Yeah, yeah, I know it's not Wednesday. It's Saturday, and a lot of the books I'm reviewing are comics that I didn't get a chance to get to last week. This feature of the blog will continue to be a regular thing, but with two dayjobs and a freelance writing career, I've got my priorities. Hopefully, you'll still tune in.
And speaking of tuning in, Dan Roth (Angel, Brentalfloss, Buffyfest) has an awesome comics blog that you should check out if you have the time. We often have the same opinion about comics (except when he's wrong, obviously). He also buys a hell of a lot more comics than I do, so if you're looking for a book that I'm not covering, it's likely reviewed in his blog.
Now for something way, way cooler than reviewing comics. Here is a comic. It's written and drawn by Jae Korim (Neozoic), a fantastic artist that I am currently collaborating with on a comic called 70 x 7. Fans of indie comics should check out his new, fourteen page webcomic, Bloodkissing. It's really great, and I'm decently sure this dude is going to be a big name in comics very, very soon.
Read it here or click the picture below.
I just finished working on a script and an outline for an awesome artist whose name I won't say out of fear of jynxing it. But that is done, for now, and I'm able to do some quick coverage of the books you should be reading... and a few of the ones that you should avoid.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine #3
Freefall – Part Three
Written by Andrew Chambliss
Pencils by Georges Jeanty
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Dark Horse Comics
I've been rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my fiancee, who is a first time viewer. She's been an Angel fan, so she knows the 'verse, but it's amazing sitting with her as she goes through the big moments for the first time. Last night, Angelus murdered Jenny Calendar and a grief-stricken Giles sought revenge. So yeah, we're in the thick of some of the best that BtVS has to offer. So it's saying quite a bit that, when I read this comic, I feel like I'm watching the show. It has completely lost the "this is a comic, let's do big budget crazy things!" feel and we're back to the mode of storytelling that worked for seven years of amazing television.
In this issue, Buffy learns more about Severin (whose name makes me think Joss loved the Harry Potter books), who is the mysterious man behind the strange vampire murders. He has been sucking the life out of vampires, turning them into dead human bodies instead of dust. We're introduced to some new mythology with the creatures dubbed "Zompires" by Xander. These are what happens when vampires try to sire someone in a Buffyverse with no seed. Since there is no dimension from which demons can pass over to possess the newly vamped bodies, the shiny new vamps are feral and pretty damn ugly. Severin has apparently lost a girlfriend this way, and ever since he's been waging a one-man war to stop vampires who are still siring. It's interesting, and the way Buffy and her buddies deal with it is classic Scooby Gang stuff. However, it's worth mentioning that there is a harsh divide between Buffy and her friends. However, it isn't like the divide in Season Eight where they're all over the world. We still see them operating as one unit - it's just that this is a very dysfunctional unit.
There are great twists and turns along the way, but one of the highlights here is something that is always a highlight... and that's Spike. Chambliss does a wonderful job with this character, and there just absolutely needs to be a spin-off. Paging Brian Lynch...
A Breath of Broken Glass
Written by Gail Simone
Pencils by Ardian Syaf
I’ve been looking to drop books. While I’ve been enjoying this series a lot, I was honestly considering cutting the monthly series from my pull-list and picking it up in trade after the disappointing #2. Not anymore.
Despite the contrived villain Mirror, the story just works. And I know, I know, the villain's motives contribute to the theme as well as Barbara's personal issues, but I feel like it's all a bit obvious and spoonfed for it to really sing. However, the focus of this issue steers away from Mirror and centers on a confrontation/flirtation/fight/thing between Batgirl and Nightwing, who just have the best damn chemistry in the DCU. Their exchange is beautifully written, and shows that Gail Simone is one of the best at writing internal monologue that contributes to scenes instead of bogging them down. This is easily the best issue of the series.
Dollhouse: Epitaphs #5
Story by Andrew Chambliss, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen
Script by Andrew Chambliss
Pencils by Cliff Richards
This series was... I'm not sure how to describe it. A few of the issues were really great, while the others didn't work at all. This is sort of in the middle, though slightly leaning toward the latter because of Cliff Richards' art which just doesn't work with the series. The writing isn't even close to the level of quality that Chambliss is hitting with Buffy, but those characters have a wealth of backstory so the series is, of course, richer. Nothing is really added to these characters, though. The end is pretty cool and sets up a promising story for whatever Dollhouse comics come next... but I'll be buying those in trade. There are a lot of stories left to tell in this universe - that much is clear. While these stories are likely worth reading, the hit/miss quality of this series makes it a risky buy as a monthly comic.
Action Comics #3
World Against Superman
Written by Grant Morrison
Pencils by Rags Morales and Gene Ha
Now this is just good stuff. Action Comics continues to be a fun read, which is some feat seeing as this issue focuses mostly on the devastating destruction of Krypton. The threat that decimated Superman's home planet seems to have come to Earth in some capacity, and while we know all is going to be well (I mean, Superman #1 takes place five years after this), Morrison manages to make the threat genuinely scary. $3.99 is a hefty price for this, seeing as the extras focus on the much less interesting Superman series, but the storytelling is up there with the best of the New 52, so if you have the extra bucks, give this book a shot.
Green Lantern #3
Sinestro – Part Three
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Doug Mahnke
Geoff John's Green Lantern #3 keeps up the trend of solid DC books. This is an improvement over the already solid #1 and #2 because the space drama is done better than the human drama, and that’s showcased here. Sinestro is fascinating, and it's easy to sympathize with him, laugh with him, and hate him. Hal is typically douchey, but not nearly as irritating as he is in Justice League. I want the Secret Origin Hal that I root for because I empathize with his history and motivation, and I hope (and think) Johns will get him to that point. For now, though, Sinestro is holding my interest captive. While this book offers a much needed break from the uber-decompressed Geoff Johns we’ve been getting, there are still small moments like Sinestro bursting into laughter when Hal says “Don’t think you’re better than me” that enhance this story.
Oh, and... I won't give much away, but the twist is one of the best cliffhangers of the year. It's one of those shocking "how the hell do we fix this?" moments that I know will likely be fixed within the first few pages of #4, but damn - way to get the reader hooked.
Batman and Robin #3
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils by Patrick Gleason
This series has a slow boil, and I like that. The relationship between Damian and Bruce is increasingly complicated and thus increasingly interesting. There's some great Alfred stuff, and I like the fact that the villain is sort of the embodiment of the "why let villains live?" logic that has been shooting around the superhero books - especially Batman's comics, which have the most fucked up villains - for years now. It's interesting drama, and makes this the second best of the many Batman books in the relaunch. While you won't get the thematically driven, complex narrative of Scott Snyder's Batman series, this is a quiet, emotional and cerebral book that satisfies while whetting the readers' appetites for next month.
Detective Comics #3
Written and drawn by Tony S. Daniel
While it isn’t as enjoyable as Batman and Robin or as complex as Batman, Detective is – at the very least – a lot better than it was last month. Now that's not saying much, I know, but seeing as this title is so iconic... it's worth picking up. For now. It’s creepy and… well, detectivey. Watching Batman solve the case is the most interesting bit; when DC has got Batman going up against silly villains like Two Face Who Is Now "One Face" For Some Reason in other books, this comic serves as a reminder that Bruce Wayne is the best detective in the fucking world. The comic has a cool and strange end, which is a hell of a lot more interesting than the disturbing cliffhangers Tony S. Daniel usually loves so much. It's not great, it's just... pretty good.
Static Shock #3
Written by Scott McDaniel and John Rosum
Pencils by Scott McDaniel
Annnnd now I'm sad. I enjoyed the first one so much - hell, it was one of the best of the New 52. The second issue, however, just wasn’t good. After this third installment, I'm dropping it. Dialogue is stilted, the characters are annoying, the "my sister has a copy, which is which!?" plot is boring, and the group of Tron-esque villains trying to snuff Static aren't at all engaging. I can't believe this book quickly went from the top of my pull list to something that I wanted to stop reading a few pages into the issue.
We Have Blood on Our Hands
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Ben Oliver
I thought long and hard about this book, but I'm going to drop it as well. The second issue was really good, and this month's installment was mostly fine. The story was mostly just a big fight, and while the history of these characters is very interesting, it’s not enough to keep me coming back on a month-to-month basis. I'll certainly read this in trade, but I just don't have the cash to invest in books that don't give me that can't-wait-to-read-it feeling.
Thanks for reading, thanks for your patience, and thanks for checking out Jae's comic. Pretty badass, no?
NEXT WEEK: Batman #3, Birds of Prey #3, Ghostbusters #3, Justice League #3, Nightwing #3, Supergirl #3.