This week was a bit of a strange week for me. There were not a lot of books coming out that I was very excited for. I am always looking forward to every book that I buy and I know I will enjoy my week of reading, but there was just nothing that jumped out at me upon first glance. Sitting down to read the books resulted in the same feeling. There was not very much that really stood out to me. A few books had solid progressions in their stories while a few new books laid down some solid groundwork. After I finished my stack today the choice was clear. There was only one book that really wowed me and it just happened to be the book I was most excited for going into the week.
Guest NBC! staff writer Ego the Living Planet picks this week’s finest!
by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
Some of you hopped off this title because you were waiting for “something” to happen. Well “something” certainly happened today and it was god damn glorious, all puns intended.
Wild’s End #2 by Dan Abnett & I.N.J. Culbard
Sometimes it’s simply about how the pieces come together.
Wild’s End is set amidst a picturesque rural English village called Lower Crowchurch. The time is the 1930s and the story reflects that period in more ways than one. In the first issue, residents were mostly preoccupied with the preparations for their annual community fete. That is until local ne’er-do-well Fawkes disrupts the planning session with tales of falling stars and a dead companion. The only person who seems to pay any mind to these warnings is Clive Slipaway, a private individual recently moved into the village. Soon, he sets off, followed by village dignities Gilbert and Peter to see just what Fawkes is babbling on about now . . .
This Week’s Finest is Birthright #1 from Image by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan. But since Reed Beebe already gave a solid and thoughtful review of it; we’ll talk about Wytches also from Image by Scott Snyder and Jock.
Although I loved much of what I read this week; most of the books had varying flaws such as time-skips, rehashing of last issue, poor explainations, too much action instead of story, difficult dialogue. What almost none of these books did was tell a straight-forward story by itself.
Which is what Snyder and Jock did with Wytches #1. There is nothing specifically extraordinary about it, and I mean that in a good way (stay with me). It’s a horror book that doesn’t rely on excessive death or gore, or a cynical modern take on classic characters, or even the crutch of a license. It is something wholly new, even if you’ve known the creators for months or years.
The book starts out during a dark ritual sacrifice, and jumps forward to the present with a father and daughter talking about Hippogriffs. I feel like Snyder’s penchant for horror in “Batman” is a well recognized but what he also does in that and “American Vampire” is build character moments. It feels so natural and real it appeared mundane to me, and again I mean that in a good way. It feels like a father and daughter (Sailor) tallking, and after seeing something shocking anything else will feel less exciting. But name one good horror movie that is all rise, I defy you. Sailor is starting in a new school, trying to overcome a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, you can’t run from your past and the event is something that haunts many young women. At her home, a doe collapses after a fit while her parents watch in horror. The family tries to brush off the day’s events, but their temperament shows signs of cracking. The book ends with Sailor coming face-to-face with her agressor that she last saw horribly killed.
There is a rawness to this book, which Snyder states in the backmatter he has been working on for years. It’s a mainstream book that feels like an Indie book, which really impresses me. It seems like most of the pazazz of Indie creator’s stories gets worn away once they hit the mainstream, with their inventiveness subdued. Here, Snyder’s raw nerve is on display. Jock is no slouch himself; showing visual similarities to other big name artists (who I will not name so as not to overshadow Jock’s art) without losing his artistic signature. His art feels like it has matured and being experimental here at the same time. Seeing it in action, it’s clear there is no other choice for an artist; Jock is the best man for the job.
Wytches #1 was not what I was expecting, but both the writing and art impressed me regardless. Birthright #1 did as well (but Wytches #1 remains TWF). I love opening a new #1 not expecting to be blown away and having it happen; it gets my nut. Getting excited about a new series and relearning an appreciation for what comics can do, oohhh mama. Of course you should know what happens if you mess with my nut;
Runner-up for TWF is Superman/Wonder Woman #12. I dropped off this book a few issues back (just before Doomed started I think) but leave it to Wunderkind Charles Soule to write something that feels like I never left. It hits everything I loved about this series, and feels like Soule’s culmination on the Power Couple as well as Swamp Thing. Reading this makes me want to go and read the issues I missed from before it was so good. I’m going to miss his takes on the DCNU.
three Two Three books were The Week’s Finest. Any of the three would be excellent reads, but just to be safe buy all of them and treat yourself. I know you deserve it.
I should probably admit something before I begin. Despite the constant rain of praise for the team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, I’ve never read but one issue of their collaborated material. While I wasn’t against what they were doing in any way, I just never expected their stories to be anything I’d be into–at least in the comic medium. I remember seeing ads for Fatale in the back pages of The Walking Dead, but I’d skim over them without much consideration. However, the trickle swiftly elevated to a cacophony of extol and I had no choice but to submit to the clamoring masses. I knelt to the pressure of the greatness surrounding and what I experienced in Brubaker and Phillips’ work was a baptism of holy proportions.
By now you should be thinking, “For god sake, Alex, rein in the hyperbole!”
My response: Nope.
I always find the selection of the Week’s Finest to be a very difficult process. This week I was torn between two books, Saga which was just as stellar as always and this new book Roche Limit which I had no idea about. It is hard to choose just one book and say that this was the best book of the week. It requires some serious thought and some deep analysis. In the end I went with the new Image sci-fi book Roche Limit. The reason being this book is fucking rad! How’s that for deep analysis?
By Grant Morrison & Chris Sprouse
Well, it seems that Multiversity #1 wasn’t a fluke.
Longtime NBC readers know that I have rather mixed feelings about Grant Morrison’s recent work. For a few years now, there has been something missing from his writing. Did you ever have a teacher who was described as “really smart, knows tons of stuff, just isn’t any good at conveying that genius to students”? Well, that is how large chunks of Batman Incorporated felt to me. I knew that I was reading something “important” about Batman written by someone who had intriguing ideas about the character, yet little of it gelled for me. True there would be a moment here and there where it soared (Damian & Dick’s last conversation, for example, was priceless). Still, the whole, and especially the final year of it, left me underwhelmed. The last project of Morrison’s I loved as a whole was Seaguy, which is a decade old (and out of print) at this point.
All that aside, Morrison has proven repeatedly throughout his career that he has talent to spare. On paper, Multiversity sounded either brilliant or a complete train wreck. Regardless, I wanted to give Morrison the benefit of the doubt for the debut issue, which turned out to be quite enjoyable. This week’s issue is even better.
“When you come at the king, you best not miss”-The Wire
When I was a little kid I was obsessed with video games. Nintendo’s 8 bit console, Sega Genesis, Original Sega, Computer Games and Arcades could keep me entertained for hours on end. In spite of my love for the medium I totally sucked at them. My best friend was super good but I was terrible though that never mattered to me. Video games of that era were incredibly primitive by any measure but that was the best part, it was so simple that it allowed for me to imagine everything else. The video game was the framework but in my head I heard their voices, created my own narrative and mythology; all of that was only limited to my own imagination and when I was a kid that imagination was limitless in a way I don’t think it will ever be again. These days technology has advanced and video games have complex back stories and photo realistic graphics. I’m sure it’s awesome as I have no objective way to say that it’s worst then what I grew up with but it’s also not for me; that’s not what I loved about them. Every once in awhile I’ll find something that’s on the level and reminds me of those far out stories I had in my head and Captain Victory & The Galactic Rangers #2 by Joe Casey, Nathan Fox and Michel Fiffe not only pulls that off but it does it better then I think I ever could as they should. After all these guys are professionals and they are making a comic based on a creation from Jack Kirby aka the undisputed greatest imagination that ever lived. This is a comic that lives up to it’s creator.
by Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz
I had dropped “Swamp Thing” not long after Scott Snyder did. I wanted a horror comic, or at least as close as Snyder’s take on the character got to horror. Charles Soule came on with this energy and momentum, but it was just too…light. I had never read such an issue of Swamp Thing. I came back appreciating ‘fun comics’ more and admiring what Soule was doing but I dropped it again because I couldn’t find the right back-issues. Since this is a one-shot; taken with yesterday’s bombshell, I decided to check it out. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Futures End Swamp Thing #1