October 27, 2011

Yesterday Was Wednesday ... and that meant new comics!

So here's what interested me from the comic shelves yesterday . . .
Oooo, scary . . .
Surprised that Aquaman was on my list? You wouldn't be if you read my initial thoughts on DC Comics going back and starting over all their series. Aquaman is one of my favorite characters and I'm glad to see him get a bit of a new life.
But after reading the second chapter, does this look like this series can float? (Sorry . . .) The answer is yes. I enjoyed it. The threat that was briefly introduced last issue (to make room for introducing the main character) is front and center in this issue.
The one thing I'm waiting for, though, is a character arc. I'm not seeing where the character of Aquaman is going or growing yet. I just don't know what's at stake for the character. The plot of the story should reflect and push the growth of the character. That doesn't mean it won't happen, because this is a weakness of any serialized storytelling, as chapter builds on chapter.
The other problem I had? This was SHORT! Twenty pages for $2.99.
So I'm intrigued and interested and ready for chapter 3.
Oh, and look into the eyes of the creature on that cover . . . do you see it? Yes . . . it's issue #1's cover! Apparently, creatures from the Trench are reading DC's new 52 as well . . .
See that ring on his hand? I got one with my purchase of this book! Of course, the rings don't actually appear INSIDE the book. Guess they needed to put it on the cover for the promotion to make sense . . .
Last week was ALL Legion of Super-heroes. You can read my thoughts about it here. And when I picked them up last week, I thought those three series (yes, there are three series about these character: two ongoing, as part of DC Comics' New 52, and one mini-series crossover with Star Trek -- yes, I don't understand it either and after reading the first issue I still don't understand it, but it's there) were it. Well, turns out there's a fourth series -- a mini-series that will explore and explain the origins of the Legion of Super-heroes.
I'm hoping that it will explain everything I need to know to really be able to understand and follow the Legion of Super-heroes, but so far not so much. This story felt choppy and again, I can't help feeling that it has fallen prey to the "twenty pages of a longer story at a time" weakness.
But it does have some interesting elements -- the science fiction universe that is home to a legion of super-heroes premise is infecting me, I think.
Still, I feel that this one will be better if read as a whole story instead of chopped up into chapters.
I'm a casual fan of the Western and it's tropes. I've worked on a couple westerns in the past, and I read them occasionally, and enjoy a good Western movie. So All Star Western piqued my interest, but enough for me to buy it until I started hearing good things about it.
By then it was too late. The New 52 was sold out.
However, as I mentioned in an earlier post about the New 52, this month when each second issue arrives on shelves, reprints of the first issue are also being sold. Yesterday, All Star Western #2 came out . . . so I thought I'd give the first two issues a look.
First, these books were littered with references to modern day superheroes. It takes place in the 1800's, but the story itself focuses on bounty hunter Jonah Hex arriving in Gotham City to track down a serial killer. The mayor of Gotham City? Mayor Cobblepot (an ancestor of the Penguin). One of the city's wealthy elite? Alan Wayne. Issue 2 references a "Crime Bible", something I heard about in some mini-series or other a couple years ago. Hex's city slicker helper in Gotham? Amedeus Arkham, a psychologist (if not the founder of Arkham Asylum -- I don't know the Batman lore well enough -- than an ancestor of the founder).
It's a tense, gritty, violent book. Prostitutes are the killer's targets. Issue 2 features a bloody shoot out.
The art is highly stylized, though, and I don't find myself taking time to really absorb artwork unless it is really, really good, but here I did find myself looking at the bold line work.
It's a $3.99 book, unlike most of the other New 52 books. And it has a longer page count. Issue 1 was a longer first chapter, all Jonah Hex. Twenty-eight pages of story. Issue 2 had a twenty page Jonah Hex story continuing from issue 1, and an eight page El Diablo story.
El Diablo, also known as Lazarus Lane. (Any relation to Lois Lane? Can't help wondering.) It's an "Indian curse"/"zombie" story about Lane, who, when unconscious, has some sort of dark spirit that takes the physical form of a whip wielding Zorro clone? I don't understand, but since I'll probably be getting #3 to get the next chapter in Jonah Hex's story I may be finding out more.
Also this week:
Haven't read this yet, but it's a bunch (100 pages worth!) of short Jack Kirby stories from the beginning of his career. I love reading these kind of books. And I can't sing the praises of DC Comics Presents 100 Page Spectaculars enough!
And my kids LOVE the Smurf comics. More than the cartoons!
The movie, you ask? What movie? There's no Smurfs movie . . .
~ Ben

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