Friday, October 28, 2011

Comics of the Week - A Different Set of #1's

For a while now I've been enjoying Jason Aaron's Wolverine. It's been a great mix of fun and dark, taking full advantage of Logan's complexity as a character. Now that the X-Men have split into two camps with Cyclops leading one team and Logan building a school, the potential for a fresh new take on, not just Wolverine, but the X-Men in general, is ripe. So, does Aaron's Wolverine and The X-Men #1 deliver? Oh, hell yeah, it does. This was an incredibly fun read. It's the first day of class at The Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning and Headmaster Logan and Headmistress Kitty Pryde are giving a tour to representatives of the New York Board of Education. Hilarity ensues. Along the way, we meet several of the young mutants at the school as they attend classes and generally get into trouble. Many intriguing elements are set into play to be explored in the series, such as a young Brood child who Logan has invited to the school, but is instantly and ironically made outcast by the other young mutants. The new school, designed by Beast, is basically a self sustained city of the future. Of course, by the end of the issue, when the Hellfire Club unleashes what appears to be a creature made of the Earth itself, it's unclear how much of the new designs will remain intact. Bachalo's art, I'll be honest, took me a few panels to get into. It's rather cartoony, but once I got into the story, which happened pretty quickly, it made perfect sense. Pick this up, even if you haven't read X-Men in years. It's just good fun.

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso's Spaceman #1 is a hard book to pin down because it is so smartly written. Rather than spending time explaining the, apparently, post-apocalyptic world it takes place in, we are just thrown into it, after a short prologue that also doesn't explain a whole lot. We are introduced to a character that looks like some mix of Neanderthal and gorilla, and we are completely unsure if this is what all the characters will look like. Quickly, we see that the other characters look like normal humans, but the explanation for the appearance of the main character, who we then find out is named Orson, comes across in conversation, almost halfway into the book. These are all good things because you can just watch the story unfold rather than being bogged down by a ton of explanation. By the end of the issue, we start to realize that while this book is set in a Sci-Fi world, the actual story will be more of a classic Noir. And, really, what else would you expect from this team? Once again, Risso sets a mood like few other artists can. Azzarello is working with some interesting dialogue here, as well. In the tradition of A Clockwork Orange, he's developed a future dialect that appears to be a commentary on the dumbing down of our culture. Rather than actually laughing, for example, characters say "LOL." This series should be interesting and I'm very much looking forward to the next issue.

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