Thursday, October 6, 2011

Comics of the Week - Why Comic Shops Are Great

It's not easy to creep me out with a comic book. I'm not talking about shock, that's easy and, ultimately, passing. To be creeped out means the image, situation, etc, really gets under your skin and unnerves you in some way. It's powerful and lingers after you've put the book down. That's Animal Man #2. Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman take what they set up in the first issue and pick right up where they left off. Buddy's daughter has brought dead animals to life and Buddy now has a bloody map tattooed on his face and chest. Foreman's art puts you on edge for every frame. His figures are not conventional, which is only heightened by his odd angles, and while that may be something that turns people off in some cases, it could not be more appropriate for this story where something is not right. We're in a world where there are things unseen under the surface, but apparently not hidden. What's great about this is that it's horror that manages to be surreal and yet very much grounded in character and real life. We can go from absolutely insane moments where a little girl plays with dead animals and jump to her little brother filming it with his iPhone because it's so cool. Lemire is striking a perfect balance here to make this my favorite book of the relaunch so far.

Last week's Superman #1 was interminable. There were about 12 billion words in it, most of them narrations of exactly what we were seeing in the panels. You can call that a throwback, but I call it redundant. And in a world where we have Action Comics written by Grant Morrison, it's hard to imagine any other Superman title not being redundant. Issue #2 is actually stronger than #1 was, picking up after Superman has been captured by the government and is being experimented on by Luthor. One of the tings that makes this great is that we get to see more of what makes Luthor tick and by the end of it, we aren't even sure anymore. Is he really as anti-alien as he is making himself out to be or is he just power hungry or both? Is he just a pawn? And then we have the development of Superman himself. I like how he was just biding his time, recovering and studying his captors before making his escape. And since his powers aren't fully developed, the escape is not as simple as you'd think. This title takes place about 5-6 years before the other books in the DCnU, but really, it doesn't matter that we know Superman will eventually be in the Justice League and all that. Here, it's so fresh and new and filled with possibility, that it feels open. I kind of wish this was the only Superman in the DCU right now. Let the character develop naturally, over time.

Once in a while I pick up a book based on a recommendation on the spot from my buddy Ben at Florida Supercomics. A couple of these were Demon Knights and Aquaman. So, you see, he's got a good record with me. So when he told me yesterday that Huntress #1, by Paul Levitz was good, I picked it up. I've always liked Huntress, at least in theory, even though I haven't necessarily read every story, so this wasn't a hard sale for me. And at the end of the day, Ben was right again. This was a really solid book.Very straightforward, but well told with great art by Marcus To. It's a basic Huntress story, where she goes to Italy to investigate some mysterious shipments that are being sent to Gotham. She uncovers a gun running and sex trafficking ring and goes after them with a mix of undercover work and just plain ass kicking that doesn't get bogged down in any continuity issues and makes you forget the reboot all together. It's just fun comics. What's more, it's a female action hero that's not half naked, a big plus after all the recent controversy. I'm happy I got this and will be picking up the rest of this 6 issue mini-series. And while I'm curious as to how it will fit in the continuity of the new DCnU, I may be happier if it's never even addressed.

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