Monday, March 08, 2010

Vertigo round-up

Fables (Bill Willingham/Mark Buckingham & various)
Vertigo's de facto flagship title is still going strong, and although it hasn't been at the height of its creativity in a while, it's still generally a fun read with an engaging cast. Granted, the recent crossover that ran through Fables, Jack of Fables and miniseries The Literals was overlong, uneventful and tedious, but the follow-up storyline has brought back a sense of danger and menace with a new villain, and proves that Willingham still has new places to go with these characters after more than 90 issues. I expect to stick around for at least 90 more.

House of Mystery (Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham/Luca Rossi & various)
I've recently given up on this book, mainly because after 22 issues I realized that I still couldn't remember which character was which, which ones had died or otherwise been written out, and who was in love with whom, since I obviously didn't care. This series never really wowed me, but it had solid moments here and there, especially in the little self-contained stories-within-the-story, and I kept waiting for all the pieces to fall into place. At this point, I'm tired of waiting, and the little moments are no longer worth the overall boredom.

Jack of Fables (Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges/Tony Akins & Russ Braun)
I'm tired of this one, too, which was always sort of a second-rate version of Fables that never quite justified its own existence. It was entertaining enough for a while, though, but since the energy-sapping crossover, it's completely lost its way. I'm not sure why Willingham and Sturges decided to jettison the title character and his entire supporting cast in favor of a cipher with the same name, but any amusement that came from seeing the arrogant Jack bumble through his adventures is gone, replaced with the dull square-jawed hero now starring in the book. I assume there's a plan at work here, but I'm not sticking around to find out what it is.

The Unwritten (Mike Carey/Peter Gross)
Here's what I'm excited about from Vertigo, though: A lot of the company's recent launches have failed to grab me, but Carey and Gross are doing fantastic work on this book, taking a lot of complex, esoteric subject matter about the nature of storytelling and how fiction is intertwined with reality and turning it into an extremely entertaining adventure story, complete with fascinating twists and engrossing detours (the issue about Rudyard Kipling is a marvel of short-form comics storytelling). I loved Carey's last Vertigo series, Crossing Midnight, which never really found an audience and got canceled prematurely. I'm happy that this one has been more successful, and will get the chance to stick around. It's one of the most exciting series in comics right now.

No comments: