"How can there be despair when everything we ever knew and ever loved is right here with us?"
(From Trees: Three Fates #2 written by Warren Ellis)
I seem to be reading a number of comics at the moment that have a strong philosophical bent. I love a bit of introspection and cosmic existentialism. Maybe it's an age thing, or maybe I just notice it a lot more theses days. Anyway, I'll come back to Trees:Three Fates from Image Comics.
There are a lot of good comics out this week. And by 'good', I mean outstanding. A number I had a hunch about before picking them up but there have been a couple of surprises. However, before I start on this weeks stack, I picked up a late copy of The Batman's Grave, written by Warren Ellis, pencils by Bryan Hitch, Inks Kevin Nowlan, colours Alex Sinclair, and letters by Richard Starkings.
I've not read a Batman comic in a number of years, not since dropping Scott Snyder's New 52 run after about 12 issues. I only picked this title up because of my love of Warren Ellis' other work.
This is is a great little comic. It is a character driven, exploration of Batman and his obsession with crime. There are a number of enticing scenes and Ellis seems to have a deep understanding of Bruce Wayne. The fact Batman puts himself inside the victim and not the criminal is a wonderful touch. It humanises him and creates empathy for the character.
The artwork is equally expressive, capturing the energy of Batman but at the same time keeping the action realistic. It reminds me of the early Legends of the Dark Knight series that began in 1989 as a reaction to the Tim Burton movie. The concentration on realism and character makes it much more fascinating to me than a lot of Superhero comics.
There is a review of the first issue on MonkeyFightingRobots here.. (not written by me).
Next up, and the first surprise of the week, is Dark Horse Comics new The Mask comic, I Pledge Allegiance to the Mask.
Surprisingly poignant, often funny, and definitely as violent as the original Mask comics, it's a blast from the past with a modern twist. I thought it would be a read and throw away comic but it's probably a keeper.
Patric Reynolds' artwork is as gritty as Christopher Cantwell's script. It's disturbing on a number of levels but strangely entertaining. I would recommend this to a number of people but if you're not a fan of the mindless violence scene, maybe give this a wide birth. If your knowledge of The Mask is solely based on the movies, this might come as a bit of a shock.
Quickly onto the next..the surefire hit that is X-Men # 1. If the creators don't sell this to you (Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu) then the fact that it's the dawn of a new mutant age should. Hickman has already made massive waves with his HoX/PoX 12 issue run so the start of the monthly tsunami of X-Titles must be something to, at the very least, be intrigued by.
And X-Men #1 is a great introduction to the new X-World order. It mostly revolves around Scott Summers and his place in the grand scheme of things, but you can see the ground being laid for future events. Knowing Hickman, his entire run is probably hinted at somewhere in this single issue, we'll just have to wait and see what the clever little tyke has planned.
There are many, many X-Men comics coming out, and to be honest I won't be reading them all. My bank account can't take the hit. However, I am looking forward to the Marauders which is out next week. I just love Kitty Pryde, and Gerry Duggan.
But mostly Kitty Pryde.
The final issue of Killer Groove can out from AfterShock Comics this week. It has been an amazing series. It has been nice just to read a bit of noir action that hasn't resorted to supernaturalism, or sci-fi shenanigans, not that I have a problem with that but I do like the occasional, pure thriller. Killer Groove has been that and more. The artwork by Eoin Marron is emotionally captivating and brings the characters to life is a real and engaging manner.
The ending is bitter sweet; smartly written with a satisfying finale. You can read my full review of the issue here, if you haven't managed to pick this title up, watch out for the trade.
Some comics I like to keep for myself, choosing not to review them because I don't want to think of them as 'work'. East of West is one such title and Trees is another. I mentioned Trees: Three Fates at the beginning and said I would come back to it.
This is me coming back to it.
I love it, go buy it. Together Warren Ellis and Jason Howard create comic book magic. And that's all I have to say on the matter.
Finally for this week, another surprise for me.
I feel a little confession is in order first, I'm not a fan of Kick Ass. The first mini-series was okay but I didn't really like the film. I found it problematic (I watched it last weekend again and didn't hate it as much, I just have a general disinterest in it now). I turned the second film off so can't comment on that, except to say I detested the beginning. I also gave up on the comics in pretty much the same manner, so I haven't read Kick Ass 2, the further adventure of Kick Ass, Kick Ass the Next Generation, Hit Girl: The Spin Off, and Hit Girl Keeps On Hitting..or what ever the titles are (some of those sound like they should be Tank Girl comics).
So, to get to the point, I only picked up Hit Girl #9 because I have always been a fan of Peter Milligan, ever since I first encountered his writing in Revolver Comics back in the early 1990's, and I adored Alison Sampson's Winnebago Graveyard.
To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed this comic. It has the quirky story that I associate with Milligan melded the horror inspired art style of Sampson. Somehow it work's to produce an enthralling, often disturbing, engaging comic that is suited to it's location. It manipulates the reader's expectations and makes you fell uncomfortable while reading it.
Yes, it has Hit Girl in it and, I suppose, it is a Hit Girl comic but it's not what I expected. It is so different in style and motivation to what I thought it would be, and so far removed from the Kick Ass comics I gave up. Hit Girl #9, India part 1, is a triumph and has me hooked.
Life long comic book reader, collector, and reviewer.