Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Weekly Treats! Saga, Batman: Odyssey, Uncanny Avengers

The big, nay enormous release of the week should, I reckon, be Saga vol. 1 (Image) the ongoing series illustrated with a nice eye for colour by Fiona Staples and which sees the return of Brian K. Vaughan, away for too long after the success of Y The Last Man and Ex Machina. As the title suggests, Vaughan is going epic this time round as two soldiers from opposing sides of a galactic war fall in love and run away together along with their new baby. With bounty hunters and an army hunting them the story jumps around from planet to planet but without losing the the emotional core of new parents with no home. The telling of the tale is adult though, with swear words and frequent references to sex which I found sat uneasily amongst the a fairy tale style story. Still, it's imaginative and certainly has scope - the story is narrated in the past tense by the baby - so get in at the beginning.

How do you like your Batman? Super-sleuth? Dark and gritty and swathed in black? Personally, except for Batman Year One I'm partial to a bit of Neal Adams craziness; lean, pointy-eared, blue and grey. Adams defined Batman for a generation and recently he came back to tell one more story now collected in hardcover. Batman: Odyssey (DC) bristles with energy and ideas that we have no right to expect from a man that has been in the industry for 50-odd years. Both volumes of the series are included; that's thirteen issues of impeccably illustrated mayhem.

John Constantine has been in good health creatively and in two titles (the other being Justice League Dark). Hellblazer: The Devil's Trenchcoat (DC) by Peter Milligan & Giuseppe Camuncoli is the latest volume and finds our man in trouble when his niece auctions his signature trench coat. And speaking of Hellblazer, Crossed vol. 4 (Avatar) is written by two old hands. Chapters 1-3 entitled Badlands is written by Garth Ennis and chapters 4-9 entitled Homo Superior is written by Jamie Delano. Illustrators Jacen Burrows & Leandro Rizzo bring it to life in all it's nastiness so be warned: Don't flick through unless you're prepared to be offended...

But I can't leave the graphic novel round-up on such a dark note so here we have the re-release of the adaptation of The Hobbit (Del Ray) with lovely painted illustrations by David Wenzel. Ahh, that's better.

Marvel kick off the Marvel NOW! re-launches with Uncanny Avengers #1 by Rick Remender & John Cassaday which finds Captain America bravely beginning his quest to create a sanctioned Avengers unit comprised of Avengers and X-Men, humans and mutants working together - just don't mention the AvX war. Although if do you still have AvX on the brain there's AvX: Consequences #1 by Kieron Gillen & Tom Raney. And if the Avengers haven't felt beleaguered enough there's Marvel Universe vs. The Avengers #1 by Jonathan Maberry & Leandro Fernandez.

Elsewhere, from DC, there's Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #2 of 4 by J. Michael Straczynski & the well-received Adam Hughes - "Lightning never strikes the same place twice remember?" Also Team 7 #1 by Justin Jordan & Jesus Merino featuring early adventures of Deathstroke, Black Canary, Grifter, Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor and more and The Phantom Stranger #1 by Dan Didio & Brent Anderson. Finally, there's a rather special issue of Batman #13 you really should take a look at...

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