Friday 8 September 2017

Comic Reviews

This week, Brienne of Tarth gives evidence; two jerks head into space; the Ninth Doctor and Rose end up all at sea; the X-Men aren't as astonishing as they think they are; and, Riri Williams experiences future shock.

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Captain Phasma #1
The last time Marvel did one of these Journey To... series it wasn't what you'd call the most relevant comic they ever did. It was basically the story of how Poe Dameron's parents met. Okay, the details of The Force Awakens were super, super secret so what Marvel could do was rather limited and I didn't go into this thinking much had changed.

Effectively, this issue (and probably the whole arc) forms an extended epilogue to The Force Awakens as Captain Phasma narrates a not entirely frank account of how Starkiller Base came to meet its end. The dialogue is minimal, as suits the character, Marco Checchetto's art carries the bulk of the storytelling duties. If there's one thing that's clear from how the creators are treating the character its that they, and perhaps Disney's licensing department, view Phasma as being more the “new Darth Vader” than Kylo Ren is.

Frankly, I'm with them on that one.

This first issue doesn't shed any more light on Phasma's character than her appearances in the Poe Dameron ongoing have. She's still pretty much just a very efficient, very cold storm trooper in particularly cool armour. The writing captures her voice well and the art makes her look all kinds of badass in a way the film singularly failed to so I'm more than willing to pick up the next issue to see if things get more interesting.

Green Arrow #30
Hard-Travelling Hero part 5: Constellation of Fear

Its a reunion of the original Hard-Travelling Heroes! I was pleased as punch when some throwaway dialogue early in this arc referred back to the original Green Lantern/Green Arrow series because that's one of my favourite classic comics and here we get to see how the two Rebirth versions of the characters work together!

As it turns out they've mellowed towards one another and that's good because this issue the exact opposite of what the original Hard-Travelling Heroes was about: this is Ollie needing to get out into space, high above the people he's trying to save instead of convincing Hal to keep his feet on the ground and notice the little people. There's a lot of nice scenes where we get to see the two Greens be jers to one another in that way that people can be when they're totally comfortable with each other.

We drop in, briefly, on Star City and Dinah and Emi's ongoing investigation into whatever happened to the secretary Ollie is meant to have murdered. Honestly, I wish there was more to that plot because I like Dinah and Emi together and this brief scene is one of only a few rare snapshots we get of the two women being superheroes together.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Special one-shot
The Lost Dimension part 2

So, is it all starting to tie together yet? Well, no. This issue does exactly what it says on the cover. After the Alpha one-shot set up events all across the modern series continuity (and the Fifth Doctor era) this one hones in on the Ninth Doctor and Rose. It follows up briefly on the Jack and Tara subplot from Alpha but in the main this is a standalone that has Nine and Rose running into Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint on the high sees. Its exactly as fun as it sounds as a one-off, though at times it does feel more like a second prologue to the story.

Anyway, interestingly Vastra and Jenny already know the Doctor which opens up the comics to do so much more with the Paternoster Gang in the future. There's more distrust between Vastra and Nine than she had with Eleven and Twelve, though Nine just isn't as trustworthy as his successors (unless you're Rose). Now that the series has long abandoned Vastra and Jenny (and Strax) I'd love to see Titan revisit the characters in depth.

Especially as the comics seem a lot less shy about Jenny and Vastra making heart eyes at each other than the TV show was.

Astonishing X-Men #3
Life of X part 3

I'm starting to wonder about this different artist on every issue angle. Its a nice idea in theory but it doesn't seem to be contributing much to the overall experience. I can see how it could but even with most of the series so far taking place on the astral plane there hasn't been the sort of stretching of artistic muscles you'd assume would be going on.

This issue art comes courtesy of Ed McGuinness, an artist I really like. For the most part he's called on to draw Old Man Logan wandering through various scenarios built by the Shadow King to sucker him into believing its all real and putting him under the King's control. So far to good.

Its not that its badly drawn, its just there's nothing about the scenario that merges with McGuinness' art style to create the sort of amazing showcase that a series with a different artist on every issue should be offering. Nothing here is bad, its just that this was sold, as most series of Astonishing are, as a series os especial specialness.

And I'm not feeling it.

Generations: Iron Man and Ironheart one-shot

This one, I'm feeling. This issue has a whole list of pencillers, inkers and colourists that should make it unwieldy and confused but just adds to the experience as different artists hand in art that matches the different moods and sense of confusion Riri goes through in this issue, art gaining definition as she comes to understand what's going on around her. This issue also marks the first time one of the younger characters going through the Generations thing has been sent to the future, which I guess makes sense since the story being teased at the end of the issue is the return of Tony Stark.

Anyway, Riri is in the far-flung future we've been teased with a few times, the one where Tony Stark is the Sorcerer Supreme and those kid Avengers from that one cartoon turn up because that can't just be left to lie dead in the dust where it belongs. The two bond about futurism and its interesting to see because for the first time this is a pairing where both characters know each other. True, there's a gap of experience between the two because this Tony knows Riri far better than she knows him but no one is ignorant of the situation.

If nothing else this really makes me want to see more interaction between Riri and the real Tony Stark rather than the increasingly dodgy AI version. 

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