Monday, August 6, 2012

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 8/1

The Boys #69
Story: Garth Ennis
Art: Russ Braun

When Garth Ennis is wrapping up a series or a run, you know it, because the body count just gets higher and higher. The new issue of The Boys moves us closer and closer to the inescapable conclusion of the series. I know I believed that the series was heading towards the final confrontation between Billy Butcher and the Homelander for most of the series. But when that confrontation happened at the end of the penultimate arc, I knew Ennis had something else up his sleeve. And then I realized something, something this issue makes more clear: The Boys has never been Butcher's story. It's been Wee Hughie's. And so the coming storm, the confrontation between Hughie and Butcher, is really the trajectory we've been on all along. Hughie proves this issue that he's probably more clever than many have given him credit for, but is he any braver? Aside from Hughie, we spend some time with The Frenchman and The Female. While Frenchie is a character steeped in absurdism, there have been plenty of moments in the series that flesh him out as a character, and many of those are in his tender, almost paternal, relationship with The Female. This issue gives us plenty of those, with an introspective Frenchie wondering if what he has done has really benefited The Female. Russ Braun does a fabulous job of giving us The Female's thoughts on this, since she is as silent as ever. Three issues to go until the end of the series, now. Let's see what Ennis has in store for us.

Daredevil #16
Story: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee
With his time in Latveria having left Daredevil in complete sensory deprivation, this issue sees some of the rest of the superhero community attempting to restore him. While Iron Man and Dr. Strange are involved, the main hero involved is Giant Man, Hank Pym. Pym is a problematic character, to say the least; he could save the world a hundred times over, but he would always be remembered as the guy who hit his wife. This issue does something interesting, as it draws parallels between Pym's own battles with sanity and stability and those of Daredevil. Samnee continues blowing me away with the visuals on the book, especially during Pym's battle with nanites in the journey to the center of Matt Murdock's brain. The issue's ending, with the falling out between Matt and his best friend and partner, Foggy Nelson, is a major event for the series. Whether Matt has really been suffering further mental complications, or if he's being set up, will he and Foggy be able to reconcile? Foggy has always been there for Matt, and when he hasn't been around, things tend to go poorly for Matt. Waid's run on Daredevil has been his best work in years, and I can't wait to see what new twist he has in store.

The Muppets: The Four Seasons #2
Story and Art: Roger Langridge

The second issue of Langridge's final Muppets story, "The Four Seasons," is primarily a Fozzie Bear story. When I was a little kid, Fozzie was my favorite Muppet. I found him hilarious. I don't think I realized that he was supposed to be not that funny, and thus I loved him, and I still do. Fozzie gets invited to spend the summer with another theatre troupe, one that could be his big break, and he heads off to take his chance. Meanwhile, the rest of the Muppet crew is doing a summer show at the beach. Of course, being this is the Muppet Theatre, things go horribly awry, with a freak summer snowstorm more or less devastating their plans. Fozzie, meanwhile, sees this other troupe and talks to their resident comic, who has gotten his big break and is leaving, and realizes something important about himself. No reader would have expected the issue to end any way than it did, with Fozzie back with the Muppets, but the ending says somethint beautiful about friendship, something that has always been at the core of the Muppets, and about being who you are and doing what you love because you love it, and not because you think it's the way to something better.

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