Friday 10 March 2017

Comic Reviews

This week: a lot of praising with faint damnation.

Inhumans vs. X-Men #6

Without wishing to spoil, this was a perfectly fitting end to this era of the X-Men: loud, action packed and dull. To call the final solution a literal plot device is to be generous. I mean, the whole “Endangered Species AGAIN” angle was never a winner and I'm all in favour of it ending but it really did boil down in the end to the characters flipping a switch to shut down a storyline that never worked.

There are a few consequences, of course, and the usual teases but at the end of the day I'm interested in seeing what happens with the X-Men next now they aren't shackled to the crappy status quo of the last couple of years and my interest in the Inhumans has not increased one iota.

Detective Comics #952
League of Shadows part two: The Five Fingers of Death

The core Bat-titles just don't disappoint these days. After last issue introduced Lady Shiva as the ultimate killing machine she always deserved to be, this issue we get to see her in action and get an answer to one of those “Is that thing I remember still canon?” questions that was just going to hover over the arc until it got addressed.

Most of the issue is fight scene, firstly polishing off last issue's cliffhanger and then moving into the big confrontation with Shiva. There's definitely a growing emphasis this arc on Orphan, which I for one wholeheartedly approve of. The more action Cass gets in this series the happier I am, especially now that Steph is off the board for the time being.

Christian Duce slots in to art duties this issue with a much more rounded and fluid style than the series has had up until now. I personally like it, it gives a lot of grace to Shiva's movements but I imagine the transition between styles in the collected edition is going to be downright painful to some.

Mother Panic #4
Broken Things part 1

Am I just being an old man about these Young Animals series?

Mother Panic is definitely my favourite of the Young Animals imprint, mostly because it gets to the point. Now, there are a lot of mysteries set up surrounding what happened to Violet Page as a child and how it affects her, both physically and emotionally, as an adult but the whole plot isn't drowning in obscurity. Take her headquarters: after the dreamlike introduction of the first arc we're presented with it now in more concrete terms. There's also Violet herself, who we get to see another side to as she's interviewed on a late night talk show, peeling back another couple of layers.

This series isn't just oddity for oddity's sake, which has seemed a bit of a problem for Doom Patrol and Shade The Changing Girl.

But is this just because its familiar? The art style and even the way the credits are arranged on the page have a very 1990s feel. Don't get me wrong, in every aspect of writing and production this is definitely superior to the comics I grew up with but I can't deny there's a certain comfort zone feeling to reading this series.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5

I love the different flavour this series brings to Marvel's version of Star Wars. Okay, its a continuation of what was going on in Gillen's Darth Vader series but now Aphra is completely cut off from important canon characters who have to develop a certain way there's a lot more scope to explore the dirty side of the universe. Plus, Rogue One has come out now so the idea of Aphra isn't a million miles removed from the sort of characters we saw there.

I admit, I'm not that fussed about her relationship with her dad. It might be the whole hook of this first arc but I'm more interested in seeing which way Aphra and her band of merry bastards will jump in any given situation, especially the droids. Just imagining Triple Zero's dialogue in C-3PO's voice is a perverse pleasure all its own.

Jessica Jones #6

Well, someone's getting good at structure again. This has been a well-paced six issue arc, a nice little mystery with a satisfying conclusion that hasn't tried my patience at all. Issue 1 was big on in medias res and laying out a bunch of different plots that pretty much all came together here for a big finale. There's a bunch of other stuff to tie up, not least the status of Jessica's marriage, but those plots haven't been left to fester, they've all seen positive growth on an issue by issue basis.

Maybe its because this series and this character are Bendis' own baby that he pulls out the stops for it and avoids the kind of roadblocking filler that sometimes makes his ongoings a chore to read but it absolutely works and I hope this runs a damn long time. 

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