Tuesday, 10 July 2012

What I Got and Why: Mixed Doubles

Guten Tag!

Just two posts in from the long hiatus and I’m reminded why the "What I Got" posts get a bit same-y from me; apart from the new titles, I've got my favourites that I say the same bloody things about week in, week out. With that in mind I’ll keep it short and sweet on the old faithfuls and have a re-jig on the next instalment. In the meantime, enjoy!

American Vampire #28
The past two storylines have been great, so hoping this one keeps up the momentum. Now we’re still in the fifties and back to the series' original cast members and setting albeit a long time later with a lot more water under the bridge, certainly for Pearl, who is worlds away from the naive ingénue we first met in American Vampire #1. Although there is certainly an ongoing story in American Vampire, it is a very new reader friendly book. The start of each new story arc is always marked clearly on the cover, and often feature heavily if not entirely on new characters. A very noob friendly and highly enjoyable series.

Creator Owned Heroes #2
This series is quite the curio. Spearheaded by Jimmy Palmiotti, whose Jonah Hex work I’m very fond of, this is a collection of creators mostly known for their big company work, displaying their craft in, well, Creator Owned Heroes. Does what it says on the tin I guess. The series features two strips and magazine style articles and interviews at the back. A full read for your extra dollar, it feels a bit like a short US version of Judge Dredd: The Megazine. The stories are a bit forgettable so far but Trigger Girl 6 is a fantastic showcase for the beautiful art of Phil Noto, a real favourite round these parts.

Fatale #6
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are two creators at the top of their game. No matter what they turn their hands to they ‘knock it out of the park’ as I believe the yanks say. The collection of the first five issues has just come out so it’s a great time to catch up. I recommend buying the individual issues of any Brubaker/Phillips series when you can as they fill the back of each books with fascinating articles on the films, shows and books of the genres they are dealing with. With this pair there is almost always a ‘noir’ filter; Criminal was crime noir, Sleeper and Incognito were Superhero noir and Fatale is Horror noir and damnit, who don’t like noir!

Fatima #1
Gilbert Hernandez, the batshit-crazy half (occasionally third) of Love and Rockets’ Los Bros Hernandez is back with a new series which, judging by the promo pages online deals with some kind of zombie crisis. On a quick flick through it looks like everyone involved keeps their clothes on which is pretty bloody weird for a Gilbert Hernandez book. The lead still has a figure Russ Meyer would be proud of though, so don't worry. In all seriousness, although I'm giving this a try, I'm enjoying Gilbert's books less and less these days so I've not set my hopes too high on this series.

iZombie #27
Onward goes the apocalypse! Only one more issue after this. Why, you bastards, why?

New Deadwardians #4
For me, this has been the best of the new batch of Vertigo titles that launched together a few months ago. The other three were Dominique LaVeau: Voodoo Child, Fairest and Saucer Country, all of which were pretty lacklustre. Although this series does have that unfortunate appearance of being "yet another zombie/vampire story" the book has enough of its own identity, brought about by the pacing and the understated nature of the Edwardian characters, that it’s been a rather pleasant surprise to me. Focus less on the criminally overdone vampire/zombie angle and it’s a very enjoyable crime mystery comic.

Prophet #26
I decided to stick around with this series after last month's blatant jumping Jumping-Off point. Brandon Graham’s straight-sci-fi approach to Rob Liefield’s Extreme 90s badass character has been a real success for me so far, but I fear that a lot of this was to do with the creepy art and design work from Simon Roy. Without this factor, I'm reminded that my interest in far-out space stuff can be a bit limited, and with no real characters cling on to, this can seem more and exercise in world-building, and I prefer my stories with a bit more human interest.

Resident Alien #2
Talking about human interest, this new series from Dark Horse by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse has human interest in abundance. This quirky tale follows a murder mystery in a small town from the perspective of an Alien who crash landed in the area some years ago and is posing as the local GP. I’ve been a big fan of (2000AD alumni) Parkhouse for a long time so it was his art that made me try the book but the perfect combo of his expressive characters and the charming, if occasionally gruesome story have made this a real win for me, Like a (very well made version of) the kind of murder mystery TV show they rerun on TV during the day; clever, but not so clever as to alienate younger viewers, gruesome, but not so gruesome that your Nan couldn’t watch it, a quirky twist in the lead detective role, and a charming supporting cast. It’s sort of a comic book version of Monk, or Diagnosis Murder, and all the more compelling for it.

Scalped #59
The excitement is too much!!!!!!! After 5 years of superb hard boiled crime fiction from Jason Aaron and RM Guera we’re reaching the high octane finale (in #60). There’s a lot of water under the bridge between these grizzled bastards and it's all coming to a head in a Mexican standoff. All secrets are out and all hell has broken loose! It's too difficult to avoid spoilers at this stage, so suffice to say this series is really, really, really fucking good. To be read with some Hank III blaring loud and proud and some sippin' whiskey on the go.

Spaceman #7
The 100 Bullets team of Azzarrello and Eduardo Risso have teamed up again to produce this intriguing science fiction mini series. Set in the half submerged wreck of a dystopian urban sprawl, we follow a "Spaceman", a large grotesque, specifically designed to survive deep space exploration, a task no one has any need for or interest in anymore, leaving him to eke out a dangerous living scavenging for scrap in the watery ruins. That is, until he comes into contact with a kidnapped Reality TV child star and the shit really hits the fan. This is another class act as you'd expect from creators of such pedigree, but will be a shock to the system for anyone expecting 100 Bullets 2, as this is much more like Eduardo Risso's 'Borderline' series from earlier in his career (written by the late Carlos Trillo, available in four paperback collections from Dynamite and highly recommended by me). Worth checking out, but as this is issue 7 of 9 you may as well wait for the trade collection at this point.

Sweet Tooth #35
Look, just go and buy the first Trade Paperback OK?

Whispers #1-3
This was recommended to me by a mate, and looking at the creepy covers I’m surprised I missed it when they were on the shelves the first time. Luckily the kind folks at Orbital had them in stock. The book is by Joshua Luna, who normally works as one half of the Luna Brothers. I've heard good things about their previous work (Ultra, Women, The Sword) but never actually read any. I know very little about the book, but if I can judge this book by it's cover, I'm impressed and slightly creeped out. I'll let you know either way.

(I’m a firm believer in buying my comic books monthly, but I loves me some readin' in chunks too.)

Invincible Vol.16: Family Ties
One of the few series I trade wait on. Invincible is superhero comics done right. Over the years the series has gone from a refreshingly simple and exciting modern take on a Spider-Man-esque superhero coming of age story into a full blown space epic set in a 'shared universe' as complex as Marvel or DC but without spilling over into a million other tie-in books. One of the all time best long form superhero tales, if ye ask me. Well done Kirkman!

Joe Sacco: Notes From a Defeatist
After catching him on the bizarrely presented but informative TV show ‘Ink: Alter Egos Exposed’ (Sky Arts. More on this another time) I realised that I hadn't read everything Joe Sacco has done, so I thought I'd rectify that. Most famous for comic book as journalism work in 'Safe Area: Gorazde' and 'Palestine', this is a collection of his smaller more personal works, a lot of which don't even take place in a warzone for a change.