RU finally starts reading himself to freedom:
Fairest vol. 1: Wide Awake, Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi vol. 1: Force Storm, The New Deadwardians, The Sixth Gun vol. 4: A Town Called Penance, DEMO, and Elephantmen vol. 1: Wounded Animals
Hello there, Internet people, its your good buddy RU here to take you along as he reads his way through this TPB/HC fort. As you all should know, I have had to severely limit the number of trades I purchase due to the fact that I have a whole forest of unread trades up on my shelves. Well, I’ve hit a good grove and have, finally, started to make a dent in this project. So, here we go. I’m going to go from most disappointing to most awesome, so you all have something to look forward to.
Fairest vol. 1: Wide Awake – What a boring, pointless, mundane waste of time this was. Seven issues, two stories, and only one semi-interesting tale. The one bright spot in this book is that it is filling in some back-story, the downside to that is that it took 6 issues of nothing happening to get the one fact from the first storyline that made one panel in Fables make sense (the secret behind Briar Rose’s car). Not worth it. The internet loves to rag on Bendis for having issues where all anyone does is talk, if you are one of those people – skip issues 1-6 of Fairest, that’s all that is here. That being said, the cover to Fairest #3 is beyond beautiful, and if it wouldn’t make me out to be some weirdo, I’d turn it into a poster. On the plus side, issue #7 was fantastic. A tale of Beast told set in the noir 1920s that sheds (ha!) some light on Beauty’s past. Wonderful issue that would have made a great stand alone book in the main Fables book, but as it is now, 1 out of 7 is not enough for me to pick up volume 2 unless I hear great things.
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi vol. 1: Force Storm – What the bloody Hell is going on in this book? For a series that was advertized as a book that would tell the tale of the beginning of the Jedi order it sure did seem to start in the middle of a story; a five issue miniseries that did more to muddy the waters of Jedi history than it did to clear anything up. This was supposed to be before the Force, before Jedi (or Je’Daii as they are so cleverly called here), and before light and dark sides. Instead what we got was all of these things with no explanation of where they came from or what motivates the characters. I would have been better off not reading this origin story and letting the Jedi’s beginnings remain legend. That being what it is, this is John Ostrander and Legacy rocked, so I’ll take a look at volume 2 when it comes out, no guarantee that I will buy it.
The New Deadwardians – As I stated in a previous episode, The New Deadwardians was the only new Vertigo book to come out in the new wave of titles that included Saucer County, Fairest, and Voodoo Child (two of which sucked so bad I tossed them across the basement and then gave them away.) Dan Abnett, of Abnett and Lanning fame, writes a period zombie / vampire murder mystery that is free from all the trappings the genres’ new found popularity has created. This is not a violently gory book; there are no random pointless deaths that only exist to shock the reader. No, this is a simple murder mystery set in a world where no one should be able to be killed. The over-all tale isn’t about who did it, but how. Behind all of that is the main character whose feelings of ennui due to immortality are fully explored and explained in such a way that actually makes the reader feel sad for him, and joy when he finds that he does still have the capability to have a life. You don’t need to read this book, but you should want to.
The Sixth Gun vol. 4: A Town Called Penance – Ok, I try not to keep highlighting one book trade show after trade show, but The Sixth Gun is just too damn good to ignore. Volume four is the best of the bunch so far, and that is saying a lot. I could go on and on and repeat myself again about how good this series is, but instead I want to talk about one specific issue in this collection; #21. At the end of issue #20 an event happens that leaves one of our main characters temporarily deaf, and with #21 from their perspective, it is a “silent” issue. Do not confuse this with Marvel’s ‘Nuff Said month from (holy crap!) 2001, this is not a gimmick or a test. This silent issue ranks up there with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #21 (Marvel, 1984) as an example of how to tell an illustrated story with no words, simply beautiful. Why aren’t you reading The Sixth Gun? Are you so set in your ways that you ignore awesome?
DEMO – Brain Wood has yet to disappoint me, and this collaboration with Becky Cloonan is no exception. DEMO is a black and white series of 12 comics that tell stand alone stories about being young, confused, sad, happy, confident, and scared. Some of the kids have super powers, and some don’t, but they are all real. From both joy and sadness there were many times DEMO almost made me cry because I could see myself somewhere in every single issue. I do wish I had read this in my 20s, but that is not necessary as the book is universal enough to make even fuddy duddies remember what it was like to be young.
Although I am not one to talk about art all that much, I have to talk about Becky Cloonan’s style for a minute. Throughout DEMO, Cloonan showed a remarkable ability to change her style to fit the tale, while keeping it unmistakably her own. There were times I saw Frank Miller in there, then a touch of manga, anime, and finally simple black and white shading that added more emotion to chapter 4 than any of the scripted words were able to. By the end of b I began to think that Cloonan could have been a substitute artist on Scalped, My Little Pony, or even I Kill Giants and she would not have been out of place. As someone who can’t even color inside the lines, Cloonan is impressive beyond belief.
Elephantmen vol. 1: Wounded Animals – We’ve all been there, you see something at the comic book shop that always looks interesting but there is that other book that is more important you just have to get, so you keep waiting and waiting until either you forget about it or bite the bullet in a manic spending spree that pisses your wife off. Elephantmen was that book for me, and let me tell you – it was totally worth getting yelled at for buying at full price. Set in a dystopian future desolated by war, Elephantmen tell the story of genetically engineered giant upright animals whose sole purpose for being was raging war. Now that the war is over, and the Elephantmen are “free” what do they do with themselves, can they live with each other when some of them are natural enemies, where/how/why were they created. Volume 1 starts to answer these questions, and I hope future volumes are more structured than this one was, but even that has the appearance of a plan. I loved this book and took it all in as fast as I could. The story by Richard Starkings and art by Moriat (with guest appearances by superstars such as Joe Kelly, Chrish Bachalo, Brian Bolland, J. Scott Campbell, and David Hine) is breathtaking in its simplicity and depth.
I know I say this all the time, but with books like Elephantmen , DEMO, and The Sixth Gun out there, you really have no excuse to feel that there are “no good comics.” Stop being a lazy hater and go find the good ones, and stop wasting your time and money on superhero books if you hate them so much.
Damn, that took a while, and that’s not even all the trades I read in the past two weeks. Until next Time, later peeps.