Some thoughts on comics I picked up this week:
Dynamo 5 #21
Jay Faerber, Mahmud A. Asrar, Yildiray Cinar, Ron Riley.
A fun in-between issue. It’s amazing how much actually happens, now that I think about it. The team takes on a group of thugs hopped up on super-steroids, Scrap goes on a date with a guy she met online, Visionary goes on a date with the younger Firebird (and of course, both of them being super-heroes…), Maddie investigates a series of disappearances, Myriad reveals a secret, and a new villain makes his appearance.
I particularly liked the banter between Bridget and her date about the importance of sentence structure and grammar in a prospective date.
On a related note, I’d like to recommend the 2004 one-shot Firebirds by Jay Faerber and Andres Ponce (there’s a preview on Faerber’s website). It tells the story of how a teenager discovers that her mother is actually a super-hero, and the mother discovers that her daughter has inherited her powers. It’s one of the few one-shots that I finished and thought, “Wow, I really wish that was the start of an ongoing series.” It’s nice that the characters have shown up in Noble Causes and Dynamo 5.
Detective Comics #853
Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert
“Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” Part 2 of 2
On first read I didn’t like this as much as I did the first half of the story — at least not as a story — though I did like the themes it presented. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve found myself comparing it to Alan Moore and Curt Swan’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” which this is obviously meant to evoke. It approaches the end of an iconic superhero from a completely different direction, though: While Moore told in detail the final adventure of a specific version of Superman, Gaiman instead tells in general terms the way every version of Batman would end: he goes down fighting, because that’s what Batman does. In some ways it reminded me a bit of the Planetary/Batman crossover, only taken more seriously.
I’ll have to dig out Part 1 and re-read the whole story at once.
Incidentally: Wholly appropriate for a Coraline ad to appear on the back cover.
Ignition City #2
Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani
Warren Ellis is really hit-or-miss for me. I absolutely loved Planetary, and usually enjoy his work when he’s doing out-there science fiction (Orbiter, Ocean, etc.) So the idea of writing about the breakdown of the retro-future, taking all the pulp space heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and showing what happens when they’re robbed of their reason for being, sounded fascinating. The meta-element of revisiting a (mostly) dead genre also reminded me of his Apparat book on aviation heroes, Quit City.
But the first issue seemed like little more than scatalogical humor and swearing.
I picked up the second issue. Partly because I had an idea what to expect, and partly because the story has actually gotten going, I enjoyed this one a lot more. It also made me rethink the first issue and realize that it was primarily scene-setting: set up the glory days, then show just how far these people have fallen. They’ve gone from winning interplanetary wars to drinking themselves to death and bragging about the contents of chamberpots.
Interesting to note: The other two books both gave the and artist(s) equal billing. This one is clearly all about Warren Ellis, whose name appears above the title in about twice the size type as Gianluca Pagliarani.