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comics read, 11/24/13

Somehow I never manage to make one of these reports after reading only one or two things. :p

NEXTwave #1-12 – Ellis, Immonen
This is the "Marvel makes fun of itself" comic everyone talks about, in which Monica Rambeau, Elsa Bloodstone, Aaron Stack, Boom-Boom, and Ellis's new character The Captain fight a terrorism group while dodging the supposedly anti-terrorism group HATE and its fearless leader Dirk Anger. No, really.

I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I like all our ladies, most especially Monica (who's been stealing the show in everything I've read her in recently), and I adore the art. Immonen uses a fairly cartoony style for his people while keeping his backgrounds, etc, very nicely grounded, and there are lots of simple attractive shapes and bright colors. He has no problem with Ellis's increasingly zany plot elements, either. It's all just hugely fun.

On the other hand, I just don't think this book is as clever as it thinks it is. I think partly it's just that I'm missing the context for a lot of the humor – I did not realize until after the fact that Fin Fang Foom was a pre-existing character in the Marvel universe, because between the silly name and the introduction Ellis gives it I assumed he'd made it up on the spot.

However, there's also some, I don't know, human crudity that Elllis thinks is funny and I do not. The Nick Fury analog puking his guts out isn't particularly funny to me, and his childishly expressed misogyny is really not funny, especially when combined with Elsa and Monica trading stories of all the times they've been sexually harassed. It's hilarious, right? Because, you know, they're superheros, so who would dare?

Have we not looked at the primary superhero comic book audience lately?

Anyway. Very fun to look at, fun characters, am iffy about written humor. Here, have a panel that amused me and includes Monica Rambeau being awesome.
[pretty large image]

Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat – Van Meter, Pulido, et al
This was fun. It's a series of heist stories held together by tons of logistics of the sort that I haaaate writing, but Van Meter does a great job here of weaving all the threads while laying them out very clearly for the audience – I had no trouble following, despite all the complications. I enjoyed Felicia Hardy and her team, I liked Pulido's art pretty well (and much, much more than I've liked him on Hawkeye, which bodes well for She-Hulk in the spring.

The character stuff didn't feel particularly deep, and I don't know that I'd need to read it again. But it was fun.

Firestar – McKeever, Rios
I surprised myself by how much I liked this one-shot. Firestar is a young mutant who is recovering from cancer and trying to work out what to do with her life. I knew very little about her previously, but McKeever does an excellent job of telling me everything I need to know to appreciate the comic – it's a skill I wish many, many more comics writers had.

As for the story itself, it wasn't surprising, but it involves multiple relationships between women, including the focal point of the story, Firestar trying to reach out to the daughter of her father's girlfriend, a girl who also happens to have bullied Firestar in high school. There's a scene towards the end that involves being wet and wrapped in blankets and sipping something from a mug that made me go AWWWW a lot.

And for the first time ever, I am wholeheartedly enthusiastic about Emma Rios's art. I talked before about how I found her work in Pretty Deadly #1 to be muddy, but here she seems to be simpling things down, and I found it attractive and easy to follow and stylistically a very good match for a fairly straightforward story about a young adult trying to find her way.

[first page]

I wonder, was there a series of female (and male?) one-shot solos in 2010? Because there's this one and Kelly Sue DeConnick's Sif (which I also really liked), and I hear tell Emma Rios did an Elektra one, although I can't find it on MU. If it was a de facto series, I'd like to figure out which other ones to look for. I've had really good success with them so far.

X-Factor #14-19 – David, Raimondi, et al
I continue to work my way through this series. I'm enjoying it a fair bit now. I particularly like David's tendency to write a bit more structure into individual issues than is common with mainstream comics, I think – with narrative text that unifies via theme, or via some other tactic. In fact, in general I'd say he's very good at making individual issues feel like self-sufficient storytelling units, despite the larger picture they're connected to.

More to remind myself later than for any other reason, a summary of recent events: Monet and Theresa have made up, taken a shopping trip to Paris, and come back with an orphan named Nicole whose ex-mutant parents have been murdered. Pietro has big, sinister plans for Rictor, whom he has kidnapped – although I'm not sure how clear Rictor is yet on the fact that he's been kidnapped. Jamie Madrox has reabsorbed his SHIELD dupe, left his preacher-dupe-with-family to live his own life, and had his PI dupe commit suicide in front of him rather than let Jamie collect him and learn what he knows. In possibly my favorite bit of this bunch of issues, Guido has been forgiven by the wife of the man whose husband he was brainwashed into killing. Rahne and Layla are in holding patterns.

I really hate Pietro/Quicksilver a lot. I find Jamie's multiple-personality power interesting in the abstract but am not hugely intrigued by him in particular? I don't know, maybe it's just because I find his costume sooooo ridiculous. Rictor needs to shave. Like, every day. Layla is probably my favorite.

Vixen: Return of the Lion – G. Willow Wilson, Cafu
I picked this DC miniseries up from the library because I was curious to try out Wilson, who is writing the new Ms. Marvel title that starts in the spring. Anyway, this was... okay? It's a "returning to your roots" story combined with a Dumbo story, so first our lead has to return to her home village in Africa and get some wisdom from a monk about feeling the land, and then she learns that she in fact does not need her totem in order to control her power of mimicking the abilities of animals. It all feels a bit... obvious? I don't know.

I did very much like the interior art, though. Cafu is good with faces and expressions, our lead is attractive but never sexualized, and the backgrounds and coloring (by Santiago Arcas) are simple and a little bit muted, very pleasant to look at.

For example:
[a full page]

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


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 24th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
I assume hair sadness explains his haircut, too.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 24th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
HA HA. So many of those are SO awful. I mean, they might look better in the context of an actual comic where everyone's fashion sense is a little ridiculous, but still.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 24th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
You know, I've heard a lot about the horrors of Rob Liefield, but I've mostly avoided that era and so I... don't actually know what the horrors are. Kind of like how I hadn't actually read any Greg Land comics until recently. :)
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 24th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
You are a font of excellent links. Thank you!
Nov. 24th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
I read through Nextwave a couple weeks ago and I felt like it kind of alternated between being hilarious and being really sad and kind of disturbing. I liked Elsa Bloodstone a lot--previously I had only seen her in Fearless Defenders, where she doesn't get a lot of panel time because there are so many other characters.

Hooray, Black Cat! I have been on a Felicia kick lately--I also really like her in the first 12 issues of Marvel Knights Spider-Man.

The art on that Vixen mini looks really pretty.
Nov. 24th, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
You know what made me especially sad about Nextwave? This is so dumb, but I was really sad when Fin Fang Foom died. I mean, I know he was killing people, but.

Oh right, Fearless Defenders - I knew there was somewhere else Else had shown up recently, but I couldn't remember where.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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