So, the irregularity of posting recently might suggest an upheaval of some sorts, disrupting my attempts at consistent posting (I try to have a post every weekday, if you were wondering). This change is also the reason for this post, and I hope is a regular feature.
I recently got a new job (yeah, I know; I’m lucky to get a new job in the current economic climate), which obviously requires some adjusting to a new place, new people, new work practices and integrating into an established system. I’m getting there, but it’s interfered with the writing, something I’m trying to rectify. As a way of getting back on track, I’m posting this on Saturday, a day when usually people don’t read blogs (not that days of the week affect when people don’t read my blog, but that’s not the point).
The positive aspect of the new job, when it comes to comic books, is that the office is in central London, meaning I can pick up my new comic books on the day they arrive here in the UK by nipping out during my lunch hour. Therefore, I aim to write reviews of the books I’ve bought for my Friday post from now on, depending on what I’ve bought – the first week I started in the new job, there were no comics on my subs list that week, so I couldn’t start then.
Before I started my reviews, I just wanted to point out comic book podcast that has started that is very enjoyable – House to Astonish by Paul O’Brien (of The X-Axis and Ninth Art [Have they lost the domain name? Their archives aren’t there any more]) and Al Kennedy (also of Ninth Art). They live in Edinburgh, so have decided to meet up and chat about comic book news and do some reviews. There is only one at the moment but I look forward to more because the first was very enjoyable.
Captain Britain and MI:13 #7 by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk
This is the second part of Hell Comes To Birmingham (some would say that Hell is Birmingham, but that would be cruel) where the team is helping Captain Midlands with a mystical problem – Plokta, who is able to fulfil a person’s deepest desire in exchange for their soul, and is making Mindless Ones. Captain Britain is offered Megan (who I assume was killed some time ago), which gives Plokta a source of magical power. The rest of the team goes in, trying to ignore the deepest desires being offered them (such as Faiza’s obvious attraction to Dane, Pete’s desire for all the dead he’s responsible for are alive) and Dane gets in trouble with his sword, the Ebony Blade. Cornell fills the book with lots of action and characterisation but I still don’t love this book as much as I want to – I can’t quite explain why this is, but it’s not as if it’s a bad book. I enjoy it but only to a degree. It doesn’t help that Kirk’s art is muddied by the three different inkers, but I’ll be reading this for the foreseeable future.
Fables #78 by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
Under the extremely creepy James Jean cover is another good story from Willingham. Having ended the conflict with the Empire, he’s already setting up new threats to the Fables community. Here it is Mister Dark who, with pale skin, dark clothes and letter balloons of black with white text, seems to echo Neil Gaiman’s Sandman but with a darker twist and a bizarre sense of humour. He has come out of a Broadcast Box, used by Geppetto to power his Sorcerer Corps, the contents of which will cause problems for the Fables community. This is seen immediately with the destruction of the Witching Cloak and the release of … something from the basement and an unexpected result of his bravery for Boy Blue. As always, Fables is good comic books – good writing and good art.
100 Bullets #97 by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
The excellent series is nearing its ending, a long time in coming. Azzarello’s writing and Risso’s art have been consistently enjoyable but I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what is going on here. I’m going to have to read the whole series and take lots of notes to get all the connections and strands. Still, apart from Risso making women in a hot-tub look like they have lizard skin rather than moisture/water (he makes up for it by drawing one of them in her tiny bikini for the rest of the issue), it is another good issue, ending with a sniper’s bullet being fired but we don’t know the intended target. Can’t wait for the ending.
Anna Mercury #4 by Warren Ellis and Facundo Percio
This is a very interesting mix of 1950’s sci-fi, pulp fiction and ‘a superhero’ heroine, the sort of thing that percolates and springs from Ellis’ brain. In a way, it seems almost more story than necessary for a five-issue mini-series, but this is a good thing – there is a world (and worlds plural) to explore in more adventures, if Ellis wanted (and sales warranted). The art by newcomer Percio is good – European vibe with a funky modern line, able to handle the quiet slice-of-life material in the beginning of the book and the dynamic action at the end. This is a very interesting little series – it didn’t turn out how I expected and there are lots of layers in what is an action book.
I can’t pick a book of the week from these four – they are of equal quality – so no final pithy comment to end this post. Erm, er, that’s it. Back to normal schedule next week.