My to-read pile of comics next to my main chair has become so high it is structurally unsound so I thought I had better work through it a bit and add a few reviews here as part of #NaBloPoMo — the pile is still pretty high and I have more to collect from Excelsior so there might be another bunch of reviews later in the month!
Batman: White Knight
I don’t really read much Bat stuff these days — despite the hype I didn’t really click with the Snyder stuff and even Tom King didn’t attract me back. I picked this up on a bit of a whim as I was interested in the ideas behind the ‘DC Black Label’ imprint and I liked the art.
I’m so glad I did as it really is a great piece of story-telling and I suspect it is going to find itself as one of those Batman tales that features in lists alongside Year One, Dark Knight Returns and Long Halloween.
The way it deals with the ‘sane’ Joker, the two Harley’s and the Bat ‘family’ is pretty inspired and the art is consistently lovely.
The Dead Hand
Kind of like a mix of ‘The Americans’ with ‘The Prisoner’ (maybe with a little ‘War Games’). Very much enjoyed it — though the end felt a little rushed. Some nice ideas, decent art — generally just a good read if you like a bit of Cold War espionage in your comic books.
OK — confession time — I’m not really a Kirkman fan. I like — but don’t love — Invincible, found Walking Dead’s never ending bleakness uninspiring and thought Outcast was dull.
This is fine. I don’t really love the art and I’m not convinced the ‘soap opera’ sits that well with the grander scope of things. Doubt ‘ll buy book two unless it is a slow week when it is released!
Exiles: Test of Time
Loved the original which I recently re-read. Strongly disliked this. Scrappy art. Muddled script. Gave up on it which is really rare. Disappointing.
I picked this up at Thoughtbubble on a bit of a whim — I was looking for books that reminded me of 80s style 2000AD sci-fi stuff and this struck a chord.
It is good fun to be fair — the art is streets apart from most of the truly indie Kickstarter books (not the established pros using KS to get passion projects out the door). It does a nice job of setting the scene in just a few panels and moves along at a nice clip without totally losing sight of the bigger picture. It is quite funny and very violent in places and if you grew up on 2000AD I’d recommend it….though it is only book one and I suspect I won’t see book two until Thoughtbubble next year 🙂
Another book I picked up at Thoughtbubble. To be honest this one was a no brainer — how was I going to not buy a comic book about graffiti 🙂 It is a really interesting collection — a coming of age story set in Mumbai with interlinked stories of a group of friends from the wrong side of town.
The art is unusual but beautiful in places and the dialogue takes a little tuning into as it uses local dialect often — but it is easy enough to understand and worth it as it adds depth to the stories that are actually quite sweet despite the griminess of it all.
It also contains a single panel that so nailed my love for graffiti I was really quite moved →
..and this is the last of the books I picked up in Leeds (well for the purposes of this blogpost — there were many more.)
Russell Mark Olson originally created this as a webcomic which took the well worn path via Kickstarter to become a paper publication. He writes and draws it which is a rare combo these days it seems.
It is really a cut above the average — lovely art with an old school pulp style that doesn’t lose itself in the nostalgia and does a great job of the storytelling (I find that is often the difference between the top tier professionals and the DIY-ers — one off panels are often great but the amateurs lack the skills to really sell the sequential storytelling through their art.)
The story itself is fun as well — a mash-up of a Prohibition-era, noir detective story with some slightly surreal intergalactic happenings and a crazy Gladiator show as a set piece — if it sounds a bit crazy that is because it is but the internal logic of the comic holds firm and it really is an enjoyable read.