$H!#!, @$%*, & Other Such Exclamations

6 01 2009

If I say “Oh $H!#!” out loud while reading a comic, generally that is a good sign that this is a good comic. Almost certainly good writing is going on, and very likely good art as well. I was lucky enough to do this twice today.

The first was while reading Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark’s fine Daredevil comic, issue #114. I’ll try not to give away the spoiler, but halfway through the book, in a scene with nothing but a bunch of lawyers sitting around a table together, one lawyer, (not Nelson or Murdock!) pulls out a bunch of photos and I, exclaiming loudly to the cats who only stared at me, about dropped my comic in my lap. Very nice job, Mr. Brubaker. You got off to a fine start picking up the reins from Bendis, and have really made the book your own. In fact, as much as I loved Bendis, I’d gotten so used to him on Daredevil and the many other books I read of his, that he was ceasing to surprise me very much any more, though I do still find his work immensely entertaining and of high quality. Do I worry that Brubaker may become similarly stale over time? Well, perhaps, but I’d say that the issue with Bendis was not so much about stale toast, as a very familiar friend. So even if Brubaker goes down that same road, it’s not a bad place to be. I should probably point out that through the rest of the book I found myself also yelling “No, Carlos! It’s a trap!” and “Matt, you idiot! Don’t go IN!!” High praise, indeed.

The second comic of the day to evoke a hungry gaze from the cats was also Mr. Brubaker’s, (along with Sean Phillips,): Incognito #1. Now, to be honest, it wasn’t the Incognito story itself which made me yelp, though it was very fine. I’ve been hesitant to explore more of Brubaker’s work like Criminal, maybe nervous of one-trick-ponitis, or more likely of my above-mentioned worry that I’d start to feel oversaturated with Brubakerly goodness. But when I saw a new issue one with his name on the cover and some classy interior and cover art by Phillips, I decided to give it a shot. As much as I liked Incognito, I have a feeling I’ll be picking up the first Criminal trade soon. Quickly, Incognito is the story of an ex-super-powered criminal who lets the reader into an exploration of the allure and adrenalin-rush of wearing a mask and acting outside of oneself. Well-crafted and paced by Brubaker, with a nice, modern take on traditional panel art by Phillips, the first single issue feels like five issues worth of story and I can’t wait for the next. But the moment in the book that made me stop in my tracks was after the post-story article and advertisement when I turned the page to a STUNNING double-page painted spread of The Shadow! Unfortunately, I can’t find a clear artist credit for the image, but I assume it is Phillips, and it really is spectacular. Guns blazing, eyes slit like daggers, red cloak bleeding all over the place and GOSH! Just staring at it now is intensely awesome. It’s a lead-in for Jess Nevins’ encyclopedic article on the pulp hero, which is a tie-in to Nevins’ forthcoming Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes (MonkeyBrain Books, 2009.) Really, truly, a wonderful moment in the world of comic art. Thanks guys.

Both Daredevil and Incognito are published by Marvel Comics.

What I’m loving this week:
Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #3
Daredevil, vol.2 #114
Echo #8
Thor, one-shots, by Fraction: Man of War
What I’m reading this week:
Amazing Spider-Man #581
Incognito #1
Invincible Iron Man #7&8
Proof #15
Rasl #3
Samurai #3&4
Ultimate Spider-Man #129
Universal War One #3
The Walking Dead #56
Wolverine #70 “Old Man Logan”
X-Men: Magneto: Testament #4
What I’m thinking of dropping next week:
Invincible #57
What I’m dropping this week:
Ultimatum #1&2