Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Comic Book Wednesday #4

Comic Book Wednesday

Issue #4

Fly #1
Written by Raven Gregory
Pencils by Eric J
Zenescope Entertainment

Longtime Zenescope writer Raven Gregory and artist Eric J bring the first issue of this deeply personal, allegorical tale about addiction to comic shops today. While, on its surface, Fly seems to be a classic story about what the abuse of true power can do to a person, the true meat of the story is in the allegory of drug use and how the simple choices that people make on any average day can lead to the destruction of their future.

The comic opens with Eddie, who has had a completely shitty day, running into a fiery red head who proceeds to physically obliterate him. She slams him into a wall, flies him hundreds of feet in the air, breaks his hand, and then comes down and throws him through the window like a toy. As he passes out and we turn the page, the gritty and dark art of the opening scene is gone and replaced with the bright, cartoony, wide-eyed pages of the rest of the issue: a flashback. The flashback shows the readers Eddie's first step onto the road that will lead toward his present situation. It's a clever, revealing, and witty (the Vaughan-esque pun that ends the issue made me grin) tale from Raven Gregory that shows that some of the best stories are made of the pain, struggles, and even healing of the writers. The article at the end about the events that inspired this comic is a great read as well. Highly recommended for those looking for an excellent and very human creator owned book now that Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina have both finished up.

Flashpoint #1 and #2
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Andy Kubert
DC Comics

I wasn't sure if I should buy this series. I can't afford to pick up more than four or five comics a week, and Flashpoint has been advertised as having more tie-ins than any crossover event in DC history. Not really affordable for me, and I'm the kind of guy that likes the full story. Well, it's been announced that the fallout of this crossover will reboot the entire DC Universe, making the history move of dialing back the long-running series and introducing fifty-five #1 issues in September. That right there made Flashpoint a must read.

While, in a perfect world, I'd have the money and the time to get all of the Flashpoint related issues, that isn't an option right now. Thankfully, though, Geoff John's excellent writing makes Flashpoint easy to understand without even knowing any of the side stories. We, the reader, experience the world of Flashpoint as Barry Allen does. Some of the biggest shocks include that Wonder Woman and Aquaman are at war with each other and are ruthlessly destroying Europe in the process, Superman seems to not exist, and Batman is Thomas Wayne.


The book assumes a decent amount of DC Universe knowledge for some of the big reveals to really matter, but anyone who follows two or three DC books should be able to understand this with no problem. Johns' storytelling is top notch as always, and Kubert's art is at once chaotic and clear. Both issues were full of surprises, emotional moments, and some damn good action.

I'm so ready for #3.

Screamland #1
Written by Harold Sipe & Christopher Sebela
Art by Lee Leslie
Image Comics

Started off with a creator owned book, so let's end with one. This was one of those books that I saw on the shelf and just grabbed, having heard nothing about it. I found out, upon coming home, that there was a miniseries that came before this issue, and I sort of wish I had read that to get a better feel for the characters. This issue does do a good job of setting up the situation (monsters haven't been getting jobs because Hollywood is hiring good-looking teens to play their parts, a Creature from the Black Lagoon type monster named Devil Fish has killed himself, Invisible Man wants to screen a sex tape that the monsters recorded in the seventies, and our protagonists--a werewolf named Gary and a seemingly normal dude named Travis--want to stop him) and introducing the characters, but that's all it seems to do. It's funny and intriguing enough for me to pick up a second issue, but the cover and the plot blurb on the inside made this seem like it would be a balls out hilarious read. It was good, but not that. I'm always happy to support creator owned projects, and Image Comics tend to put out great titles, so I have enough faith to pick up the second part of this series.

NOTE: It includes a back-up story that, while very somber, might be the best part of this issue. I didn't read it at first, because the "Next Time on Screamland" page that precedes it made me think it was a preview, which I tend to not read. Don't make the same mistake. Very good short.

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