Monday, October 28, 2013

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 10/23

Daredevil #32
Story: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee

Now that it's been confirmed that Mark Waid's excellent run on Daredevil is wrapping up, every issue is a treasure. And this issue features appearances by the Legion of Monsters! Now the appearance is small, and at the end of the issue, setting up next issue, but I still love these characters, especially Werewolf by Night, also known as Jack Russell (yeah, for those unfamiliar with him, you heard that right). But that's just something that speaks to my inner fanboy, which would be enough to get me to write the issue up, but there's so much more great about the issue. The opening scene, where the villain, The Jester, has left a dummy of a hanged Foggy Nelson, is one of the cleverest examples of Waid's use of Daredevil's powers and the lack of understanding others have of it. The Jester's surety that the horrible site of Foggy hung up before him would cause a reaction from Daredevil, but draws none, is clever and Jester's reaction was amusing, and this is inverted when Matt assumes that a mob in the small southern town he heads to at the end of the issue is preparing a race based lynching, when instead they are hunting monsters, something he couldn't tell with no site. Waid has done a tremendous job of writing scenes that remind the reader that Daredevil is blind and that radar sense is not the same as sight. It's also nice to see Daredevil and Foggy working together to help find an answer to the problem with the Sons of the Serpent; Foggy's cancer hasn't removed him from the book, but it's nice to see him doing something other than sitting in a bed. Four issues left, and the wild ride of Waid and Samnee's Daredevil doesn't look like it's slowing down.

Kiss Me, Satan! #2
Story: Victor Gischler
Art: Juan Ferreyra

I know I just wrote about the first issue of this Dark Horse horror comic last week, but when a good second issue comes around, I might as well keep writing. Barnabus Black continues to protect the witches from a line of bounty hunters. Writer Victor Gischler uses this to continue to expand the world he has created, introducing vampires, necromancers, and ninja zombies. I feel like Gischler has a whole world in his head, with all sorts of supernatural craziness, and he's slowly rolling it out. We also get to see more of our villain, Cassian Steele, werewolf chieftain, and I have to say, this is one bad guy. Sure, kill another werewolf in cold blood to maintain your power base, that's pack infighting; tell your pregnant wife you're going to kill the baby and you can always try again until you get a werewolf baby? OK, he's an A-1 bastard. The story is great, but what pushes the comic over the top is the art from Juan Ferreyra. The main action piece of the issue, a battle between Barnabus and animated ninja corpses, that starts out on cars and moves to a graveyard, is a sight to behold. Ferreyra mixes action with great body language and facial expressions. October is the spookiest time of the year, and this is the perfect comic for a chilly October night.

The Unwritten #54
Story: Mike Carey & Bill Willingham
Art: Peter Gross, Mark Buckingham, & Dean Ormston

The first volume of The Unwritten wraps up with the conclusion of "The Unwritten Fables," the big crossover between The Unwritten and Fables. The final battle between Tom Taylor and Mr. Dark plays out with a lot of very interesting twists, involving Tom's connection to The Leviathan, the font of all stories. But while much of the story is thoughtful, with Frau Totenkinder trying to explain to Tom exactly what he is and how he fits into the grand scheme of things, the rest of the Fables cast fights with the revanant Boy Blue and Bigby Wolf faces down his wife and children. It's a blood soaked issue, with many favorite characters meeting a final fate. Artists Peter Gross, Mark Buckingham, and Dean Ormston each draw pages suited to their styles, with Gross focusing on Tom, Buckingham on the Fables, and Ormston on the final pages, with scenes of horror as Fran Totenkinder morphs into a monster to hold Mr. Dark off as Tom performs the endgame. It;s a very clever ending, having been set up many issues ago, playing off both the classic poem The Song of Roland and what the readers know about the Tommy Taylor books, the in universe series of children's books. The issues wraps with Tom seemingly ready to find his way back home in time for the final twelve issues of the series, the maxi-series "Apocalypse." It feels like so many of the series I really love are coming to their end. But I can hope the ending will live up to the high quality of the series so far.

Velvet #1
Story: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steve Epting

New work from Ed Brubaker is always something to look forward to, and when he's partnered with one of those artists he has a rapport with, guys like Michael Lark, Sean Phillips, or in this case Steve Epting, you know you're in for a great comic. Velvet is a spy comic in the classic mold; it has touches of James Bond, touches of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy, and a whole lot of the action you expect when you have Brubaker and Epting together. Velvet Templeton, our lead, seems to be the secretary to one of the director's of Arc-7, a super secret black ops spy organization. But Velvet isn't Miss Moneypenny; Velvet clearly has a background that features plenty of spy training of her own. After an agent Velvet was fond of is killed, she begins investigating his death, and is quickly pulled into a case that features death and deception, and puts Velvet's life in danger. Brubaker wrote the best spy comic on the racks when he was writing Captain America, and he's bringing that same feel for the genre here. Velvet is a complex character, and after one issue you can already tell that she has a complex history. Like all spies, there are things that haunt her. The rest of the cats is sketched out, including Velvet's boss and some of  the other agents, and I'm sure we'll get to know them better, but this issue was the perfect introduction to our protagonist. Epting is an artist whose work has grown tremendously over the years, and this is easily the best work he has ever done. The shadow, the expressions, the action, all are second to none, and perfectly fit the grit of the 70s spy movie. Between Fatale and now Velvet, it's a good time to be a fan of Ed Brubaker.

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