Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Pickups 3/14/12

The invasion of the #1s continues this week with entries from Avatar Press, Image, and Oni Press; Accompanied by old favorites Unwritten and the X-Men! I will give you a few moments to compose yourself after that shock... ok, long enough.

Kicking things off is X-Men Legacy #263, written by Christos Gage with pencils by David Baldeon. Contradicting the beliefs that lead them to separate from Cyclops group, Rogue and the other staff of the Jean Grey School  must team up with Cyke's young, mutant militia to stop Exodus from killing old one-eye. While it's not my favorite of the mutant titles, I do like how this book has become the most contemplative of them, reflecting it's main character's (Rogue) journey all the better. At first glace Baldeon's art might seem to clash with that idea, but it ends up working quite well as his detailed facial expressions convey just as much conflict as his muscle-bound, action panels. Not a must buy, but definitely a title to check out if "Schism" left you wanting as much as it did for me.

Switching universes, we head over to Ultimate Comics X-Men #9 to see what Nick Spencer and Paco Medina are cooking up. Camp Angel, the government's internment camp for mutants, takes center stage this issue as those who it affects most are finally privy to the truth behind the creation of mutants. While I've been waiting for them to deal with this since the camp was first shown (in issue #1 if I'm not mistaken), I have to say this is the most disappointing issue of the comic so far. Now to quantify that statement, my major problem from the issue is the creative team plugging in the 616 Storm (aka the Storm that readers of regular marvel comics) in place of the unique Storm of this universe for most of the comic. To this reader, who is pretty familiar with both, it just reads as a lazy and cheap way to build the issue's climax. Hoping Spencer and Medina don't have any more like this in their remaining few issues together, or I might end up looking forward to creative team change coming later this year.

Heading over to Vertigo we have The Unwritten #35, the conclusion of "Tommy Taylor and the War of Words." The battle we've been waiting for is finally here, Tommy (with his newly minted magical powers) vs. the man who killed his father, but is either the other's true enemy? Another fantastic issue from Carey and Gross, tilting the world on the reader just as they're sure they've found solid footing in the book. I've read very few comics that have kept this high quality of story-telling and art through out their run, and fewer still that have such an original concept. Not only a must buy issue, but a must buy series every month!

Getting into the #1s, we have the first issue of Crossed: Badlands. Here we are introduced to a new group of survivors, by Garth Ennis (writer) and Jacen Burrows (artist), in the bloodiest of all lands, the U.K. Not a great issue, but an ok/disgusting read if your mind and stomach can handle it. Hopefully Ennis is just shaking off the rust with this first issue, and brings his "A" game in the next few; after all it's been a few years since he played in this universe. The better Crossed debut of the week comes from the internet and is FREE, so get over to and check it out (unless you're at work, in which case wait till later.) Si Spurrier and Javier Barreno (the creative talent on the web comic Crossed: Wish You Were Here) know exactly how to bring a reader in, with an interesting main character and an "interesting" Crossed.

From Image we have the most talked about title of the week and maybe the last few for that matter, Saga #1. Written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Fiona Staples, Saga follows two new parents as they try to give their newborn baby girl a chance at life, by evading the opposing interplanetary armies that would see her and them dead or imprisoned. Call me a sap, but I loved this first issue. It perfectly presents the characters, the world, and their problems in over-sized issue, all for the (formerly) standard price of $2.99 (or $1.99 if you were lucky enough to shop at one of the Amazing Fantasy Books and Comics shops in South Chicagoland.) Some may find it a bit heavy-handed but I can't help falling for Staples dynamic panels and Vaughan's young narrator. Mixing the best elements of sci-fi and fantasy, this is a title I can definitely get behind and certainly recommend every one gives it a shot.

Narrowly beating out Saga for the top spot this week is The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1, published by Oni Press. Telling the "true" story behind the mysterious man that is/was D.B. Cooper, this comic ventures into a world of talking stuffed teddy bears and psychological hit-men seamlessly. In what is the first work I've read by him (although he is already established in the industry) Brian Churilla knocks it out of the park, while wearing both the artist and writer's hats! I normally hesitate to call an issue perfect but here I gladly use it, if only to try and express just how much I enjoyed this comic. Even if you're not into historical mysteries (or fictional elements being added to them), this comic has something for everyone including well executed sci-fi elements and strong, defined characters. While I would like you to try most of the comics mentioned here, THIS IS THE ONE YOU MUST TRY!

Ok, that's it for this week and since we're a little later than planned you've probably already pillaged the fresh goods from your local comic shop. If you haven't however, give Smoke & Mirrors #1 (looking forward to it myself), Red Hood and the Outlaws #7 (Screw the haters, probably the funnest book in the DCnU), or John Carter: The Gods of Mars #1 of 5 (I'm waiting for the trade but that art fabulous art by Ramon Perez is sure going to make it a long wait) a shot. Done, now go read comics or make some so I can read them or blog/podcast about them so I read/listen to that.

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