The Unknown #1
A solid introductory offering here from Waid and Oosteerver, a.k.a. the Dutch artist whose name I can't spell. Doesn't feel TOO original, as it felt reminiscent to me in terms of our lead characters and milieu of the Nightside mini Weinberg and Derenick did for Marvel a little under a decade ago (as well as any number of other female detective stories), but Waid has enough personality differences and story tics here to make it not too derivative either. We get a whole lot of introduction here, primarily to our lead PI, Cat Allingham and her new muscle/Watson stand-in, former bouncer and "people-reader" Matt Doyle. We see Cat solve some brief mysteries showcasing her standing as "world's smartest person" and Doyle's "big bruiser with heart of gold and sad past" set-up, and then jump to the crux of the matter: Cat has 6 months to live (inoperable brain tumor) and is seeing a weird ghoul everywhere she goes (for those of you, like me, whose significant others force them to watch Grey's Anatomy, think Izzy from the current season, only her ghost is much creepier than Deny), now taking on a case which may answer the greatest mystery of all: what happens when we die?
It's a fairly straight-forward opening, and while I like the fact that it's a mini, I almost feel like that format is going to sight our two leads. Having to rush into Cat's genius makes her a tad unlikable (and unbelievable) early, while Doyle feels too stock. And there's little chemistry there yet (Waid did a MUCH better job with this back in the days of Ruse than he does here), with only 3 issues to change that. But Waid gives the two some flair, and again, there's still 3 issues to improve (how's that for half-empty AND half-full?). Meanwhile, the story happening around them seems like it will be very cool before it's over, and the art is a saving grace. I don't know where BOOM! found this guy, but he's pretty good. Didn't blow my doors off, but I liked it enough to continue with the mini.
The Unwritten #1
A VERY strong opening issue from Carey and Gross here, setting up conspiracy, mystery, a bewildered protagonist, bewildering help from odd sources, and a simple-yet-intriguing hook for a story that looks as if it will not get lost in the metatext. Tom Taylor is the now-reluctant son of Wilson Taylor (or is he?), world-famous and long-missing author of the Tommy Taylor series of books, a boy magician based loosely on Tom. Tom lives off his fame while loathing it at the same time, as his manager/agent reminds him that he was turned down to play himself in a movie. Until, questions arise as to whether he is who he says (and has always thought) he is. Suddenly, fans turn on him, characters from the books seem to come to life, and the only help he gets is from the one who started the madness in the first place. Mysterious people want him dead, he wants to know who he is, and locations and characters from myth and story are beginning to intrude somewhat on his "real" life.
It's a great first issue, with fine art from Gross and an enthralling story about magic and power and mystery, and about the magic and power and mystery of "story" at the same time. Looking forward to following this one as it rolls along; I really liked it.
Secret Six #9
DC's best cape book continues to impress, as Catman, Bane, and Ragdoll fill in for the missing caped crusader in Gotham in their own inimitable fashion. I foresee many Ragdoll nominations in "Moment of the Week" threads this week. Our "heroes" spend an evening foiling kidnappers, as Bane and Catman go back-and-forth on why they don't want to be Batman, and show why they couldn't be Batman, although it's pretty obvious that they would if they could, and Ragdoll provides the ultra-comic relief in a familiar short-shorts and pixie-boots combination. The night ends in an allowance/warning from a familiar guest-star, which provides more unique insight into the thoughts of these sometimes-good very bad men.
Scott's back on the art, and turns in her usual stunning work, and Gail provides the sick humor, sick violence, and thoughtful character study that this book excels at. Once again, without surprise, I LOVED it.