The side effect of being so productive at work, is less time to read, sigh.
THE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL by Stephen Collins is the story of Dave, an amateur artist in the utterly, irrationally orderly city of Here (in contrast to the feared chaotic realms of There) who discovers an unruly hair on his face that grows, and grows, and grows … Familiar themes of Order vs. Freedom, but entertainingly done, if not that deep.
THE SHADOW HERO by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew is a delightful story about Hank, a young man in Chinatown who becomes a reluctant super-hero, the Green Turtle, with the help of an elderly turtle spirit that used to live in his father’s shadow. Remarkably entertaining and charmingly goofy, this was inspired by an actual Golden Age hero who was reputedly the first Chinese super-hero in comics. According to legend, the creator and the publisher disagreed, which is why we never see the Turtle’s face in the old stories; there’s one reprinted here and it is remarkable how his face is constantly obscured. Cover art by Sonny Liew, rights with current holder.
SHAZAM by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank suffers from the same problem I had with Judd Winick’s Trials of Shazam, it’s a good story in its own right but it strays too far from the original. This has teenage Billy Batson become host for the power of magic in the modern world, drawing the wrath of his predecessor as Champion of Magic, the evil Black Adam (though we never really learn why he’s called “Black” Adam in this version). Another problem is that like most of the New 52 costume redesigns, this one stinks—it looks like both Adam and Shazam (as Cap is now labelled) are wearing hoodies.
COURTNEY CRUMRIN: The Night Things by Ted Naifeh tells how tween Courtney is forced to move with her obnoxious, social-climbing parents into their aging relative Aloysius’ spooky old house where the kid tumbles into the world of the supernatural. Naifeh seems to be shooting for the idea that childhood is haunted and nightmarish all by itself, but Courtney’s too unlikable an outsider for this to click with me.
FAIREST: In All the Land by Bill Willingham and multiple artists is the best book in the Fables world I’ve read in a while. Someone begins murdering the most beautiful women of the Fable community, so Cinderella is called in against her protests to investigate (“I’m a spy, not a detective. It’s a different skill set.”). What follows is thoroughly absorbing and one way or another, wraps up a number of character arcs, probably reflecting Fables itself winds up after a couple more TPBs.
A good job.