Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Supergirl #67 review, Pariah #1 review, Mystic #1 review, Cloak and Dagger Spider Island #1 review

Comic Book Wednesday

Issue #14

Okay, let's get through this intro quickly, 'cause I've got a bunch of great comics to talk about. Before you read the review for the Supergirl finale, check out my blog entries covering the top five images of our modern Supergirl and the runners-up.

And now... here we go.

Supergirl #67
"This is Not My Life" - Part Three
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Pencils by ChrisCross
DC Comics

The finale of Supergirl is a blast. DeConnick's dialogue here is some of the wittiest I've read in a long while, which made the book a riot, and the climax of the plot is just so... well, cool. Supergirl, joined by the Silk Pajama Society, kicks the asses of (you guessed it) more robots and resident big bad Dr. Ivo. While the issue is almost flawlessly scripted, ChrisCross's pencils range from serviceable to atrocious. When Supergirl takes flight, it looks as if she just tripped and is about to fall on her face, which is bad enough, but the worst was that the facial expressions he gives characters took me out of the moment a handful of times - the worst instances were the two panels where he made Shirley look like an evil mannequin. It's sad, because Shirley had such great lines, but I was torn between rooting for her and worrying that she was going to go try to kill Doctor Who. This miniseries deserved a better artist, but thankfully the writing was strong enough that the bad pencils didn't completely ruin the story.

The issue (and the series... sniff) comes to a sweet end that reinforces the theme of the arc. I can only hope that DC will eventually get Kelly Sue back on the writerly reigns for Supergirl, because she is such a great fit. Her affection for the character shines through the pages, the supporting characters are charming, the action is great, and there's a goddamn Princess Bride reference. What a ride.

I normally don't do this, but what the hell. Here's a list of lines that made me acronym my ass off.

IVO: How do I look?
SUPERGIRL: Honestly? Like a horny toad at a Gundam convention.

GINGER GIRL: We're going to build a stun gun.
SHIRLEY: This is the best day of my entire life.

CHRIS: Lady, we were born ready.
SHIRLEY: Oh my God, I wanted to say that.

CHRIS: Y-you are made of awesome.
SHIRLEY: I know, right?

SHIRLEY (shooting the stun gun): Pew pew! Pew pew!

IVO: Impossible!
SUPERGIRL: I don't think that word means what you think it means, professor.

SUPERGIRL reboots to Issue #1 (along with 51 other DC titles) in September. The issue hits stands September 21st.

Aron Warner's Pariah #1
Written by Aron Warner & Philip Gelatt
Art by Brett Weldele
Sea Lion Books

I didn't plan on picking this up. I'd never heard of it. The cover grabbed my eye on the shelf, though, and I was intrigued by both the fantastic, strange art and the odd company logo. Sea Lion Books. Another instance of "never heard of 'em." I'm always up for a good creator-owned book, so I figured I'd give it a try.

Pariah #1 was decent. It's a high concept series set in 2025, following a group of "Vitros," which are essentially kids that are so intelligent that they are believed to pose a threat to the government. This first issue introduces Brent Marks, one of the Vitros, who struggles with his perception of normal people, how to handle the mixed signals a girl is sending him, and the never-ending stream of thoughts that race through his enhanced brain. After Vitros are suddenly (and a bit awkwardly) declared a terrorist cell, Brent finds himself with a whole set of new problems.

The issue suffers from a distinct lack of world-building. The concept isn't told to us in the context of the comic, but instead in a blurb on the inside cover. The odd, stylized art and the humanity of Brent's affection for his crush kept me interested, but I won't be picking up the subsequent issues. When all is said and done, I think I'll buy the TPB if the reviews are good, but this first issue gave so little to go on that I couldn't justify buying the series monthly.

Mystic #1
"The Tenth Apprentice"
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Pencils by David Lopez

This book looks so good. I saw the cover online last week and made it a point to pick it up based solely on the strength of that. I didn't follow the first Mystic series, but the cover was just so dynamic that I couldn't help myself. Stylistically, the art looks a bit Amanda Conner-y, which is pretty high praise considering how much I dig Conner's stuff. Now, the question is: Did the issue live up to my expectations?


A little bit Annie, a little bit Harry Potter, and a lotta bit Victorian steampunkery, Mystic #1 is a crazy, fun, and whimsical read. The writing is superb, the characters are already distinct and easy to love, the linework is great, and Nathan Fairbairn's colors add wonderfully to the light, magical atmosphere of the book. The tale throws a bunch of classic elements (orphan girls working for a cruel mistress, a commoner getting chosen to practice the noble art of magic, a rivalry that... okay, well, you'll see) together in this wonderful stew of a story. With this first issue, Mystic has already established itself as something that is unlike any other comic currently being published... so consider me belted in for the ride.

Cloak & Dagger: Spider Island #1
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Emma Rios
Marvel Comics

I don't know how this habit started, but I usually follow Marvel titles in trade and buy the singles of DC titles. When I heard that Nick Spencer, who penned the best comic I've read all year, was writing a fucking Cloak and Dagger miniseries, I knew I couldn't wait for the trade. Ever since their appearance in Brian K. Vaughan's Runaways, I've been hoping to see more C&D action from Marvel. They had a pretty decent role in Civil War, and now, thanks to Dan Slott's Spider Island event, they've got their own miniseries. This issue ties loosely into the event, opting to only include a quick brawl with those infected with the "Spidey-powers" and to focus more on the relationship between Cloak and Dagger. Spencer expertly boils down the essentials of their backstory, making this book accessible to new fans but not boring to folks who are well versed in their Cloak and Dagger lore. Spencer is clearly a hell of a lot more interested in who these characters are as people than he is in their considerably bad-ass powers, which is something that I think these the portrayal of these characters has been lacking in for quite some time.

The art is beautiful, reminding me of a mix of the covers of The Unwritten and the interiors of The Sandman (at their best, that is - as popular as that series is, it is wildly uneven art-wise). The panels are fluid, sometimes creatively borders by Cloak's... well, cloak; it isn't too artsy as to be hard to follow, though.

The series is narrated by inner monologue from the two lead characters. At first, they seem to in sync that they're finishing each other's unspoken sentences, but the issue really begins to sing when, through their thoughts, we see that though Cloak and Dagger care for each other, they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the other person is feeling. Especially for a series with such an out-there concept, this issue kicked off a very human story about desire, lack of fulfillment, and the divide between what it means to be normal and what it means to be extraordinary.

I want to read every letter Nick Spencer has ever written.



  1. I'm the same. I'm catching on my Marvel in trades and my DC's mostly in singles.

    I have a huge amount of affection for Kara/Supergirl as she was a big heroine of my childhood and as cheesy as the movie is - it was still a big favourite of mine.

    What are your thoughts on the DC reboot? I will admit I'm planning to jump on board with a few titles in September, but I still want to respect and honour what has gone before so I'll be picking up a few older trades as well.

  2. KELLY: I'm dubious about the reboot, but I can't say that it's not working from a marketing perspective. I mean, hey... I'm buying about fifteen of the new 52, just to follow the characters and creators I love. Scott Tipton, who wrote some great Angel stuff, did a great piece on why it might NOT work, though.
    Scroll down.

    And yeah, I'm not sure. Could be good, could be devastatingly bad. Time will tell.