This Week’s Haul

Actually last week’s haul, but since this week’s haul is delayed ’til Thursday due to Independence Day, I figure I get a little bit of a grace period:

  • Fables #74, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham & Steve Leialoha (DC/Vertigo)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #43, by Jim Shooter, Francis Manapul & Livesay (DC)
  • Avengers/Invaders #3 of 12, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger & Steve Sadowski (Marvel)
  • Echo #3, by Terry Moore (Abstract)
  • Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1 of 3, by Mike Mignola & Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
  • The Boys #20, by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson (Dynamite)
  • Star Trek: Assignment Earth #3 of 12, by John Byrne (IDW)
  • The Sword: Fire vol 1 TPB, by Joshua Luna & Jonathan Luna (Image)
The Sword vol 1 TPB The Luna brothers’ last project was Girls a suspense/horror story in which a small town was enclosed in a force field while being overrun with an army of cloned girls who wanted to kill all the women in town. It was mainly a psychological drama about how the poor souls trapped in the town dealt with their situation (mostly not very well).

Their latest project is The Sword, which is more adventure than horror, but contains the same elements of suspense that were present in Girls. Our heroine, Dara Brighton, is a paraplegic living with her family. One evening three strangers barge into their house, accuse Dara’s father of being their lifelong nemesis, display fantastic powers, and kill her family – and nearly her. However, the ensuing fire drops her below the house, where she grasps an ancient sword which not only cures her paralysis, but gives her super powers of her own. This being a suspense story there are hijinks, such as being hunted by the police, and losing the sword at an inopportune time. And the volume wraps up with an explanation of where the sword came from, and why those three were chasing Dara’s father to get it.

The Luna brothers’ style is based in a realistic looking and feeling world, into which these fantastic things are dropped. Jonathan Luna’s layouts are simple and understated, with uncomplicated finishes, usually with a constant line width in his inks, making the art seem even more unpretentious. As with Girls, The Sword‘s story focuses on the characters’ reactions to the amazing things they’re experiencing, which are typically enough to push most of them to their breaking points.

All of which makes their stories stand out pretty well from the rest of the comics being published. It doesn’t necessarily make them great comics, though; they are, after all, pretty firmly grounded in pulpy suspense fiction, just with more fallible protagonists. And the character bits take a back seat to the adventure bits, which hold back the story’s full potential. The flaw in the art is that it’s so unassuming that the fantastic events themselves seem unassuming, so their impact is lessened.

So it’s entertaining stuff, but it’s different without being really better than your mainstream superhero comic. Bloodier, certainly (the death count in The Sword is both significant and graphic). But it’s worth a look for a change of pace from the usual comics rigamarole.