I know, I know, it’s technically the 11th, but I’m going to start dating theses reviews with the date I picked the comics up from here on out. Anyhow, on to this week’s comics I deemed good enough for my pull.
Bitch Planet #1- Image
I somehow utterly failed to realize that a new Kelly Sue DeConnick series was coming out until Tuesday night- but it was definitely a good surprise. Kelly Sue DeConnick is rapidly proving herself to be one of my favorite contemporary comic writers- anything by her is definitely going to receive at least a try. Bitch Planet might not have been something I’d pick up normally, since prison stories, even scifi ones, are hardly my cup of tea, but I gave this one a try, and the first issue already has me hooked. That’s not to say it’s perfect- the twist definitely confused me for a little bit, but that’s very likely to be my fault, so… Also, it’s pretty refreshing to have a comic book where the majority of the cast isn’t white. That’s still pretty damn rare these days. Valentine De Landro’s art is pretty well fitted to the book, and the dot-based backgrounds like you’d see in old comics really fits the aesthetic of the book. (I can’t for the life of me remember what that technique is called.) Also, having the title page be a two page spread four pages in? Actually works really damn well here. Very cinematic.
Copperhead #4- Image
Copperhead is really working well for me so far. It’s not that the story is particularly better than other good scifi police procedurals- and I do consider Copperhead more of a police procedural than a western so far, though it draws strongly from both- it’s that the comic focuses on a smaller, more focused cast than usual. It’s a consistent weakness of the genre, especially in comics- you have a limited amount of space to develop your characters, and introducing a giant cast just makes them all fairly forgettable. The comic Storm Dogs comes to mind- brilliant story, amazing setting, spectacular art, some of the best alien designs I’ve seen in a comic- but ask me to name the characters, or even describe more than a few, and I’d just have to shrug. It’s not that they are bad characters, by any means. I remember liking quite a few of them. Copperhead has avoided that pitfall by focusing on a smaller, more mobile cast, and it works extremely well. That, ultimately, seems to be its biggest takeaway from Westerns, rather than any stylistic element.
Thor #3- Marvel
Well, we still don’t know who Lady Thor is, but we’ve gotten some new clues. She looks up to Thor, which doesn’t narrow down the field too much. She’s combat trained. And- here’s the biggest clue- she’s mortal, or at least comparatively very powerless without the hammer for long periods of time, almost like Donald Blake. I think my personal theory that she’s a certain environmentally aware Shield agent from the Thor: God of Thunder run (Roz Solomon) just seems more and more likely. With Unworthy Thor showing up to battle Lady Thor for Mjolnir at the end, well… I’ll be genuinely shocked if we don’t find out in the next issue, or two tops. As for this actual issue- it finally moves the story forwards faster, though I wasn’t complaining too much about the awesome new action scenes.
Sex Criminals #9- Image
I can genuinely say this is probably the first series where I’ve been just as excited about the letters column as I am about the actual story, which is a lot. John and Suzie have finally started to form a plan of action to take on the Sex Police, and they’re starting to track down others that share their power. (I’ve got to be honest, this would make for a really, really weird super team book. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, they possess the ability to stop time when they orgasm.) This issue delves into the life of one of the others with this power- a former pornstar. Sex Criminals continues its balance of bizarre, inane absurdity (a porn adaptation of Alf? Really? Really?), wonderful human relationships, and realistic sexuality, which is a breath of fresh air in the comics industry. As for the letters column- for those of you who don’t know, almost every single sex column, advice or otherwise, out there is fake. As in, most or all of the letters sent in are written by the columnist themselves. People started sending actual requests for serious sex advice to Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, though- and they started answering as best they can. (Admittedly, a fair chunk of their advice is to hide porn in the woods. Running joke.) It’s funny, clever, and genuinely insightful, and there is actually a book of letters and responses from Sex Criminals being published soon, 90% of which is new content. Definitely my favorite book this week, though Bitch Planet is looking like it’s getting ready to start giving it a run for its money in the future.
East of West: The World- Image
This is a combination atlas/ encyclopedia for East of West, which has been drastically needed. The series is extremely dense informationally, and I’ve definitely found myself confused by it quite a few times, despite my love for it. This gives a pretty decent, though not massively in-depth description of the world of East of West, along with a new little short story featuring War, Famine, and obligatory alternate take on War Conquest that serves no damn good purpose other than replacing Pestilence or Famine, like people always do. What’s wrong with the classics, people? Anyhow, this issue is great for fans of the series, though I do somewhat think a $3.99 price tag is a bit hefty for it.
Deadpool’s Art of War #3- Marvel
The only reason this is in my pull is because anything Deadpool gets tossed in my pull by my comic shop. That’s normally the way I want it, especially considering how much fun I’ve been having with Deadpool Vs. Hawkeye, which is also running right now. This, though… nonsensical storyline, jokes repeatedly ripped off from the Avengers movie verbatim, inconsistent characterization… The only vaguely interesting thing about this one is the cover. I doubt I’ll be buying the next issue.
Federal Bureau of Physics # 16- Vertigo
I’ve always enjoyed FBP, but it was never one of the top comics in my pull. I have the feeling that that’s about to change. We finally meet the actual villain, we finally learn the universe-threatening truth buried within Adam Hardy’s father’s research, and the issue ends on a colossal, city destroying quantum tornado bearing down on our heroes. Oh, did I mention the Bond-villain-esque island science fortress the villain has? The pace is really starting to pick up.