Comic books! (#SFWApro)

MANHATTAN PROJECTS by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra is an alt.1930s history in which General Groves, the ramrod of the Manhattan Project, is actually using that as a front for the really bizarre scientific research he has in mind, helped by Albert Einstein and a multiple personality Robert Oppenheimer. Hickman’s writing (he also wrote the New Avengers I reviewed recently) feels like Grant Morrison light, playing with wild scientific concepts but unable to shape them into a gripping story.
HELLBLAZER: Staring at the Wall by Mike Carey, Marcelo Frusín and Doug Alexander Gregory worked much better than the last collection I read, because for once the ultra-cocky John Constantine’s smug conviction he can handle anything comes back to bite him. For centuries, the one beast never named by Adam in the garden of Eden has stalked the human unconscious, trying to destroy us. Now Constantine has a plan to deal with it, but it goes horribly wrong … Well done.
ACES: Curse of the Red Baron by Shannon Denton and G. Willow Wilson has a couple of Allied aces in World War I discover a fabulous treasure hidden by the Red Baron. Unfortunately hunting the treasure not only brings them face-to-face with the legendary sky fighter but with a secret cabal out to make the Great War so terrible it will truly be a war to end all wars. This isn’t really bad, but it never caught fire for me.
Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom by Lauren Beukes, Bill Willingham and Inaki Miranda is no match for the previous collection, possibly because most of the volume is by Beukes (Willingham’s story is one of his lesser efforts though). Set during the early years of the Fables series, this has Rapunzel visiting Japan in the hopes of finding her long-lost children, only to stumble into a web of intrigue and deception involving the Japanese Fables’ internecine wars. The tangle of feuds and revenge never really came together, leaving me confused about who was who and why they were who.
SHOWCASE PRESENTS AQUAMAN vol. 2 shows the Sea King’s Silver Age series gaining strength. This period introduced Mera, an alien undersea queen who became Aquaman’s love, wife and mother of his child (well before Reed and Sue Richard tied the knot or had a baby) and saw much more action than most love interests in this era. It also starts the development of Aquaman’s Rogue’s Gallery with the debut of the Fisherman (followed by Black Manta, the Scavenger, Ocean Master and O.G.R.E.) and a bunch of generally entertaining stories. Surprising given that Jack Miller, who did such a poor job with Rip Hunter, Time Master, did most of them.
UNWRITTEN: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice by Mike Carey and Peter Gross is a flashback stand-alone special that retells the story of the first of the best-selling Tommy Taylor books plus showing author Wilson Taylor plotting how to use both the books and his newborn son Tommy to defeat Pullman and the Cabal. Definitely not for someone who hasn’t read the regular Unwritten series, but entertaining, though I’m not sure I buy the Tommy Taylor books as the best-sellers they are in-series (then again, would I have guessed how big Harry Potter was going to be?).
DETECTIVE COMICS: Faces of Death by writer/illustrator Tony Daniel has a new villain called the Dollmaker engaged in monstrous experiments (including carving the Joker’s face off for reasons not revealed so far in the series) and targeting Batman for a new guinea pig. Meanwhile the Penguin plots to get rid of an annoying female reporter, unaware her crooked sister has set him up as a target. This one is competent, but it didn’t grab me; I think part of the problem is that the Penguin as a generic gang boss is kind of dull (which isn’t Daniel’s fault as that’s been status quo for a while).

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One response to “Comic books! (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Books and TPBs (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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