Monday, August 25, 2014

Fox Tales Two

Hey guys! Antarctic-Fox back again, with reviews from the past week.

Storm #2, Greg Pak, Victor Ibañez

Now, I loved the first issue and thought it was a great way to set up the framework of this comic.  So I was super excited for this issue.  There’s hints of Storm’s backstory (and her claustrophobia), which was so necessary in a comic that is so focused on her figuring out how and when to help.  It illustrates her vulnerability, which, when the central twist occurs, allows for the turn, the change of heart, to occur.  Is this book altruistic and optimistic? Yeah, a little.  But these two issues have been less about fighting villains and more about helping humanity.  It’s less militant and less belligerent, less about action and more about internal struggles than the main X-Men line (of which I read about 6 before dropping it).  And for a newcomer, that’s refreshing, for a comic to be more about little things than big conflicts.  

Rating: 9/10.  The Wolverine bit kind of threw me.

The Wicked + the Divine #3, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie

The covers for this series are probably the most gorgeous covers ever.  And the contrast between the cover and the first page (for the regular cover; the variants will be different, obviously).  And the character designs!

This issue broadens the cast, with gods duking it out in the underground to hinting at the other suspects in a mythological who-dunnit.  And, as this is only issue 3, there are still more things to introduce, like how these gods and goddesses interact with each other and how the politics of society dictate those interactions.  I expect the relationships between gods to further present themselves as the series progresses.

So, basically, this series is beautiful.  Colorful, mysterious, intriguing.  I keep trying to summarize this series and I can’t.  I can really only describe what it’s not.  It’s a little like American Gods, but not based in our world. It’s similar to the world Gillen and McKelvie create in their series Phonograms, but a little different.  And figuring out how exactly to describe it is partly why I keep reading.  To figure out what it is.

Rating: 9/10

Ms. Marvel #7, G Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt

So apparently it’s Wolverine week at Marvel (his annual also came out this week).  That being said, he’s not a bad mentor for Kamala to have.  He is old and curmudgeonly compared to the fresh-faced Kamala.  And he serves as sounding board, a way to reiterate Kamala’s identity struggle and her shifting ideas of what constitutes a hero.  She’s become a lot more comfortable being herself instead of Carol Danvers’ version of a hero.  So I feel a whole new conflict for her to tackle will arise next issue.

The art style for this arc is good for her interactions with Wolverine. It’s goofy and reminiscent of tumblr fangirling.  But I am excited for when Alphonse returns.  It fits Kamala better and looks more polished.  Which she needs to battle the Inventor.

Rating: 7.5/10. It was cute, but seemed too much like a filler.

The Fade Out, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips

I got started reading Brubaker’s grittier, hardboiled detective comics through Fatale, which, while really interesting and striking, is a little too Lovecraftian for me.  I like it, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I wish they would focus on maintaining the setting rather than follow the trail of blood.  That’s what I hope The Fade Out is for.  Set in post-WWII Hollywood, the atmosphere (perfectly captured by the coloring of Elizabeth Breitweiser) is so ingrained in the Hollywood studio system and the so-called “seedy underbelly” beneath the glitz and the glamor, to paraphrase Rod Serling.  It centers around a murder and the subsequent responses from the different parts of the studios, from costar to publicity agent to studio security.  It’s all very LA Noire, complete with historical anti-Semitism, sexism, blacklisting, and anti-Communism.  Noir has always been one of my favorite genres.  Add in old Hollywood and I’m there.  

P.S. Brubaker likes adding little post-issue articles and illustrations for the single-issues.  You might want to consider picking up the singles instead of the trades, particularly for those who, like me, are fascinated with old Hollywood’s history.

Rating: 10/10. Everything, from the art to the story to the colors to the research, excited and intrigued this little history nerd.

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