Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekly Comics - July 12

This series will happen most weeks, between Wednesday and Sunday. This week Wednesday Comics, Batman and Robin 2 and North 40.

Wednesday Comics #1
DC hits one out of the park with this evocative artistic recreation of the old fashioned broadsheet newspaper comic section. Some of the most exciting artists in the industry paired with some of the best writers do tightly plotted one page strips. This first issue has to bear the burden of story set up which different features handle with varying degrees of success.

Highlights are the Raymondesque Kamandi by Gibbons and Sook, Paul Pope's deco arabesques in Adam Strange and the sunny subversion of Gaiman and Allred's Metamorpho. The Superman page by Arcudi and Bermejo is a beautiful artifact and will be reprinted in USA Today every week, potentially bringing some new readers into comic shops.

This project is an exciting mix of nostalgia hit and modern reinterpretive appropriation. Recommended.

North 40
Lovecraftian horror meets small town angst in this horror ongoing about a town touched by demonic forces and cut off from the world. Now Entering Conover County written by Aaron Williams with art by Fiona Staples sets up the situation and characters without sacrificing suspense or horror. Bored goth kids get the library to send them the wrong book from the restricted stacks (If it looks like the Necronomicon and acts like the Necronomicon...) and unleash ancient magic on their town.

All over the county people fall asleep and wake up trapped and changed. Forces begin to emerge, sides begin to be dimly seen. You could be forgiven for thinking the creators might be angling for Adaptation attention. This book sometimes reads like a big budget HBO horror series.

Worth it for the writing and art. Lovecraft fans in particular should be picking this up.

Batman And Robin #2
Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly continue their stylized high energy take on the new Batman and Robin. The original Batman Bruce Wayne is currently presumed dead fallowing Grant Morrison's apocalyptic Final Crisis and this is original Robin Dick Grayson donning the cowl while Damien Wayne, Bruce Wayne's long lost secret son with the daughter of a super villain has taken on the role of Robin.

In this issue a conflicted Dick Grayson has second thoughts about taking on his mentor's role and Damien who's been raised by assassins and terrorists continues having trouble adapting to life as a hero, much less a sidekick. He puts himself in danger heedlessly following the villain of the piece.

Doctor Pyg, a horror movie monster of a Batman villain may be one of the most disturbing menaces yet and brings a disturbing frisson to an otherwise shiny and knowing superhero comic dancing right up to the edge of deliberate camp.

This is about as subversively smart and fun as mainstream superhero comics get.

Other worthwhile books this week: No Hero #6 and Gravel #12 by Warren Ellis each up the ante in their stories and Peter Bagge's collection of his satirical Reason Strips steals my planned autobiography title with Everybody Is Stupid except for Me, and Other Astute Observations. Funny and smart.

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