This Week’s Haul

  • Fables #76, by Bill Willingham & Michael Allred (DC/Vertigo)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #46, by Jim Shooter, Francis Manapul & Livesay (DC)
  • Madame Xanadu #4, by Matt Wagner, Amy Reeder Hadley & Richard Friend (DC/Vertigo)
  • Hulk #6, by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines (Marvel)
  • The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California one-shot (Marvel)
  • Nova #17, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Wellington Alves & Scott Hanna (Marvel)
  • Echo #6, by Terry Moore (Abstract)
  • Hellboy: The Crooked Man #3 of 3, by Mike Mignola & Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
  • Project Superpowers #6 of 7, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger & Carlos Paul (Dynamite)
  • Perhapanauts #4, by Todd Dezago, Craig Rousseau & Jason Armstrong (Image)

A pretty big week, yet I have little to say about most of the books. Sometimes this happens. In many cases the books are just moving their stories forward (interminably so in the case of books like Legion and Hulk). Generally good reading, but neither great enough nor awful enough to prompt a review.

Fables #76 Fables launches into its new era with an issue in which Pinocchio shows Geppetto – the former Emperor who has been granted amnesty – around Fabletown in New York City. Geppetto is outraged at having to live around the little people, while the other inhabitants are outraged that Geppetto has been granted amnesty and allowed to live. Exactly why he was granted amnesty is also explained.

Willingham’s depiction of Geppetto here is, frankly, masterful. Geppetto truly believes that his conquest of the homelands was for the best, trading millions of lives for the welfare of billions, and he holds the fables who opposed him in utter contempt for bringing down his empire, probably throwing it into violent chaos, and refusing to keep their own citizens in line through the use of force. To Geppetto, there’s no hypocrisy in his outlook: The ends justify the means, and the concept of democracy and any freedom other than that allowed by the ruler is useless. Most revealing is his confrontation with Snow White, whom he asks, basically, what he ever did to her to make her oppose him as one of the leaders of the opposition. The fact that he didn’t personally assail her misses the whole point, of course, but he doesn’t see that. He simply has no common ground with which to interact with the other fables. His only ally is Pinocchio, who loves him as his father.

Naturally, the Fabletown leaders are also trying to figure out how they can get more information out of Geppetto, which involves taking down his considerable mystical defenses. How that plays out could be interesting. And we also see progress on other fronts, notably Snow and Bigby’s kids growing up. I always enjoyed the adventures in Fabletown best in this series, and it’d nice to get back to it.

I have mixed feelings about Michael Allred’s art, especially since he draws Pinocchio radically differently from regular artist Mark Buckingham. He does draw a mean Geppetto, and the absence of shading in his figures and backgrounds gives it a distinctive look, but it lacks the dynamism of Buckingham as the figures all look rather stiff.

But the story easily carries the day here. It’s a promising start to the new era.

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California The second Iron Fist one-shot featuring Orson Randall, and “golden age” Iron Fist, is a standalone story in which he visits California in 1928. It’s a decent enough pulp yarn somewhat inspired by Weird Tales style horror stories. But I don’t really see the point in it, since it doesn’t seem to tie in to the main series at all. Filling in Orson’s back story in this way doesn’t seem like an effective use of pages, especially since the character met his demise early in the ongoing series (in the present day).

I guess it’s just a bold effort to extract more money from me (and I’m shocked! Shocked! I tell you!). And it seems to have worked in this case. But I’ll be more wary next time.

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