Friday, 19 May 2017

Comic Reviews

This week DC buttons down the hatches; the ghost of Donald Trump comes up against Judge Dredd; the teen team of my childhood returns; Luke Skywalker and Doctor Aphra get their party clothes on; and, Brian Michael Bendis slips a surprise into my pull list.

The Flash #22
Boy, am I starting to hate events. I knew before I opened this that it wasn't the end, that Doomsday Clock was coming and this was just another tease on the way to the big thing. Still, up until this issue The Button was actually quite a nice, self-contained little story that looked like it was going somewhere. I admit, I did hope that where it was going was restoring Jay Garrick, if not the whole JSA, to the main continuity. As it is, that didn't happen and the story I'd quite been enjoying for the last few weeks just sort of fizzled out. I had a lot of fun while it was running and I do think that it was worth my time, especially the Batman side, though I do question killing Thawne again in a issue running an add for his return in three issues time.

2000AD prog2031
After months and months of being behind, I'm finally caught up on the best British comics ever, so here we go...

I can't tell you how much I love the Sons of Booth storyline running in Judge Dredd right now. 2000AD has never had any chill to speak of and seeing them take on the Trump phenomena in their own bitter, cynical is just beautiful. Plus, you just know, this being Judge Dredd and all, that a fair number of them are going to get shot in the had by the end of the story. Its interesting to see the typical “directionless white male” story that always seems to feed in to these things presented as a bad thing. Oh, young Kelvin is sympathetic enough in his basic situation (when you basic situation is Mega-City One, its hard not to be) but as we see him falling hook, line and sinker for the Sons Of Booth propaganda vids its clear that he is also very, very stupid. Then there's the moment when he dares to have an idea and the Sons' boss encourages him but one of the minions declares they don't need no experts telling them what to do, its perfect.

Aside from that, Scarlet Traces: Cold War book two has a bit of a filler episode with lots of people running around in the middle of an air raid and Defoe continues to broaden its list of suspected necromancers. Cursed: The Fall Of Deadworld is probably my favourite feature aside from Dredd this issue, mainly because of the beautifully twisted art design by Dave Kendall who has so many ideas for zombie Judges. Plus, there's probably the best installment of Brink yet as Kurtis and Gibrani wander through darkened corridors in the depths of the unfinished space station jumping at every noise and shadow.

Green Lanterns #23
Last issue, I said I was looking forward to seeing Guy Gardner training Jessica. Funnily enough, that's not the part of the issue I ended up liking. See, Guy's approach to training Jessica is just to keep shouting at her, the archetypal drill US Army sergeant, and unless there turns out to be more to it than that then I think Sam Humphries just doesn't get Guy.

On the plus side, Kyle training Simon in creative thinking is great. It hones in on something that's less a flaw in Simon and more of a limit: he's a very straight forward thinker and in this Humphries absolutely has it right. There's also a subplot with Volthoom reading about the New Gods which... eh, I can't say I've cared much for the New Gods since the New 52. Like the multiverse, they're an idea DC keeps fiddling with, doing nothing with the new version and then rebooting all over again. I mean, the initial New 52 version of them gave us the Orion subplot in Wonder Woman and then they got another reboot in Multiversity which, far as I can tell, no one has done anything with at all so I'm not sure I much care at this point. It would be nice if DC had a great idea for them for Jack Kirby's centenniary but I sort of doubt it.

Generation X #1
This issue might be the most wrenching transition between cover art and interior art I have ever experienced. Its not that the interior art is bad, after a couple of pages I was really into it, but it is so very, very much unlike the cover its almost painful.

As to story, its our first real glimpse at the “normal” working of the new Xavier's and the traditional new student, Nathaniel Carver, takes a long wander through the halls for cameos galore (Broo! Pixie! Shark Girl!) and the traditional bad first impression of the place as the rest of the book's teenage cast have a brawl that knocks down a wall and covers a room in goose droppings. Nature Girl was a bit of a missed opportunity in the Wolverine The X-Men days and I'm glad she's part of a main cast now.

Then, for the old bastards like me, there's the return of Jubilee and Chamber, original GenXers turned young teachers. I'm glad to see that Jubilee retains both her vampirism and her single motherhood even if neither are played quite as comedic as they were in the Patsy Walker title. This is definitely a funny title, I mean Quentin Quire's in it, it can't help but be. That said, the cliffhanger harkens back to one of the biggest traumas of Jubilee's life so this looks like its going to be a real tone rollercoaster.

Star Wars #31
Jason Aaron has certainly improved his Aphra since Vader Down (or was it Rebel Jail, the last time he wrote her?). I was actually a little worried that the Aaron-written parts of this crossover would be the weak ones but he does a really good job here of matching Gillen's tone, including a downright classic Triple Zero put upon quip. In spite of the title on the cover, this remains more Aphra's story than Luke's and I can't say I exactly mind. More Aphra is always welcome and more Triple Zero even more so.

Powers #8
Creator-owned series and their haituses... I'd completely forgotten I was subscribed to this. Not an unpleasant surprise but it did cost me money.

Okay, for a start I flat out do not remember anything that was going on in this series before the hiatus. I'm pretty sure this is the beginning of a new story and that it is a flashback. I only started following Powers with the beginning of this particular series so the fact that Walker is in a costume is my only clue that this is the past. On the one hand, that's interesting, seeing the world of our of control super people that I'd only previously seen the aftermath of is good. On the other, well, its a transition I wasn't prepared for and spent most of the issue until someone called Walker by name absolutely befuddled by.

Still, its an entertaining read and hopefully its going somewhere interesting that affects the present, otherwise I might drop this and follow it as trades which is probably the better way to read a mystery series. 

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