Who here likes Justin Bieber? Rhetorical? Well if you’ve ever wished to see someone step full-bodied onto his twig and berries, you might like one of DARK HORSE COMICS’ newest titles, simply named, POP #1. It’s a pretty easy concept to understand: We’re welcomed into a world, not too far off from our own, where Pop stars are, quite literally, grown out of bio-organic tanks. If you’re a fan of the Fifth Element (and I mean let’s face it, who isn’t?) then you’ll notice a similar relationship between our female-pop-star-on-the-run/beat-white-guy paring, and our beloved Corbin/Lilu team, except maybe a sadder, less quippy Corbin. (Allah bless Bruce Willis….) The art definitely lives up to the title, playing within the concept of “pop” within comic book history, borrowing color palettes and stark, simplistic structure, reminiscent of 70′s/80′s era comics. If Curt Pires can deliver more commentary on Pop culture, taking it one step beneath the superficial, he’s got me hooked as a reader. Excellent first issue for the POP creative team!
Have you ever noticed how there’s a divide between people who openly accept the idea of the vigilante, and others who consider them insane to lead their lives in such a way? We’ve seen it often times with Batman in The Killing Joke and Court/City of Owls, then there’s also the character called Crazyman (which we still have his candybars for sale @MeltdownComics). What if there were a team of crazed vigilantes, overcoming there own psychological tendencies and habits to fight crime against organized criminals? Then we’d be talking about SUNDOWNERS #1 from, again, the peeps over at DARK HORSE COMICS. This title manages to play within the typical team-up form, yet immediately offer sympathetic characters which we can relate to. While they’re all slightly, but undeniably eccentric, we watch as the head psychiatrist figure turns their odd anecdotes into derivatives towards prognosis. It’s early on, but I smell the whiff of a punk thematic undercurrent, pretty pungent. Also, the title/cover might mislead you to think the story is about vampires, that’s just when the heroes fight crime/attend therapy. Don’t miss SUNDOWNERS!
As I’ve previously mentioned, I have an unwavering affinity for Superman. For those of you that share the same, or even those who give Supes books a try on occasion, I highly recommend this week’s issue of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #16, subtitled: Past, Present, & Future. The self-contained, yet still episodic structure of the story, is well executed. Where many creators might attempt a similar “through-the-ages” book and brush lightly on each decade, this creative team gracefully highlights the changes Big Blue has undergone, yet tapped into the constant: his optimism within any circumstance. The book serves as a reminder that we should never stop believing in our ability to overcome, no matter how near the edge of destruction we are. (*side note: almost missed in the brief cameo by Batman, dude’s totally dual-wielding some 30′s era pistols. Oh, Bats…). Take off with ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #16!
Talk about another self-contained issue, this next might be the most polished, dense one-shot I’ve come across. Which one-shot you ask? I’m talking about JAEGIR from the creators/world of 2000 AD! This book was definitely a slow burn. At first, I thought I was going to lose interest, but that was my not being prepared for so much in one issue. Gordon Rennie pulls a slight-of-hand in the script that manages to give you almost a full war-time history, character introductions with backstory, action-sequences that move from set-piece to set-piece, and an epic conclusion that leaves you saying, “…but wait, we’re getting more of this right?” The art from Simon Colby is positively brutal. His own artistic play within past and present tense storytelling should not go unrecognized, as the parallels drawn are completely enjoyable. Well done, JAEGIR team!
Last, but not least, we have the moment we’ve been waiting for. Week to week for some time now, we’ve slowly watched as the covers of WOLVERINE have progressively destroyed that short fella’s right hand, promising, counting down the months he had to die. Well…..SPOILER ALERT……………….I’M NOT KIDDING, I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU WHETHER HE DIES OR NOT, AND I’M GIVING YOU PLENTY OF TIME TO STOP READING/GIVING YOU ENOUGH SPACE BETWEEN THE ALERT AND THE REVEAL SO YOUR EYES DON’T ACCIDENTLY SEE IT AND THEN YOU FIND OUT HARRY WAS A HORCRUX ALL ALONG. OK….HERE WE GO…wolverine doesn’t die. Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt to. A fantastic marketing ploy, odd payoff. Did I need to see him die? Not really, because then I would have had to then accept an odd coming-back-from-the-dead story, which are always harder to pull off then the catharsis of killing the character. I think Marvel could have gotten away with killing him off though. We don’t have another Wolverine movie or cameo coming out for a while, kill him off. Keep him dead long enough till we miss him desperately, then bring him back. It doesn’t have to be Bucky or Barry Allen level of years gone, but something. Could they kill him off next week, sure. That would be weird, but sure. This issue just felt very much ado about nothing. I’m sure, in the same regard to Taxi Driver, and both Dark Knight Rises and Breaking Bad, the fan theory that Wolverine actually did die could be teased out, as his waking up in the hospital are some of the most idyllic panels of a Wolverine book to date, but that would only hold weight with the plot points of the next issue.
It isn’t often that I take the time to touch on an issue I didn’t have a positive experience with, but take this as an invitation for the diehard Wolverine fans, who will never stop buying, to come into the store and chat with me about it, because I’m sure we’ll have words to say.
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