Sunday, April 17, 2005

New comics 4/13

Fables #36 (Bill Willingham/Mark Buckingham, DC/Vertigo)
It's nice to have Buckingham back on art, and to get back to the main story. This promises to be another momentous arc, like "March of the Wooden Soldiers," with the fables taking on the Adversary and, presumably, finally finding out who it is. Willingham writes some nice banter between the goblin soldiers at the beginning of the issue and really gives a good sense of what the homeland is like under the Adversary's rule with just a few scenes. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this is headed.

Mnemovore #1 (Hans Rodionoff & Ray Fawkes/Mike Huddleston, DC/Vertigo)
Rodionoff wrote the surprisingly well-received Man-Thing mini-series for Marvel recently, and there's an interesting concept behind this series, so I had high hopes for it. It's really hard to find genuinely creepy and well-done horror in comics, and this does a good job, with the story of an amnesiac snowboarder who discovers a strange creature that steals people's memories. Rodionoff and Fawkes create both an effective human drama about trying to pick up the pieces of one's life after a trauma, and a disturbing story about a Lovecraftian creature that preys on a deep-seated human fear. Huddleston's art is atmospheric and dark, and his painted cover is awesome. The concept could take a turn for the silly in later issues, but for now I'm intrigued.

Noble Causes #9 (Jay Faerber/Fran Bueno, Image)
Kind of a quiet issue with not much going on, as the cliffhanger from last issue of the robot Liz is essentially dispatched in the previouslies, and the alien planet storyline kind of stagnates. There is some interesting character development for Celeste, who's been relegated to the background for much of the series, but overall this highlights one of the drawbacks of the soap-style approach: Plots move very slowly.

Powers #10 (Brian Michael Bendis/Michael Avon Oeming, Marvel/Icon)
This, on the other hand, from the master of decompression, moves very quickly, and makes it clear that Deena's developing powers, rather than the murders of Blackguard and the Joke, are the real focus of this arc. Maybe it's a zeitgeist thing, but I found it interesting that the solution to the mystery in this issue involves a similar motivation to the killer in Identity Crisis. Once again we have the wife of a hero who can't take not being the center of attention, who has a pathological need to be part of the superhero life, and is willing to go to questionable extremes to get it. Once she crosses that line, her tactics end up backfiring and spiraling out of control into murder. There are a lot of difference between this story and Identity Crisis, but I found it interesting that the idea of a mentally unstable superhero wife has now played prominently into two major stories in mainstream comics in the last few months.

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