Four books made it home this week and each is pretty strong. But before I get into those, a question: Why will Justice League #2 be coming out over a month and a half after #1. Is this going to be it’s rightful place in the monthly rotation, or are we seeing delays already in the New 52?
Anyway… on to books I actually liked.
Jesse wrote earlier in the week that he didn’t care so much for Snarked #0. He didn’t elaborate, and we haven’t had a chance to talk about it at any length. So here’s my impression of the series so far. I loved everything about it. There’s an old fashioned feel to the book that continues into #1. The book is complete with fake advertisements and a letter page that encourages readers to send in drawings of a snark. The story itself revolves around the disappearance of the Red King… lost at sea several years ago whilst hunting snark. The king’s orphaned heirs are now spurred on (by the Cheshire Cat no less) to go on a search for him, thus the orphans enlist the aid of the Walrus and the Carpenter. I don’t normal summarize the books I review, but it seemed useful here to emphasize the old fashioned feel of the plot. It screams of something that might have come out of the minds of Hal Roach or Mack Sennett. The Walrus is a perfect blend of W. C. Fields and Oliver Hardy while the Carpenter stands in for Stan Laurel. If this plays out like I suspect it will, everything will end happily in spite of or because of the glorious ineptitude of this duo. Just because we know where this is going does not mean we can’t enjoy the ride.
In addition to the story, Langridge continues to demonstrate his talent for doggerel in the pages, matching the cadence and absurdity of Lewis Carroll. While each character has his or her own distinct voice, there’s an almost poetic rhythm to all of the dialogue.
Art wise, it’s the same cartoonish exaggeration fans of Langridge have come to expect and love. Oddly though, the Cheshire Cat stands out more for his simplicity than anything else. I can’t help but wonder if this is intentional to give the character a strange otherworldly appearance.
Basically, it’s a good book to share with your kids or someone else’s kids provided you can do that in a non-creepy way.
Also out this week was Action Comics vol. 2 #2. The first issue was ineffably good, and the second does not disappoint. What are the books strengths? Stuff happens. We get excellent characterization without lengthy monologues or caption boxes. It’s accessible. As with much of Grant Morrison’s work, Action Comics vol. 2 is a primer on how to work within the form. Think of Morrison’s stories as symphonies where each issue is a movement within the larger whole. Each movement is satisfying on its own and has a distinct feel to it, but the symphony as a whole will be that much more satisfying. This is how long form stories should be told. Instead most writers treat individual issues as space for plot exposition until the last issue or two… but that’s getting away from the issue at hand.
This issue has something for everyone. Simplicity itself: Superman vs. Lex Luthor. Done. Except to point out that for long time fans, there are a ton of nods and winks in this issue. They’re handled in such a way that they aren’t distracting. Nor do you have to catch them to understand what’s happening. If you’ve never heard of Dr. Vale, John Corben, or Dr. Irons, you’re not at a loss, but you sure are in for a treat in the next couple of issues.
Like Snarked, this is a title I wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with a new or young reader. How did this friendly title get past DC Editorial?
Moving right along…The further into Victor Gischler’s run on X-Men I get, the more I’m enjoying it. Issue 19 marks the end of his third or fourth arc, and it’s far and away my favorite on this title so far. One thing that bothered me at first about this title was a lack of distinct voice for the different characters… or more accurately that many of the characters were not speaking in patterns familiar to the other titles. That problem is a thing of the past as is the over reliance on horror elements. This arc teamed the X-Men with the Fantastic Four. What’s not to love? My only note of warning here is that the end is a little to neat and quick. Other than that, enjoy yourself some pleasantly uncomplicated X-Men.
Finally in brief: when it comes out collected at the end, anyone who was even tangentially a fan of G.I. JOE should read COBRA Civil War. The JOE’s are woefully outclassed by making headway, and COBRA is no joke. Each chapter that comes out is enjoyable. The only problem is that with various artists it is sometimes difficult to tell who’s who. Some of the JOE’s lack distinction unless they’re in their figure related garb.
That rounds out this week’s books. Have a good weekend.