It shows how things change that Kim Deitch’s SHADOWLAND graphic novel was originally an “underground” comic but now could fit into Vertigo without any difficulty. A very entertaining, quirky work centering around a group of carnies and the various characters—hookers, killers, ETs, a movie star—in their orbit. Fun, but not easy to synopsize.
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: Alpha and Omega by Brian Woods, Mark Brooks, and Roland Boschi has arrogant teenage psi Quentin Quire, AKA Kid Omega, trying to settle a score with Wolverine by trapping him and the mutant Armor in a dystopian mindscape. But then it turns out he can’t shut it down … Stories where people are struggling in an illusion/mindscape/dreamworld are a tough sell for me and this didn’t come anywhere near closing the deal.
WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY by Gail Simone and Neil Googe is a fun TPB set in a small town where many of the world’s super-heroes have retired to settle down and raise a family. But could one of them have killed super-detective Mr. Articulate? Is it one of their power-inheriting descendants? And how exactly are they looking so young, anyway? Enjoyable, and I love the in-joke of the Authority as a Saturday morning kids cartoon.
Turning to regular books, THE LAW OF SUPER-HEROES by James Daily and Ryan Davidson (attorneys and bloggers at Law and the Multiverse) serves a double purpose: using legal issues in comics to explain real-world law (can J. Jonah Jameson be sued for libel? Does patent law protect Tony Stark’s Iron Man technology?) and to look at legal issues created by comics stories: is the Joker sane enough to stand trial (probably)? Do mutants have legal rights against discrimination (probably)? Could the MU US government really draft super-heroes (very likely)? How would the courts treat a super-hero who came back from the dead (not as complicated as I’d have thought)? My only real reservation is that the section on how super-hero groups could organize (partnership, LLC, corporation) ignores teams such as Power Company and Infinity Inc. that have done so—and generally I’d have liked more of a look at superheroes-for-hire and the laws that might surround that. This aside, first rate (and probably very useful in some future writing projects).
A TALENT FOR THE INVISIBLE by Ron Goulart has an invisible US agent in the far-future world of 2020 investigate the mysterious Mad Scientist resurrecting people the US has assassinated. This is a fun, absurdist future and a light-hearted romp though it never quite lives up to its premise. One weak point is that the Pretty Spy on the case has no purpose other than love interest.