Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 4/27 Part 2

Disney's Darkwing Duck #1
Story: Aaron Sparrow
Art: James Silvani & Andrew Dalhouse

He is the terror who flaps in the night, and he's back! I was sad to see Boom Studios Disney line end, especially since some books, like The Incredibles, never were actually resolved, and because the Darwing Duck series there was so perfect. It captured everything about one of my favorite Disney cartoons, a supehero send-up with an egotistical duck hero, his hapless sidekick, his spunky daughter, and a rogues gallery of cool and wacky villains. So now that Disney has Joe Books doing some comics for them, it was the perfect time to bring Darkwing back for his 25th anniversary. This first issue is a treat both for fans of the original animated series, the previous volume of the comic, and DW neophytes as well. The story is structured to introduce or re-introduce all the classic Darkwing elements: we get a supervillain battle with one of his recurring foes, Megavolt, aided by his pal and sidekick, Ducktales' own Launchpad McQuack. There's a barbecue with his neighbors (and often the banes of his existence), the Muddlefoots and his daughter, Gosalyn. He gets a new headquarters as a gift from S.H.U.S.H., the spy organization he works with, still including Agent Gryzlikoff, a Russian bear whose Cold War attitude started getting dated as the Cold War ended and now eerily works again. And as Gosalyn and her best friend, Honker, go on a field trip to the newly opening St. Canard Maximum Security Penitentiary, we get to see more villains, and as anyone who has ever read a comic or watched a cartoon knows, innocents in a prison means one thing... BREAKOUT! And what's great is the comic is completely aware of this; it acknowledges the trope and plays off it, and also acknowledges Darkwing's massive ego, as he's initially more upset that he wasn't invited to cut the ribbon on the Pen than he is that his daughter is walking into it. Darkwing Duck was a great superhero comedy, and this comic gets all the beats just right to recapture the magic.Now if we can only get someone to convince Greg Weisman to come over and do some new Gargoyles stories...

Faith #4
Story: Jody Houser
Art: Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, & Andrew Dalhouse w/ Pete Pantazis

The Faith mini-series wraps up with an issue packed to the gills with action. Now that Hadley, one of the alien Vine, has come to Faith with information that the aliens have been the ones kidnapping potential psiots, Faith prepares to go in and save the taken, but she needs some help. So first she calls in Obadiah Archer, of Archer and Armstrong, and, well, I try not to be a person who 'ships characters, since I have scene that often that way lies heartbreak and ire, but holy crap they are absolutely adorable together! Faith's flirty and Archer is so awkward. And after giving a rousing hero speech to Hadley, she agrees to join in the fight as well. Faith jokes internally about leveling up in inspirational speechifying, but I think this is one of the charms of the character she is so genuinely good that she inspires those around her to be better, and it makes her all the more wonderful for it. The fight scene is beautifully done by Francis Portela, who has a great sense of motion and action. I also like that Hadley isn't a damsel in distress, as she has to point out to the chivalrous Archer more than once; she does her own stunts after all. Faith has one more ally in the fight, but that ally is also an enemy as her ex-boyfriend/ex-teammate, Torque, has been mind controlled by the Vine, and it's cool to see Faith have to fight a physically superior foe and still win. And win she does. The end of issue has one of my favorite of Marguerite Sauvage's fantasy pages, as Faith imagines her friends as a superhero team. It doesn't work out that way, but Faith is still fighting the good fight, ans she has a new beginning. I love that Faith realizes that it's the little things, all together, that mean you're making a life for yourself, and she winds up not in a dark place but in a bright one, one that she deserves. And that's it for Faith! Oh, wait? An ongoing series launching in July? Sweet! Looks like there's more to come, and I can't wait.

Saga #36
Art: Fiona Staples
Story: Brian K. Vaughan

The last issue of an arc of Saga is usually an issue that steps back from the big plot of the series and focuses on a secondary character for an issue. That... is not the case at all in this issue. As a matter of fact, as the big plot things go, this is probably going to be one of the biggest issues of the series. And while there is the usual assortment of character beats and snappy dialogue, this is an issue full of exciting action that moves the series forward to interesting new directions. The two main quests of the past arc, Marko and Alana attempting to retrieve their daughter, Hazel, and bounty hunter The Will seeking his revenge against Prince Robot IV both reach a climax here, and end in very different ways. I'm going to SPOIL one bit here, while leaving the big end of issue cliffhanger unmentioned. The reunion between Marko and Hazel is absolutely heart-rending, in the best way. The splash page, of the two embracing with a bit of narration and Hazel just repeating, "daddy" over and over again would make the most stone-like heart grow three sizes when they saw it. And Marko's parting from his mother is equally heart wrenching; Saga is at its best when it's driving home emotional truths abut its wide cast. By the end of the issue, Petrichor, the hermaphroditic member of Marko's species, has made it onto Marko and Alana's ship, and her reaction to Alana and her marriage to Marko is surprising; for someone who has had people act towards her in disgust for her biology, her complete revulsion at the thought of Marko and Alana is interesting and I hope is something we see dealt with more in the next arc, Meanwhile, The Will's insane visions finally come to a head, now not only seeing his ex, The Stalk, but his sister, The Brand. His inner discourse, and the choices he makes, change where he's going as a character. But the highlight of that sequence? Adorable little seal-man Ghüs is a badass! He sure as hell knows how to use a battleaxe. I understand that there's all this other emotion going on, but seeing Ghüs come at The Will with his axe was just... awesome. Now, the wait between arcs begins. I'm going to spend it reading Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin's Private Eye, which I have been saving for the Saga hiatus, but for those of you not caught up, this is a great time to start.

Image + #1

This isn't a regular review, since what I'm talking about here isn't really a comic. Image + is the new supplemental magazine from Image that comes with your Previews catalog if you buy that, or is $1.99 separately. When I heard it announced, I figured this was going to be like Marvel's Previews supplement, just the solicitations in a different magazine so it captures the eye and can be sold on its own. But it's way more. It's actually a series of preview pages and interviews from upcoming Image projects, some of which haven't even been solicited yet. It's a really nice package for $1.99, and might be worth checking out if you, like me, are always curious to see what Image has coming down the pike. Oh, and if that's not enough, this issue features the first four pages of a  twelve issue serial by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard that features the origins of The Walking Dead's favorite potty-mouthed, bat-wielding sociopath, Negan. That's worth the price of admission alone.

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