Graphic novels

NEMO: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill is a so-so entry in the League of Extraodinary Gentleman series. Following a battle with Ayesha of Kor, Nemo’s daughter Janni leads the Nautilus to Antarctica where they encounter HP Lovecraft’s lost alien city from At the Mountains of Madness, pursued by grown-up boy inventors Tom Swyft, Frank Reade and Jack Wright (I presume Tom isn’t spelled “swift” because he’s still under copyright). The usual in-jokes, but I felt like it didn’t amount too much—Janni isn’t as interesting as her dad and the inventors aren’t big enough names now to provoke much interest (and at times it felt like Moore was venting his distaste for them, like for Harry Potter in Century: 2009)
BATMAN: City of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo follows up Court of Owls as the sinister Court of Owls launches an all-out attack on Batman and his allies, only to find, of course, it’s harder to defeat the Darknight Detective than it looks. Good, though the Court lost most of its interest for me when it went from being a decadent cult of Gothamites (as it is here) to a worldwide conspiracy in later stories (because I’ve seen way too many of those).
I’d never heard of the British super-villain the Spider before reading Albion, but he has enough of a rep, it seems, that simultaneous with that series, Titan Books released KING OF CROOKS, a collection of his first three adventures by Ted Cowan, Reg Bunn and Jerry Siegel (some ads credited Siegel as the Spider’s creator, presumably to boost interest from American readers). I can see why he became a cult item (he’s much closer to a DC or Marvel villain than what I remember reading Britcomics growing up), and the stories are quite entertaining as the Spider mixes ruthless ambition to become King of Crime with taking time out to defeat rival villains such as the villainous illusionist Mirror Man. The Siegel material is weaker than the Cowan stuff, but overall an entertaining read, nicely drawn.
Eric Powell’s The Goon debuts in THE GOON: Rough Stuff as he struggles against both the zombie priest plotting to take over his cities but federal agents seeking to take down the Goon’s boss. Amusing enough, but the Goon’s never clicked with me the way he does a lot of people.
UNWRITTEN: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words by Mike Carey and Peter Gross has Tommy finally take the fight to the Cabal by tapping his fictional counterpart’s magical abilities; in alternating chapter, we learn what the Cabal’s enforcer Pullman has been doing through the centuries. Last time I read this series, I complained the Cabal’s goals were kind of mundane; it turns out that’s because even they don’t know what’s really going on. This clears up a lot of mysteries, except where it can possibly go from here. Great installment though (cover art by Yuko Shimizu, all rights reserved to current holders)


Filed under Comics, Reading

6 responses to “Graphic novels

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