- 52 #39 of 52 (DC)
- Jack of Fables #7 (DC/Vertigo)
For some reason the 2-part story begun in #6 is suspended and a 4-part story involving Las Vegas is being dropped into the middle. Weird. Doesn’t work very well as a storytelling structure, either.
- Ex Machina #26 (DC/Wildstorm)
It looks like this book is about to get moving: One of the mysteries has been how Mitchell Hundred, the mayor of New York, acquired his power to talk to machines. I suspect writer Brian K. Vaughan has been dropping little hints here and there, but the pacing has often been too slow to keep me watching for them. It looks like things may be coming to a head, as a mysterious character – probably from a parallel world – appears in this issue.
While the series’ general approach of putting a unique individual in a unique position and using him as a spokesperson for a certain point of view (political and otherwise), it’s always felt to me like that’s just the way of getting us to the real story: Mayor Hundred and his powers, as the only superhuman in his world. If this is the main arc finally taking off, then I’m really looking forward to it.
- Ms. Marvel One-Shot (Marvel)
A basically unnecessary story a kid who can alter reality, and how a bit of our heroine’s past is pulled out to confront her. There’s nothing here to care about: Move along.
- Archaic: Rule of the Deviant TPB (Fenickx)
Well, this was… odd. It’s billed as a “dark fantasy”, which is about right: A cruel tyrant is rising to power in a fantasy land, and he kills one of his nephews and imprisons the other, while his grand-nephew escapes as an infant to become a potential threat. It’s sort of like George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice crossed with gothic fantasy.
While stylishly done, it’s got a lot of rough edges: Writer James S. Abrams can write some pretty good scenes, but it’s difficult to assemble them together into a coherent ongoing story: It seems like there’s a lot left unsaid, and the characters’ motivations often seem inscrutable or mercurial. Artist Brett C. Marting has a style similar to Jae Lee with maybe a little bit more Image Comics influence, but some of the panels are so dark it’s difficult to tell what’s happening.
The creators’ commitment to the series (which is up to six issues so far, of which the first three are collected here) is laudable, but I think it would be much improved with a focus on character rather than spectacle, and some clearer layouts on the art side.
Comic books I bought the week of 31 January 2007.