Thursday, December 29, 2011

Comics of the Week - Vampires and D-Bags

I guess what will be my last post of the year should include a Scott Snyder book. The man just has done no wrong as far as I'm concerned. This issue of American Vampire kicks off a new story arc and actually looks like a good place to jump in, if you've been curious. The story takes place in the 50's and there's much talk about teens and rebellion. It's been pointed out on the net that this series is not only about vampires, but also about America itself. What makes it work is that the vampire mythologies are used to comment on and reinforce what is being said about the particular era that the story arc is taking place in. The series started in the 20's, but along the way, we've gone backwards as well as forwards in time, and each era has brought something new to the mix.  Make no mistake, though, this is not a heady series for history buffs. It's filled with excitement and you really don't need to get into the historical aspects at all to enjoy it. This issue is a great example, as it's filled with fun. A vampire hunter that likes to "bite back" with fake wooden teeth is just brilliant. For this arc, series regular artist and co-creator, Raphael Albuquerque returns and you can just hear Link Wray playing over some of these scenes. The different arcs of this series could be individual movies that link up, but can be taken on their own. As far as I'm concerned 2011 was Snyder's year, and it's hard to pick one of his books as a favorite, but this is the one that really kicked it off for him, so do yourself a favor and pick up the trades if you haven't been reading it. These vampires may not sparkle, but the stories sure as hell shine.

What would you do if you could fly? What if you were also a ginormous douchebag? Well, that's kind of what Joe Hill's The Cape is about. And this issue takes it to the next level. Eric, the main character of this story, is not just a douche, though, he's a plain evil bastard. You'd think flying, in and of itself, wouldn't be such a scary power to have, but if you want to see creatively evil ways of using the power of flight, and also bears and chainsaws, then this is the series to be reading. This issue goes by very quick, but it's a satisfying kind of fast. The art by Zach Howard is right on. It's just the right amount of dark, without making the piece too moody, so it gives everything a more realistic feel, resulting in the events being that much more horrific. There's just one more issue left in this mini, and I can't wait to see how it wraps up. I expect there will be another series in the future though. Probably following a different character. But who knows, since this has been pretty surprising and hard to predict.

Speaking of douchebags, Incorruptible 25 is the second part of the crossover between it and Irredeemable, telling the origins of both Plutonian and Max Damage and how they came to be arch enemies. Both of these series have been good from the start, with Incorruptible slightly ahead most of the time. Interestingly, Mark Waid has managed to have a different tone in each series, proving his talent. Now, doing a crossover that is essentially telling a story in flashback, from different points of view, he's just showing off. But it's a sight to see. For a guy who would become the world's worst supervillain, Max Damage's past is at once, exactly what you'd think and yet, not at all what you'd think. He is irrevocably locked in with Plotunian from a very early age. This is Lex/Clark, Magneto/Xavier territory here. Two sides of a coin, chicken and the egg, with shades of gray, smoke and mirrors. These are icons now.

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