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comics read, 10/28/13

I've been reading quite a varied bunch of stuff the past few days.

Hawkeye Annual #1 – Fraction, Pulido
Man, I wanted and expected to like this. It's an entire issue of Kate On Her Own, with Pizza Dog! But I expected that an annual would be relatively self-contained, since there was only going to be one, you know, annually, and because it'd be longer.

Instead, I was completely confused when the comic finished, because I was clearly missing the second half of this story. I didn't even really understand the last couple of pages until I reread them – okay, Kate's settling in California (permanently? away from Clint? and what about the Young Avengers?), she's found a temporary housesitting job, she's attempting to get a sporting goods store clerk to sell her a boy for like a fourth of the cost by giving him an impassioned speech – it was all very confused. And unfinished. I'm told her story was supposed to be continued in an issue of Hawkeye immediately to follow, which then was delayed by a bunch of months, but I don't even care, because I still think an annual should stand alone.

Also, Javier Pulido's art really wasn't working for me here. Again, it's a tough job following David Aja, and possibly I will like Pulido better when he's doing his own thing (one hopes, since he's slated for She-Hulk in a few months), but I actually like his work even less here than his regular Hawkeye fill-in issues, possibly because we don't have Jordie Bellaire on colors to help unify his style with Aja's. Kate is just so weirdly cartoony, and his foci of interest in individual panels tend to get lost against the cluttered backgrounds (except when he silhouettes the characters, which is effective in separating them from the background but which I think he's over-reliant on).

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force – Williams, Bianchi
I know nothing about Fear Itself except that it happened and that it was somehow precipitated by a monster associated with Asgard, but what I see here suggests I might actually like it – this has nothing directly to do with the monster, but is very pleasingly apocalyptic.

More to the point, though, it had more Uncanny X-Force of the early Remender era, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed just seeing this team together again. I still don’t give a darn about Warren, but I really enjoyed Deadpool and Fantomex both alone and together, and Betsy was great. Even Wolverine was fun (not that I dislike Wolverine exactly, he just tends to have the same shtick all the time). I’m now even more looking forward to rereading the Remender run once that omnibus comes out next year.

All that, and there were even some amusing lines. Here are some panels that particularly amused me. Predictably, perhaps, they all have Fantomex in them.

[and another one]
(Possibly this is even funnier knowing that Fantomex's entire French persona is an affectation he puts on to amuse himself and annoy other people.)

Art was fine. It reminded me a lot of Esad Ribic’s interiors on the Deathlok Nation arc: high realism, shading from the pencils rather than the coloring, which tends to make everything feel a little gray. I think Ribic’s are more attractive, though; this isn’t an arc I would reread just for the art unless it had a lot more Fantomex in it.

Power Girl #1-6 - Palmiotti, Gray, Conner
Look at me, trying out DC! I tried this on recommendation from [personal profile] likeadeuce and possibly some other people. It was cute. The first arc, about Ultra-Humanite, I found pretty dull. I really enjoyed the second one, though, about the alien society girls going on an interstellar joyride. I found the general light-heartedness really appealing, that we didn't have to kill anybody at the end or even lock anybody up; it reminded me a lot of FF that way.

Kara's friendship with Atlee was also adorable, as promised. I could bear to read a lot more about those two. The art is generally cute, too, though Kara's bustiness combined with that particular truly awful costume feature is pretty unfortunate.

Probably did not single-handedly convince me to go looking for more DC, though. (Although, relatedly, I want to look up China Mieville's recent Dial H run, which is presumably the reason we didn't get a new novel from him this year. I am skeptical of his verbal pyrotechnics translating to a visual medium, but I'm interested to see him try.)

Chew #1 – Layman, Guillory
Another Image #1 available free on Comixology. The premise is that Tony Chu, police detective, secretly can tell a thing's history by eating it. Also, chicken is banned because of bird flu fears, resulting in a bustling black market. Run by black people wearing lots of bling, because of course it is.

I really enjoyed the basic quirkiness of the two premises, and the comic also has a sort of cheerful gore that amused me (which possibly says something bad, given how I felt about Locke & Key, but there are you). The art style is cartoony, but again, it fit the general quirkiness, and overall I enjoyed it.

On the other hand, somehow the issue involved Tony Chu, his partner, his superior, his brother, an FBI agent, several black marketeers and a black-market customer, a waiter, and an evil chef, and they were all men. I don't think there was a single female-spoken line. That is impressive, folks. The only assurance we have that women even exist in this universe is the fact that all the evil chef's victims were female. Again, of course they are.

So, I really enjoyed it, but was really unsatisfied by its lack of representation. The fact that our protagonist is apparently Chinese-American is great, but only goes so far.

I probably won't spend money to get more of this, but I might look it up at the library.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft and Locke and Key: Head Games – Hill, Rodriguez
I got these from the library on a whim, because I knew the series would be over soon and I sometimes like dark fantasy, but this series is not for me, unfortunately.

The premise is that after their father is murdered, three kids and their mom go to live at Keyhouse, which has been in the family for years. Turns out the youngest, Bode, has a general knack for the uncanny, which Keyhouse is overflowing with. Also turns out that there's a person locked in the well who was responsible for the kids' father's death.

The art is cutesy and cartoony in that way that I was afraid Rocket Girl would be, in contrast with the story, which is grimily dark with occasional punctuations of sheer weird (as in the main plot element of Head Games). Mostly I just can't deal with the violence and the blood in this; it's too cartoony and the worldbuilding not grounded enough to appeal to me as dark fantasy, but there's too much gore, shock value, and threat of violence to appeal to me as actual horror, which I prefer to be much more understated. This is actually how I recall feeling about the one or two of Joe Hill's short stories I've tried, so I guess our relationship is consistent that way.

Not to say this is necessarily a bad series, just really not for me.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 29th, 2013 02:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm confused about the Young Avengers thing too. I can only guess that Marvel isn't having everything take place at strictly the same time/rate or else everyone would be in multiple places at once.

it reminded me a lot of FF that way
This is possibly the best recommendation for anything to me right now, I love FF so much. I have heard really good things about PG (and Atlee) and I saw they were releasing a big re-collected edition of a bunch of her comics in February, which looks cool

ETA: I didn't realize Jordie Bellaire colored Hawkeye, man, she seems to be everywhere lately! She's a great colorist, too.

Edited at 2013-10-29 03:01 am (UTC)
Oct. 29th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC)
Well, on the other hand, as of the last issue I read, the Young Avengers plot is now explicitly away from NYC, so I guess we have to assume that it's happening after / in between the Hawkeye stuff?

Wow, for the money, that Power Girl collection looks like a really good deal.

Jordie Bellaire is the BEST. She did Sif's JiM and she's on Pretty Deadly, and she did Brian Wood's Mara which I've been meaning to look up, and basically she's involved in everything. I really love how she tends to choose a palette and color an entire issue with it, and I love the non-shaded solid color thing she does. I respond strongly to colors generally (maybe everyone does? it's not something I see talked about a lot), so her colors can make a huge difference to me. I have FEELINGS, yo.
Oct. 29th, 2013 05:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I'm confused about, the Young Avengers are kind of all over the place, aren't they?

It's definitely cheaper than buying the single issues, even on Comixology.

I knew she did a lot for Marvel and Image, but I didn't realize she'd colored for DC, too. I think the really great thing is how well her colors fit the pencils (and she colors for people with some really different styles!)--like they don't feel separate from the penciling/inking.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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