Greetings, Nerd Bastards readers, Jake here from The Hall of Comics – where heroes shop. I’m a bag and boarded professional. My passion (and business) is to read, write about and sell comics. In an alliance forged in the stars, The Hall of Comics will be dropping by Nerd Bastards weekly, to bring you the latest word and the weeks best pulls in comics. So sit back, grab a snack, and check out what latest comic titles you should be reading.
Last week’s column was nothing but Secret Wars titles. To make up for it being so one-sided, I’ve come up with a variety pack this week, but I’ve still gotta include one SW book and it’s a doozy. Old Man Logan is fantastic. It’s satisfying for several reasons. The story delivers exactly what we’d hope for from what is essentially a sequel to the popular story arc of the same name. However, at the same time it does a great job of weaving Logan’s story together with the larger scenario happening on Battleworld. And does it better than any of the other SW series we’ve seen so far. Brian Michael Bendis’s dialogue avoids too many Bendisian tropes – action and progression of the story outnumber any talking heads. I’ve always thought that Andrea Sorrentino’s art could almost be drawings done over photographs of people taken in high contrast. His accuracy and sharpness is well-matched to the story. But Marcelo Maiolo’s color choices are starkly limited, almost monochromatically coded from one scene to the next. I would’ve enjoyed seeing Sorrentino’s work finished with a little more realism rather than like a music video. In the end, though, other than the main title, this is the most satisfying book in the Secret Wars event so far.
Before Fight Club was a movie, it was a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. If there are any other instances of a well-known novelist writing a sequel to his most famous work as a comic book, I can’t think of any. The first issue of Fight Club 2 is spent showing us where “Sebastian”, Edward Norton’s narrator character, is at almost 10 years after the events of the film. Some things have changed, but much has remained the same, which is the book’s only real drawback. Palahniuk covers a lot of the same ground that fans of the film will already know, until we get to the twist at the end. The real challenge to this series, though, would be the ever-looming presence of such singular source material – how would a comic book compete with a movie of such pop culture status? Well, artist Cameron Stewart employs some clever layouts and compositions that partly mimic some of director David Finch’s editing techniques and partly remind us of movie tools in general, like montages. And rather than try to make the characters look like Norton and Brad Pitt, Stewart creates fresh faces for the characters, a decision I enjoyed more (although more than a creative choice, it was probably because Dark Horse didn’t have the rights to their likenesses.) The second issue will be the determining factor – is Fight Club 2 simply that, or is there a new story to be told?
Providence is an odd book, appropriately enough for one written by Alan Moore. Fans of Moore, HP Lovecraft, and creepy period pieces will want to check this out. It’s well done and beautifully written. But don’t expect to find any Cthulhu-like monsters or supernatural elements of any kind in it. It’s a very literary story about literary people. Journalist Robert Black is researching his next story, a couple of well-known books that may have driven readers to suicide. Black’s search takes him to an odd interview, meanwhile recent relationships haunt his thoughts. There’s an overlying feeling throughout that something terrifying will come to light, but never does. Moore appears to be taking us on a journey that will explore Black’s demons, but we’re not entirely sure yet what those are. Intriguing enough that I’m looking forward the second issue.
At the risk of you doubting my judgement altogether, I’m just going to say it: Captain Canuck is an excellent superhero comic book. I picked it up out of curiosity, keeping an open mind about what might appear to be a gag character, or at best, an obvious & thinly veiled rip off of Captain America. The character is not new – I remember seeing ads for the original series in Comics Scene magazine when I was growing up but knew nothing about him. Well, this newest iteration had me hooked by the end of the of the third page. Captain Canuck is a Jack Bauer type character, an agent for a “global crisis intervention agency” called Equilibrium. Right off the bat, we get plenty of action and heroics. But there’s a B-story involving the Captain’s brother who’s wrapped up with some high-powered, corporate shenanigans that’s just as interesting. I really liked the smart writing by Kalman Andrasofsky, who doubles on art chores. His details are crisp and clean without being sterile – it’s an open-faced, stylized approach that I happen to be partial to. If you’re into “capes & tights”, but have been turned off by the recent mega-crossover-event-tie-ins, pick this up. A solid book.
So here we are. The end of Convergence. If you’ve stayed with it for this long, you’ll almost certainly have to pay to see DC’s cards, but they’re not very good I’m afraid. I guess the finale might hold some satisfaction for those who are big fans of the New 52 Earth 2 characters, but beyond that the series seems to be a running-in-place exercise. The event appears to have no lasting repercussions. All the changes to DC’s status quo look like they’ll happen afterwards, in regular ongoing series. Perhaps a giant in the art department – a Perez or a Reis or even an Ordway – could have made this entertaining. But the art was sub par and the dialogue read like a cliché of what everyone who doesn’t read comic books thinks they all sound like. Did anyone really miss Deimos enough for DC to make him the big baddie? Were we supposed to empathize with Brainiac at the end? It wouldn’t irk me so much if it wasn’t for all the potential that this idea had, what it could’ve been.
Alright kiddies, that’s it for me this week. Tune in next week for another addition of “Meanwhile at The Hall of Comics”. Wanna know what else is out this week? Check out the full list of releases at The Hall of Comics NEW RELEASE page HERE.
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