Awash with a miasma of depression and illness, I took a bus downtown after work and picked up some comics to sequester myself with while ailing at home.
Hellboy in Hell #2: Mike Mignola writing and drawing. I liked the first issue, as I’ve said, though I found it a little light, a little too quick to swallow. The second issue is much better, as Hellboy continues his journey through, well, Hell, and we’re introduced to more of Mignola’s version of the Infernal Regions. I like the conceit of the majority of Hell being emptied once demons heard HB was on his way, I like the recap of his birth—one thing I love about Mignola’s approach is how often HB is forced to suffer through completely diegetic flashbacks, it’s up there with the constant chatter of ghosts—and I liked the way Mignola ties it back to his Lovecraftian backstory for the world. I’m also really enjoying that he’s employing Dickens far more than he is Dante, having Hellboy escorted by “spirits” while A Christmas Carol plays out in the margins with puppets. It’s clean and dark and smooth, a lot meatier than the first issue, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Batman Incorporated #6: Grant Morrison & Chris Burnham. It’s pretty, first of all. Burnham was compared to Frank Quitely earlier, which is certainly there, but he’s far grittier in his line work (in the most visual sense). I love his approach to Damian. Meanwhile, the ongoing drama of Batman facing Leviathan, Talia Al Ghul’s Hydra-like globe-spanning criminal empire, continues. The past couple issues have felt a bit like wheel-spinning, whereas this one actually had some plot movement. Some. I am not exactly secretive about loving Morrison’s work—I think I drunkenly told some friends my Top Four Morrison Projects on New Year’s Eve—but I would hazard to say his work is getting a bit haggard in the mill of DC. Frankly, this plotline’s been spinning for, what, years now? And it feels no closer to resolution? I’m not even sure I could summarize what’s going on other than “Talia’s getting ready to take over the world! Eventually. Right? Right? Oh, and callously destroy Batman in the eyes of his son. Eventually.” There’s just too much eventually going on. My interest in DC’s current crop dwindles a little more all the time, and the couple books I’m still apparently picking up are just a habit. Is it a bad habit? Probably. Of the four books I purchased this week, Batman Incorporated was the most comfortable but least satisfying, which sort of summarizes how I feel about the Big Two in general these days. All that said, though, it features Beryl Hutchinson, the Squire, who is one of my favourite Morrison characters.
Glory #31: Joe Keatinge wrote, Ross Campbell drew. Glory is continuing to be be one of the best new books out there, everybody’s written the “I can’t believe what they’re doing with terrible old Liefield characters” pieces, it’s good. After quite a few brutally bloody chapters with Glory making her way to take down her father, the evil demonic entity Lord Silverfall, this was a left-field plot turn that also did a good job of filling in backstory. I continue to love Glory’s foul-mouthed sister, Nanaja. Campbell’s artwork is beautiful, and the script has obvious parallels to Kill Bill and the turn in the second film. The slow-down felt like it gave us an opportunity for some character work, and now I’m craving more from the human characters, Gloria and Riley, surrounded by this fantastical demigods constantly killing each other only to have to do it all over again. The issue had a nice effect too, in that it makes me want to reread the whole series to date, really soak the story in. If you like big warrior women and are bored of Wonder Woman, you should probably check it out.
Prophet #32: Simon Roy both wrote and drew the lead feature, another heavily narrated Euro-SF tangent in the overarching “Earth Empire” saga that Brandon Graham and his collaborators have been growing. I loved the simple twist of the gender-knife in making John Ka, the latest cloned Prophet, female, particularly as Roy made no attempt to explain why it would be necessary to vary the genders of your cloned-from-one-man super-soldiers as they crash through time and space. I’m a sucker for the stories where one John meets another, and I appreciated the darker aspects of the Earth Empire showing themselves. Again, like with Glory, I want to reread the whole thing and take it in as a big gulp. Of special note! The back-up feature is written and drawn by Daniel Irizarri, one of my followers and a gentleman that I’ve been wooing about some illustration work for Strawberry World. It’s a simple, quick little back-up feature but Daniel’s colours are absolutely gorgeous and it left me wanting more of the characters and the situation. You should totally pick it up for the sake of supporting Tumblr artists and artists of quality.
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