Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Supernatural Caledonia #1 review, Mystic #3 review, Static Shock #2 review

Comic Book Wednesday
Issue #21
Part One (of Two)

Before I get to my reviews, give me a minute to geek out. I went to my local comic shop this morning (Cosmic Comics in Oceanside, NY) and saw the new PREVIEWS book. Naturally, I did what any pretentious comic writer would do. I picked it up to see if it had anything I'd written was featured inside.

I defy you with my Super Work Boots!

Sure enough, my two Zenescope comics coming out in December were solicited. Check it out! My Grimm Fairy Tales: Holiday Special 2011 book is on the left. On the bottom right, Zenescope has featured my upcoming 1000 Ways to Die graphic novel.


For those interested in orders these, they're on pages 336 and 337 of this month's PREVIEWS, and they'll be in store December 2011. If you like this blog, if you like comics, if you like me, if you like gingers, or if you like (insert something that you like right here - doesn't matter if it's relevant), these books are for you!

Now that that utterly shameless self-promotion is out of the way... let's get to the reviews.

Supernatural: Caledonia #1
The Dogs of Edinburgh - Part 1 of 2
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Grant Bond
DC Comics

I was wondering where this series had been hiding.

DC's Wildstorm imprint had been publishing Supernatural comics pretty steadily for a while. They mostly focused on John Winchester, telling tales set before the TV series. Most of the stories were straight horror, which evoked a similar feel to the first season. Thing about Supernatural, though, is that it's the most improved series on television. It started as a pretty straight-faced horror anthology show, but had developed into an epic story of two brothers looking destiny in the face and saying "Screw you." It's currently one of the funniest, most engaging, and daring shows on TV. While the comic was always entertaining, it never really lived up to the incredibly high standard the show set.

Until now.

Fans of the show should be warned, though, that the comic is still not much like the show in tone. It takes place before the series, but this time it focuses on Sam Winchester. Thing is, I like that its tone is different from the show. The comic managed to snag acclaimed comic book writer Brian Wood for the scripts, and it's clear from this issue that Wood is more interested in building atmosphere, character, and the emotion than he is in the action in which the older comics reveled. The plot is simple: Sam Winchester goes to Edinburgh, Scotland on a university trip and ends up meeting Emma, a fellow hunter (Scot's call 'em "breakers"), who shows him around. There's a wonderful scene with a ghostly funeral procession, but it's more atmospheric and romantic than creepy... and I think that's wonderful.

Brian Wood and Grant Bond (the incredible artist, who does pencils, inks, and colors for this issue) are telling a daringly different Supernatural story... and if you watch the show, isn't that what the writers are all about?

Can't recommend this highly enough to fans of the show, Brian Wood, or just comics readers. It's completely new-reader-friendly, and just really, really rocks. I'd love for this to become an on-going.

Mystic #3
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Pencils by David Lopez
CrossGen Comics

Either I love magic in an academic setting (The Name of the Wind and Harry Potter FTW), or this series is quality storytelling. I'm thinking the latter.

Mystic is one of the best comics on the shelves. For the past three months, I've enjoyed the hell out of this funny and compelling story that's different from everything on the shelves. There has been a lot of talk about the misrepresentation of women in comics recently (particularly but not limited to superhero comics), and I think Mystic is just the antidote for that. The leads are two young women that read like - you won't believe this - actual young women. These are characters that you want to root for, that you can sympathize with, and that manage to be pretty and appealing without even coming close to being objectified.

Enough about comic book politics in a post-Red Hood and the Outlaws word, though. This is just a damn good story by an excellent writer and an excellent artist that should be at the top of your pull list. The final page made me hunger for next month's issue, but it also made me a bit sad. The words "to be concluded" are at the bottom. #4 will be the final installment. I hope that another storyline follows this one, and that the G. Willow Wilson & David Lopez team comes back to give us more of these characters and this world.

Static Shock #2
Written by Scott McDaniel and John Rozum
Art by Scott McDaniel
DC Comics

I found the first issue of Static Shock to be one of the best of the New 52. The second issue doesn't quite live up to that, but it was still a fun read. The dialogue is weak in parts, though, which wasn't an issue in the first installment. A scene where Static talks to himself for an entire page, soliloquy style, was pretty painful - it would've been fine if those were thought captions, but it just makes Static appear to be a mouth for the writer's exposition.

The plot develops nicely, though, as the Slate Gang races to kill Static for their bosses. And we also get a very cool surprise appearance of the Joker and a strange, and maybe promising development with Static's sister. It's a very busy book with a lot of action and a break-neck pace, but I think the dialogue in general could've done with a good brush up. That aside, though, I look forward to the next issue. I read that co-writer John Rozum left the series, but I wonder how much of these he wrote and who will take over the writerly reigns.

Anyway, this was a good read, Static is a great protagonist, the villains are fun, and the action is top notch. I hope this book makes it in the long-run, because Static is one of the coolest heroes to come out of DC.


Thanks for reading, all! Catch you tomorrow.

TOMORROW: Action Comics, Detective Comics, Batwing.

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