Tuesday 27 September 2011

Weekly Treats! Holy Terror, Hellboy, Suicide Girls & Daybreak

Well we made it; now the hard work begins. After gorging on number ones we now have to hack and slash our way to the top of the pile in order to decide which titles will journey with us to the next level; generaly known as issue two.  Mmm.  Well if you're having trouble deciding just spare a thought for comic shop managers across the world who are trying to second guess the order levels for the next three months!

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves because while we get the release of more flagship titles, argueably the so-called second string titles could turn out to be some of the strongest of the month.  There's been a creative shift at DC with some artists now trusted with the writing duties.  It worked for Tony Daniel on Detective Comics, and this week sees the return of David Finch to his Batman: The Dark Knight #1, untouched in the shake-up, and George Perez writing and providing layouts for Superman #1.  We've already seen Superman in two different stages of his new past (Action Comics and Justice League), but this one shows us the big man as he is here and now in the DC Universe.

 Also now writing as well as drawing is Francis Manapul on The Flash #1 which gets the variant treatment this week, as a hero who can almost be everywhere at once faces a villan who is.  Aquaman #1 gives the hero his own series again by Brightest Day creative team Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis and introduces The Trench (and if "Mr DC" Johns says The Trench are important then we should believe him).  Also returning to his own title is Savage Hawkman #1 which is written by Tony Daniel (and you know how much you liked Detective Comics). 

While every week seems, either by accident or design, to have a vague theme, this week there's darkness in the air. Justice League Dark #1 reminds us that it's all very well if Earth is invaded my super-powered hulks or aliens but who're we gonna call if magic-based demons threaten us? Shade The Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine make up this dark horse of a release.  Or how about I, Vampire #1 which sees a vampire keeping the world safe from supernatural horrors until his ex-lover, the Queen of the Damned breaks a truce between them?  I'd suggest that this could have been a Vertigo title except for the fact that the DCU is apparently caught in the middle of the war.  Then there's Voodoo#1: one for the boys or the latest in a line of DC female anti-heroes?


Want more? Brilliant #1 (Marvel) marks the return of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, the Ultimate Spider-Man power-team (more powerful than a normal team) about college-aged geniuses trying to scientifically unlock our potential with a view to becomming super-powered.  Warren Ellis's first issue was a done-in-one beauty so I recommend Secret Avengers #17 (Marvel) with art by Kev Walker and Thor #6 (Marvel) has Odin and Galactus ready to do battle with only Thor and Silver Surfer keeping them apart - cosmic.

And then there's this beast:

"I hope this book really pisses people off!" - Frank Miller

And no, it ain't Batman...

Also filling out yet another excellent graphic novel week are new collections Hellboy vol. 11 (Dark Horse) and the first comic outing for the infamous Suicide Girls (IDW). Not only that but the new Love & Rockets: New Stories vol. 4 (Fantagraphics), a series which, I think, has been improving with each volume.

But for something off the beaten track I recommend Brian Ralph's Daybreak (Drawn & Quarterly).  Not just another zombie book, this is a gentler piece that puts the reader directly in the scene.  Our guide through the zombie-ravaged world is a one-armed man (his favoured right arm is missing, just to add a note of tension) who talks directly to us, politely welcoming us to a place we'd rather not be.  I think the example below nicely illustrates the dramatic effectiveness of this device: suddenly you're not just investing in the lead character but your "own" welfare becomes a point of curiosity.


There's a nice, succinct review to see here and for Brian Ralph's website see here.

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