Sunday 11 January 2015

The Comics Ramble rings in the New Year

First comics of the year and I would love to say I started off with a bunch of the new titles that came out this week but... okay, Wolverines was good and we'll discuss that in a moment but Ant-Man and The Unbeatable Squirrel-Girl just failed to grab me at all.

Green Lantern #38
An issue like this has been a long time coming. The GL titles have been through Lights Out, Uprising and Godhead over the last year or so. It has been practically non-stop action and crossover and danger since Geoff Johns left the title (not that it was exactly sedate back then, but...) and I feel both we and Hal need a quiet one to reflect on things.

It's also good to see Venditti stretching his character-writing muscles on something more human than the usual, here the simple frustration of trying to have a quiet drink and your friends just won't leave you the hell alone!

So we get Hal on forced leave on Earth trying to drink quietly but first Guy and then Barry wander in and insist on telling him all the horrible things that have happened on Earth in his absence. I love how Hal just sits there as they talk on and on, downing his pint. And of course it ends in a bar fight. This would be a good issue in itself: a little action, a little character, a little philosophy and a look under the hood of a character who has been all-business for a long time.

Then Carol Ferris turns up and we get a moment of real development for the two characters: an actual adult conversation about their relationship and why it never seemed to work. The last time a conversation like this happened in Green Lantern on this subject I strongly suspect it was between Hal and Sinestro.

Though, good grief, do I wish we could have had a short back-up or something telling us what the night was like for Guy and Barry after they wander off arm in arm.

Wolverines #1
The question I have to ask myself is this: as good as this issue was, do I think its good enough to pick up on a weekly basis? Because as a monthly this more than passes the test: interesting sequel to an interesting mini-series, characters I like from multiple titles I used to read and enjoy before their too-soon cancellation.

But each and every week?

We've got Mystique, Lady Deathstrike, post-Axis good guy Sabretooth, Daken and X-23 plus some cyborg guys who don't so much interest me but seem interesting enough. They get into a tussle with the Wrecking Crew, which is an unusual match-up for an X-Men comic. Their employer was less surprising but since I bloody love that character I'll take it. Art's good, too, being mainly by Wolverine and the X-Men alumni Nick Bradshaw, though obviously as a weekly that's not going to be a constant.

We'll see in a week whether I've made a decision, I suppose.

X-Men #23
The all-girl X-Men get another new writer in the form of Ms.Marvel's G. Willow Wilson, a writer I've been meaning to sample more work from because that series is fantastic. Of course, there can be a world of distance between a writer's work on their own characters and with existing ones. For instance, I found an unassailable gulf of quality between Bill Willingham's Fables and his Robin run.

Too early really to tell whether this will quite live up to Ms. Marvel but it was very cool, nonetheless. This issue focusses on Storm and the next promises to be focussed on Psylocke. This is certainly an approach I can get behind, sucker for character focussed storytelling that I am.

As to the larger arc there's weird whether at a music festival in Utah where Gambit is trying to seduce women because he's Gambit. A sinkhole opens up and massive electrical storm hit so he calls Storm and her team. We get a lot of narration from Storm concerning the physics of the weather she's working with as well as some philosophy showing us how she views her actions. Interesting as that is Storm is one of the better explored X-Men so I'm looking forward to seeing what Wilson does with one of the characters with fewer miles on the clock like M or Omega Sentinel (who I don't remember if she's still on the team or not, now I think about it).

On the art side it must be said the issue is poorly served by the Dodsons' cover. I like the Dodsons but their smooth, curved style doesn't work at all with the jagged, slightly caricatured look Roland Boschi brings to the interiors.

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