Iron: Or, The War After, Essential X-Men Volume 11, and The Shade
Hello there Internet people, it’s your good buddy, RU, here to plan his escape from the comic book fort. I continue to chronicle my escape though this videos so you, my faithful viewer, can learn from my mistakes and success. I am also limting this RUview to three trades in an effort to stop making videos that are so long, in hopes of attracting new viewers. Here’s hoping I don’t ramble more than normal. Finally, I am sorry for the poor editing in relation to the captions in my last video. That was embarrassing.
Here we go
Iron: Or, The War After – Iron is an original graphic novel published by Archaia (the same publisher that gave you Mouse Guard, so show some respect) written and illustrated by Shane-Michael Vidaurri. No, I never heard of him either, but the beauty of reading all of the previews Magazine every month is that sometimes new creators catch your eye and you take a chance, like I did with Vidaurri. And, let me say this, Iron is stunningly beautiful. The way in which Vidaurri uses watercolors (I am assuming) makes every page strikingly emotive while not being too busy. Based on that alone, I am very happy with my purchase. That being said, I doubt I’ll be in a huge rush to re-read the book. Whereas the art made me feel something, the writing left me wanting. At the end of the story, a murder/mystery set in a civil war told from three different angels, I was unclear on what I was supposed to care about, and why? I understood the civil war, but had no real opinion on a side. The murder, while tragic and sad, felt mundane towards the end (and that might have been the point, I don’t know) and apathy took over. Iron: Or, The War After is a beautiful book to look at, and that’s about it.
Essential X-Men Volume 11 - I’m not exactly sure of the demographics of the people who will watch this (I crack me up) but there used to be a time, in the not so distant past, when comic books sold 100s of thousands of copies each. NO, not just the gold foiled hologram-ed eXtreme #1s, but also everyday comics. The ones that didn’t kill some one off, bring some one back, or reach an issue number divisible by 25. If you want to know why comic books used to be a growth industry you only have to read Essential X-Men vol. 11. This collection wraps up Claremont’s 15 year run on X-Men and, no matter the back room reasons he left the x-books, he went out on top. I completely forgot how awesome X-Men (1991) #1 – 3 were, the new status quo (that lasted beyond the next big reboot) they set up, and the excitement that came from having to know what was going to happen next. Then there is the greatest Marvel crossover never to get its own collection, The Muir Island Saga. The Essential collections collect all parts of any crossover the book is going through, meaning that I was finally able to read the entire Muir Island Saga in the right order. Where is the Muir Island oversized hardcover?
I love the Essential format; 500+ pages for $20, what’s not to enjoy? Yea, sometimes I miss color, but then I look up how much it would have cost to buy those comics in a traditional trade book, and I realize its totally worth it.
The Shade – Anyone who’s been watching these for a while, or even went back and looked at some older footage, knows I love James Robinson’s Starman, just adore it. I’d go so far as to say its the bee’s knees, and when The Shade series was announced I had to force myself to wait for the over-sized hardcover it would surely get, if only so DC could make some money off those of us who want our books to match. What I got, instead, was this trade. The Sade should not be limited to a mere trade, at least not at first. Be that as it may, The Sade’s story did not disappoint, it was exactly what it should have been; a great story that is not required reading for Starman fans nor does under standing The Shade relay at all on having already read Starman. An epic accomplishment. The problem is, unlike Iron is the art, and really, its only bad for the first four issues, but that’s a full third of the story and leaves a bad taste in the reader’s mouth that, in my experience, permeates the book. The work of great artists like Darwyn Cooke and Jill Thompson are diminished by association, and that’s a damn shame. The Shade, some bad art not withstanding, is a fantastic book, I wish it was a bit larger and harder (shut up!) but I’ll take what I can get (NO REALLY, SHUT UP!). Again, you don’t’ need this book to enjoy Starman, and – more importantly – you do not need to read Starman to enjoy The Shade.
Well, that’s it for this time. I’ll try and be more consistant, but by now you know that doesn’t mean much.
Til then, later peeps.