, he is mistaken for Bruce Wayne by a passing cruise ship which happens to carry a who's who of wealthy DC characters as the young Superman-to-be moves ever closer to becoming his iconic namesake.

Now, I've probably made this sound far grander than it maybe is but that doesn't change the fact that I found it a really good read, if not as good as the prior issues. The problems with this issue are down to how it opens up, as I thought Joelle Jones rather rough pencils really made this story somewhat jarring to get into.

However, once the initial turbulence (get it? Because the plane crashed.....Ok, moving on) wears off, I did actually find Jones's style to suit the very party, inebriated atmosphere of the setting, especially when Clark is drugged. I also liked that, once again, Landis focused the story more on Clark finding more about himself, with the only fight scene being used for comedy, as well as the characters lovely dynamic with a future villain. If there's one issue with the story for me it's that Sue Dibny appears but there was no Ralph!!

Before reading this I thought that I'd hate this issue due to the fact Bruce Wayne is mentioned, meaning his inclusion (Bats takes up too many books as it is). However, while, not the strongest, this was still another great issue and still the best Supes book on shelves, with only a slight Bat sighting (which I can live with).

So that brings me to my final digital book which wasn't just the last book I read but was also the first and that was The Legend of Wonder Woman which, as a digital-first title, means I got to read the first eleven issues (Which when printed, each issue will contain three 'digital' issues, so I'm into 'issue 4'), hence the backlog. This, kinda like Superman American Alien, tells the origin story of Princess Diana from birth to becoming Wonder Woman and slightly beyond.

And, just like Superman American Alien, this book is just pure gold and is quite possibly a far superior and faithful version of the character than what is seen in the character's book proper. I believe that Renae De Liz has written the quintessential version of Wonder Woman as feels more innocent but strong-willed, very much someone who wants peace but is ready for a fight (unlike New 52 WW). In fact I'd say this is spot on to Wonder Woman in my head, overtaking the characters look and feel from the Justice League cartoon.

Then there is Ray Dillon's art, which is so gloriously bright and vibrant that I think it only amplifies the feeling and tone the story tries to give. Even during some of the darkest moments amongst the series, the art just can't help but release the lightness, magic and wonder of the world it shows us.

Despite only having read about half the series, I'm convinced that this is essential reading for getting to know Wonder Woman and, as such, am equally sure that once it ends then the main book will struggle to be compared to this one, given what I know of it's darker, New 52 tone.

Beyond these three books nothing else has been read on my iPad besides a couple of indie comics,  Papercuts & Inkstains and Gutter Magic, but my thoughts on those can be found at Pipedream Comics. Suffice to say though, they are pretty good.

So, that's the digital books all read and given that I've written a lot I've decided to air my thoughts on the print books in another post.

So watch this space....

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