Comic-book TPBs (#SFWApro)

Catching up on some of the ones I’ve read recently—THE ESCAPISTS by Brian Vaughn and multiple artists is a tribute of sorts to Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay: A teenage fan of Kavalier and Klay’s super-hero the Escapist, gets the rights to the series and tries to relaunch it as an indie book, but runs into both personal and business challenges along the way. This is mildly entertaining but “struggles of young creative person” is too well-plowed a field for this to really work for me.
DIGGER, Vol. 5 by Ursula Vernon has Digger, Murai, Shadowchild and Grim Eyes the hyena head off on a quest to find the secret of freeing the Chained God they found last TPB. Needless to say, it’s not only a physically challenging trip but with the usual clash of personalities and cultures (“I am amazed a species with so little romance in its soul survives to reproduce at all.”). Very good, as usual—in case you’re wondering I’ll be reading the final volume online so I probably won’t review it here.
NOWHERE MEN: Fates Worse Than Death by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellair never amount to anything more than a standard mad-scientist tale about crazy scientists turning the International Space Station crew into their guinea pigs. Despite the creators’ efforts to make this something cooler and cleverer, it isn’t.
BIRDS OF PREY: A Clash of Daggers by Duane Swierczynski and Romano Molenaar (cover by Trevor McCarthy, rights with current holder) has a Japanese ninja cult steal Katana’s soul sword, which sends her and the blades to Japan to get it back. Black Canary’s backstory still confuses me, but as usual for this, this was a fun read (which spins off Katana into her own series).
BATMAN: Gotham County Line by Steven Niles and Scott Hampton has Batman heading outside city limits to investigate a ritual serial killer plotting to raise the dead. Uninspired
SUPERMAN/BATMAN: Night and Day by multiple creators has a great opening story as the World’s Greatest Team is trapped in a weird alternate world and a fun Supergirl/Robin team-up. The Man-Bat story that finishes the issue, though, shows his role as Tormented Monster is thoroughly tapped out. Still the good stuff is very enjoyable.
KILL SHAKESPEARE Vol. 2 by Andy Belanger wraps up the series original arc (they’re trying to kickstart Vol. 3) as Hamlet and Juliet hunt down Shakespeare in the hope his divine powers can save England from the combined schemes of Richard III and Lady Macbeth. Actually stronger than the first volume as Shakespeare’s characters interact in ways the Bard never imagined.

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