Sunday, October 23, 2005

New comics 10/19

Astro City: The Dark Age #4 (Kurt Busiek/Brent Anderson, DC/Wildstorm)
The first book of Busiek's four-part epic wraps up, and it really does tell a complete story, which is nice. This could be a completely self-contained mini-series and it would be a satisfying read, with a clever ending and some interesting takes on the relationship between heroes and those they save. At the same time, it clearly whets your appetite for more, and promises the full story to be a sprawling and definitive take on the dark underbelly of superheroes.

Runaways #9 (Brian K. Vaughan/Adrian Alphona, Marvel)
Vaughan connects the characters to the wider Marvel universe with guest stars Cloak and Dagger and the New Avengers, picks up on continuity from the previous volume and explores the characters' relationships further. That's pretty impressive for one issue. While I still think that the exit of Karolina was hasty, Vaughan doesn't forget about it, and with it simmering in the background I'm sure it'll become important again soon. As with Excelsior, Vaughan takes underused characters (in this case Cloak and Dagger) and makes them interesting and exciting, making this the perfect series to explore the little-seen corners of the Marvel universe.

She-Hulk Vol. 2 #1 (Dan Slott/Juan Bobillo, Marvel)
I had been planning to buy the second collection of the first volume of this series, but never got around to it. Still, this was perfectly easy to follow, thanks in part to that lost comic book tradition, the footnote. Slott does a good job of bringing new (or new-ish, like me) readers up to speed, and once again puts on a really fun balance of characterization and continuity. He utilizes not only events in the last volume of She-Hulk, but also recent developments in New Avengers and some characters from Young Avengers, to make for a book firmly steeped in the Marvel universe. It's also perfectly accessible and continues exploring the absurdity of superhuman law in a light and entertaining way. The only thing that annoyed me was Slott's meta-commentary on comics and trade paperbacks, which seemed out of place and sort of petty. Otherwise, a solid start to a new and hopefully more successful outing. Now I'll have to finally pick up that second trade.

The Surrogates #2 (Robert Venditti/Brett Weldele, Top Shelf)
This is shaping up to be a really interesting series, with an old-fashioned murder mystery woven into the sci-fi high concept. I like both elements. Venditti has created a rich futuristic world with a lot of potential for conflict, and he's set up interesting relationships among the characters. Weldele's sketchy line art, which reminds me a lot of Ben Templesmith, adds to the surreal nature of the story. Good stuff.

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