Friday, April 20, 2012

Comics of the Week - Beginnings and Endings

True Story: On November 24, 1971 a man who referred to himself as Dan Cooper, hijacked a plane in Oregon, claiming to have a bomb, and demanded $200, 000 in cash and a parachute. The plane landed in Seattle where his demands were met and the passengers were released, at which point Cooper demanded to be flown to Mexico City following a specific flight plan. At some point during the flight to Mexico City, Cooper parachuted out of the plane with the cash, never to be seen again. The Secret History of D.B. Cooper by Brian Churilla is a fictionalized (I hope) account of this man leading up to the events of 1971. The first issue introduced us to some wild concepts, as this man works for the CIA as a "dream assassin." This month, the second issue expands on those concepts and begins to give us a glimpse of some of his personal motivations. This book is pretty out there, particularly when Cooper is in the dreamscape. I'm not sure where it's going and that's a good thing. If you're looking for something completely off the wall, but grounded in the cold war spy/assassin genre, that is what this is.

As Irredeemable wraps up, I have no idea how it will end. Just when you think these characters are headed one way, there's a turn and then another and you have no clue where you stand. Is Tony really going to get a second chance by the end of the series? Is he actually going to contradict the title and be redeemed? I doubt it, but who the hell knows, except Mark Waid, who made a smart decision in ending the series, rather than have it go on too long. The next issue is the last one and I can't wait to see what happens. This, and Incorruptible, are required reading for anyone who wants to see how to play with the superhero genre in a good way. There a lot of stories about heroes gone bad, but for my money, this beats them all. Waid didn't simply create a Superman analogue here. He created a character that stands on his own in a fully fleshed out universe with a wide range of fully developed characters. It all holds together well, with cause and effect rippling across both titles. I've said before I don't care about continuity, but the continuity Waid created and maintained in these two books is outstanding. It would be easy to go back and tell "classic" stories in this universe (Before Irredeemable?), but then, this is so fully fleshed out, that it's not necessary. We know those stories already.

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