Monday, 25 January 2016

Comic book catch up - Print

So, here's part two of my catch up on my slightly large comics to read pile. Unlike part 1 which focuses on the digital comics I'm reading, part 2 will focus on those print books I picked up. The reason I split it this way was simple enough, it made sense to focus on digital and then print.

Also, I had only just picked up my part comics, while the digital ones were available to me from day of release.

Nonetheless, they are here now and I am all read up, so I'll just dive in.

This time round, I started with Lazarus #21, which made sense to me because, a. It's the end of a story arc and, b. I've been waiting for this since the end of October (delays huh? Who'd have them?). I've got to admit though, if I'd known it would be this good I'd have left it until last. That is because this issue, which saw Forever and her team assault the focus of their mission while, simultaneously, her sister Johanna took control of the family to maintain its alliances, was so frenetic and action packed that it blew my mind.

Now I loved this series for the depth of the world that Greg Rucka and Michael Lark had created, but here was a perfect topper to place onto their perfect cake. I don't think I've ever cared so much about the fate of characters who are either the main lead and guaranteed not to die(though they could surprise us), or those who are rather despicable and shouldn't be rooted for. However, here Rucka has written both Forever and Johanna in such a way that you can't but help that they succeed.

And then there is Lark's art with Arcas' colours which, quite unsurprisingly, continue to excel and make the book look so dystopian but still so elegant (although I thought the opening couple of pages looked a bit rocky).

Now I have to wait until May for the follow up, which is such a hardship considering the absolute bombshell of a end this issue dropped on me. They say good things come to those that wait and, with that knowledge I'm happy because I don't doubt issue 22 will be phenomenal.

So, with that absolute greatness of reading behind me, I moved on to Daredevil #2, which my LCS continued to drop in my drawer for me and so, out of convenience, I obliged to pick up, despite my misgivings of the past issue. However, I've got to admit I was quite surprised with this instalment, which saw DD continue his battle against the church of tenfingers with the help of his new sidekick, whose side Blindspot is on remains to be seen.

I have to admit, the prospect of this title, with a new creative team had me concerned after Waid and Samnee's stellar run, a concern which wasn't helped by DD's costume being changed to reflect the netflix show. This was a book I had intended to drop as both a response to these changes and a protest to some of Marvel's recent decisions (and I mean the FF), something only made more certain by the first issue.

However, I'm glad I got lumbered with this second instalment as it reads so much better with the character seeming more like the hero I love. Soule keeps Matt's personality intact compared to past runs with his same inner strength, only now with a role which even I thought would be more fitting some years ago (my wife had to remind me of that). What's more, the introduction of an old foe adds to Soule's intention of bringing him back to a more noir tone, something I do like.

Also, Ron Garney's art, much like issue 1, feels very nourish but with a nice twist. I enjoy his use of watercolour style which is really enhanced by the limited colour palette.

There are still things I'm not bought on; the need to change to black and the lack of explanation behind how Daredevil's secret identity is back under wraps. However, while the previous creative team formed a masterpiece on this book, I think I was too harsh to judge this volume against the past ones and, despite some flaws, it is a good read deserving of my second chance.

So, that then left me to my last comic and what a comic to end on. Where is Jake Ellis? #5 has been MIA for so long I'm pretty sure I was single when it was first solicited (and that was some time back). However, after a VERY long delay, I finally got my hands on the finale which saw Jon and his ghostly partner face off against their deadly captures and enemies in a last face off to bring them down.

This final issue was a beautifully fast paced book, with the action and excitement and, as I seem to recall, the art is the star of the show, really using the unique style to its advantage, especially during one double page spread.

Unfortunately, the problems I saw with this book extend from the lengthy break between issues as, with no recap page, I couldn't remember what had happened previously which meant I couldn't get engrossed in the story as quickly as I'd like. Also, and this might be the cynic in me, but the ending didn't like the end of a story, but a nice placeholder until the next instalment begins. Now, more story is no bad thing but, after the length of time it took for this series to finish, I'd much rather it just ended now instead of making wait another five(?) years.

Regardless of where it goes on to from here, for now the run is finished and, while it might not have been worth the wait it out us through, I'm certainly glad it's over and don't think it was a wasted read.

And so, that's my comic book catch up over, although it's a shame it didn't last longer (it should have done, but Black Magick #2 was not in stock, though 3 was. Oh well, maybe next time). To be honest, I was surprised that I read so many good books, expecting a few duds.

However, I've decided to mention my favourite each month and this month I'd have to say it was a close one, but Black Science #19 beat out Lazarus #21 by a nose.

So, that's it! I'm done. Time to get on with some work, I have a four issue series to review for Pipedream Comics.

But first....Batman: Arkham Knight!!!!!

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