Monday, September 24, 2012

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 9/19

Nightwing #0
Story: Tom DeFalco & Kyle Higgins
Art: Eddy Barrows

Dick Grayson's origin in one of the most iconic in comics. It's almost as well known as the origins of Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man. So there's really only so much you can do with it in a retelling or revamp without getting fans up in arms or losing the purity of the origin. Fortunately, it seems the creative team on Nightwing #0 understood this when they started the issue. All the familiar elements are here: the circus, his parents' fall from the trapeze, Dick learning at Batman's side. And some little details are changed into things that are more organic to a modern retelling. But the center of the story is here. More important than any of this is the choice to have Dick narrate the story himself. We see just how clever Dick is when he deduces Batman's identity. But more important, we see just how different Dick is from Bruce. In a scene with Alfred, Dick talks about how he's not as angry as he once was, and how he's not remembering the night of his parents' death as clearly as he's remembering their life, and Alfred points out that this is a healthy progression. And this is where there difference between Bruce and Dick really lies: Bruce's most vivid memory of his parents will always be in that alley, and this issue does a really good job of showing how Dick can never become that. The end, featuring the first appearance of the New 52 Lady Shiva, ties nicely into the next arc on the series without being forced, and I'm glad to see a favorite character of mine pop back up. Nightwing #0 is a great introduction to the character, and feels like one of the best of the Zero Month issues. If you only know Dick Grayson from other media, this is an excellent time to check out his comic adventures.

Roger Langridge's Snarked! #12
Story & Art: Roger Langridge

And another great series comes to its end. I feel like I've been writing a lot of reviews for the final issues of series I really enjoy lately. Snarked wraps up this issue very nicely, tying the whole series together beautifully. Wilberforce J. Walrus, our protagonist, has gone on a wild journey, across land and sea, and with this issue, he acts bravely, something the self-described coward would not have done at the beginning of the series. His time playing guide and guardian to the royal children Scarlett and Rusty, along with his carpenter pal McDunk, has changed the Walrus in ways he would never have expected. Scarlett as well proves her valor and her intellect, making it clear she is the right girl for the job of ruling. The ending to a series can be a bittersweet thing, but the sweet far outweighs the bitter here, with the Walrus, for all his self examination and change, still being the rogue he was at the beginning, even is his heart is a little bigger for it. Langridge shows his master's hand at finding the perfect balance of humor and sentimentality in the conclusion of the story, and I can only hope the Walrus and the Carpenter make their ways onto the page again sometime.

The Unwritten #41
Story: Mike Carey
Art: Peter Gross

In between each arc of The Unwritten, Mike Carey gives a little breather and gives readers a one off issue that fleshes out minor characters, or fills in a gap in the narrative. This issue, told by Richie Savoy, main character Tom Taylor's vampire partner in crime, tells exactly what happened after Tom's climactic battle with Pullman, gives us some insight into Richie's current state of mind and a little more information on the predicament the world is in. In the Villa Diodati, Richie brings the wounded Tom to only find the ghosts of the people who have died along Tom's road to his battle with the Cabal, and Richie tries to nurse Tom back to health. He begins to experience more of his vampirism, and by the end of the issue comes to a starling realization about his own fate and about the world surrounding Tom Taylor. This issue does a great job in answering some of the questions readers have had since the end of the first act of The Unwritten, explaining why Richie sought out Madame Rausch in the last arc, and setting up exactly what Tom is going to have to do to put the world right again by the end of the series. Richie is the character who usually provides comic relief in the series, and who has spent much of the series getting turned into a vampire and getting smacked around, but has become something of a badass as he's become more confident in his vampire abilities. This issue has Richie come into his own and his power, and leaves the reader's with questions about just how close Richie might be to Count Ambrosio, the vampire who turned him and the archnemesis of Tommy Taylor (the book within a book character). The Unwritten has done a great job of getting its wheels back under it after the end of what would seem to have been the driving force of the series, and I can only wonder what else Carey has in store for us.

No comments: