Monday, July 29, 2013

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 7/24

Ghostbusters #6
Story: Erik Burnham
Art: Dan Schoening

Egon Spengler, the brains of the Ghostbusters, has always been my favorite of the legendary quartet of supernatural investigators, and the new issue of IDW's Ghostbusters series is a strong spotlight for Egon. Earlier in the series, we found out Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters' trusty girl friday, was a descendant of Beowulf, and had to take up the family legacy of fighting the ghost of Grendel. Even though she won, she had help, and her spirit ancestors took offense, so she was trapped between life and death, and now Egon and Janine's current boyfriend, Roger (who bears a striking resemblance to Real Ghostbusters Egon, by the way), have to voyage into her mind to save her. Not only do we get a great view of Janine's inner life, seeing her memories from the point of view of Egon and Roger, but we also see Egon having to deal with Roger, and how short his patience is when in an unfamiliar position. While there is plenty of action, as Egon fights the Viking ghosts that are currently inside Janine, the majority of the issue is dialogue between Egon and Roger, the two of them bickering as they voyage through Janine's mind. Erik Burnham is a dab hand at dialogue, and does a good job of making Roger likable, frankly more likable at times than the usually taciturn Egon, so the reader can completely understand what Janine sees in him. After an opening arc with  a temporary team of Ghostbusters, it feels good to be back with the originals, and this issue is a perfect jumping on point if you're a fan of Dr. Egon Spengler.

Lazarus #2
Story: Greg Rucka
Art: Michael Lark

After an outstanding first issue of world building, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's dystopic corporate future comic, Lazarus, spends its second issue character building, and introducing us to the Carlyle Family. Other than Jonah, who we met last issue, we meet the other Carlyle siblings, Steven, Johanna, and Bethany, as well as the family patriarch, Malcolm. The siblings seem to be as at war with each other as they are with any of the other families (except for Jonah and Johanna, who are very... close, in that creepy Game of Thrones sort of way), and we get hints of secrets, especially those about Eve, the family protector, the Lazarus, and our protagonist), and exactly what her relation is to the others. There is also a mention of the siblings' mother, although she isn't shown, which strikes me as something we're waiting for a big reveal on. Malcolm seems to be a cold, clever manipulator, who discusses Eve as simply "the Lazarus" when she isn't present, but treats her as a favored child when she is with him. None of the children seem to have his skills, and all seem to have something of a short fuse. Bethany launches herself at Jonah with murder in mind from his verbal barbs. Dr. Bethany seems to be the one who cares the most about Eve, but whether that is as a sister or the product of an experiment seems to be up in the air right now. The discussion about going to war with Family Morray is the driving force for this family meeting, but it seems Malcolm has his own way of dealing with that, as we see Eve go off on her secret mission at issue's end. This will give us a view of exactly what the other families are like next issue, continuing to grow this world. And be sure to check out the backmatter for the issue, which includes a timeline of the life of Malcolm Carlyle, full of interesting background information and I'm sure hints of things to come.

Star Wars: Legacy #5
Story: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
Art: Gabriel Hardman

The first arc of the new incarnation of Star Wars: Legacy wraps up with a big reveal from our mystery Sith Lord and Ania Solo standing tall. As Darth Wredd reveals himself to the public, showing his face on the holonet as he prepares to kill Master Yalta Val, the Imperial Knight he has been impersonating for the past few issues to show the weakness of the current government, Ania steps up to save Master Val. Ania's doubts about her fitness are assuaged by the assassin droid with a heart of gold AG-37, and so she steps up and faces odds that should mean her destruction. The little guy standing up to the big guy is a big part of the Star Wars mythos, and so Ania takes strongly after her ancestor, Han Solo, as AG reminds her, by getting involved in these kind of affairs with just a blaster and an attitude. But she also takes after Han in an even more important way; when the chips are down, she is loyal to her friends, willing to risk her life to save both AG and Sauk, her Mon Calamari friend. Artist Gabriel Hardman's art is top notch this issue, especially the art as the communications array comes crashing down, and our heroes make their escape. This is Star Wars as its meant to be: action, character, and a touch of humor. The final page sees Ania reach the attention of the Galactic Triumvirate, and especially Empress Marasiah Fel, her distant cousin if my reckoning is correct, so it looks like Ania's adventures are just getting started.

The Unwritten #51
Story: Mike Carey & Bill Willingham
Art: Peter Gross & Mark Buckingham

"The Unwritten Fables" continues, as this dark alternate world only grows, well darker. Its interesting to see Tommy Taylor and his friends in their full power, as readers have all heard about exactly how badass the fictional Tommy is in the books within the comic, and while Tom has worked some magic, its nothing on the scale of casual power that Tommy works here. Last issue gave us a somewhat chilling impression of what exactly Snow White and Bigby Wolf's cubs have become under the influence of Mister Dark, but seeing Dare, who nobly gave his own life in the "real" Fables timeline here casually attacking Tommy and his allies, while preparing to once again torture his father just shows how bad things have gotten. And Mister Dark casually killing three members of the witches council from the Fables without breaking much of a sweat once again reinforces what a threat he is. And the world seems to be reaching out to the children, as Sue Sparrow, the Hermione of the Tom Taylor books, casts evil spells and takes something from Mister Dark's treasure cache. And Dark's building of a new Boy Blue continues, which is just beyond creepy and wrong, and perfectly in character. I love the way that Frau Totenkinder conceives of Tommy and his crew, "stories told by stories made up by the stories to whom we are only stories." This sort of meta, wheels within wheels, storytelling has been what The Unwritten has been about since the beginning, and adding the extra dimension of the folklore Fables characters just gives Carey another mirror to reflect it all off of.

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