Action Comics, Animal Man, Brian Azzarello, Colder, Comedian, Dark Horse, Fury Max, Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov, Grant Morrison, Jack Reacher, Jeff Lemire, Juan Ferreyra, Marco Rudy, Paul Tobin, Rags Morales, Scott Snyder, Steve Pugh, Superman, Swamp Thing, The Hobbit
Scott Carney: Not gonna lie, Derek: the last couple of weeks haven’t really blown me away. In fact, they’ve left me pretty cold.
Derek Mainhart: Dude, it’s the weather. It’s December.
SC: I know it’s December, wise ass. The fact that it’s December has just made it friggin’ colder.
DM: No, that’s Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra. They made it–colder, I mean. Colder #2. Remember? You were actually looking forward to it.
SC: So this is how it’s gonna be?
DM: What’s the matter with you?
SC: Nothing. Why?
DM: ‘Cause your face is all red.
SC: F you.
DM: FF you.
SC: Nah. I can’t do this. I’m outta here. Gonna watch some TV or do something less productive.
DM: So you can rot your brain?
SC: You’re not funny.
DM: Oh, and you’re some sort of furious comedian? There are a lot of books worth talking about, man. Just accept it. I’ll even get the action started if you want.
SC: What I’d like you to do is dial it down a bit. I’ll–damn it.
DM: I knew you had it in you.
SC: Yeah, so, why don’t I just get to it, then. I really liked Colder #2. It took me a while to find it, but it was certainly worth the effort. Ferreyra’s art is absolutely gorgeous. Did you notice how the characters wore the shadows from the leaves as they were walking beneath the trees? What attention to detail! And it complements Tobin’s creepy-ass story so very well–whether it’s the precipitous present or the fiery return to the institution or the wickedly-rendered Hungry World; it’s all so good. Hell, I’m certainly hungry for more!
DM: What else you got?
SC: Well, how about FF #1? I know you like Mike Allred’s work a lot; but I’ve had trouble getting into it. His guest turns on DD and on Wolverine and the X-Men weren’t my favorite. But there was something about the way he conveys his characters that meant something to me. Something I couldn’t quite grasp. Something very distant. Too distant.
DM: This is getting really heavy all of a sudden.
SC: And wouldn’t you know, I couldn’t tell what it was until this book–until his stunning take on She-Hulk. You know what it is? His style–his very distinct style–reminds me of Colorforms. Boy, did I love Colorforms. So, it makes sense I’d dig Allred. His work is super solid here, especially as it carries Matt Fraction’s father-to-father tete-a-tete and the silly recruitment of the “new” Fantastic Four, which will stand in place of the family Fantastic for all of four minutes. Four minutes? I’m sure. And I’ve probably mentioned it before: I’m not a big fan of Fraction. In fact, I’ve probably liked about half of what I’ve read of his. But I like how he’s set this up. I particularly enjoyed the photo booth-like strips of the kids’ teaching Ant-Man about the foundation, which comes into context on the last page.
DM: I smell a segue here.
SC: Boy, it’s like you know exactly where I’m headed.
DM: You can can say that. Back to it.
SC: OK. Well, both Swamp Thing #15 and Animal Man #15 play up the power of the final page turn with semi-surprise endings. I won’t give them away–
DM: Wow. When have you ever missed an opportunity to spoil an ending for an unsuspecting reader?
SC: I don’t know what to tell you. I’m feeling stingy. Must be the holidays. Anyway, if I may? I won’t give them away, but, tell me, would it really matter if I did? This Rotworld storyline, while relatively well done, especially for a crossover, is essentially a possible future, right? In that, I’m left wondering, does it count? Kinda like with Spider-Men, you know? But then I’m like, does it really matter if it counts? Does it matter if it doesn’t? A dumb debate, I know. Pushing that aside, it’s worth noting that it’s clear that Snyder and Lemire are, quite literally, on the same page here: they’ve created almost perfectly parallel experiences that don’t suffer for the similarities. In that, I feel like they’re doing something special. This time around, Lemire’s side of the story stands out, especially with Lemire’s bringing his former charge, Frankenstein, into the fray. Don’t get me wrong: Snyder definitely doesn’t disappoint. I like how he’s teasing us with the probably-not-dead Abby Arcane narrative. However, I wasn’t as impressed with his use of William this time around. In fact, Lemire used the tricky little bastard to greater effect over on AM. Oh, and I can’t forget: Marco Rudy’s layouts are pretty stellar. What a ride, right? Until, of course, the final page–a clean splash where–
DM: Hey! I thought you weren’t going to spoil the, what did you call it, “semi-surprise.”
SC: Oh, all right. Maybe I’ll just mention that Fury Max #7 was terrific. I love the layers Ennis builds into this issue; it feels like a mini-series in and of itself! And wouldn’t you know, Comedian #4 came out on the same day.
DM: Yes, it did.
SC: Yeah, unfortunately: for me and for it. Azzarello’s take on Blake couldn’t chew Fury’s cigar. Ms. Defabio, on the other hand…
SC: I’d like to see Defabio Max. But that’s another story entirely. Another story worth noting, by the way: Grant Morrison’s fresh take on Mr. Mxyzptlk in Action Comics #15. Page after page of space/time wackiness! Here’s Morrison proving that he sees and writes in more dimensions than anyone else. As always, I’m left thinking, What the hell is going on here? and That’s so, so good! at the same time. But what I did understand–and love–is the idea of “taking revenge on [Superman’s] whole life at once–” How ridiculously great is that? What a way for Morrison to make his way! Gosh, I’m gonna miss him.
DM: Of course you will. But you won’t have to miss him for too long: Multiversity is right around the corner.
SC: Yeah, I guess.
DM: Hey, now! Why not move on to something that definitely made you happy–and I’m not talking about Morrison’s Image mini.
SC: Dial H #7? That made me happy.
DM: See! I knew it. Go on.
SC: It’s non-stop wacky fun! I love that Nelson and Roxie are sharing the single dial and the fact that Nelson’s “losing track” of who has turned into whom. Mieville’s been developing the danger of the dial for a while; it’s a brilliant angle, really. Oh, and can I get an “Amen!” for the creator of this peerless comic’s conjuring the cult of the dial and his clever turn in having the “Angel of the Dial” turn out to be a “super-woodlouse who talks like a 3-year-old”?
SC: You’re a good friend.
DM: Yes, I am.
SC: Well, friend, Mieville doesn’t stop there!
SC: Sure, his heroes are typically of the hit-and-run variety. But you know one idea that definitely has legs? The Centipede. Love David Lapham’s final splash, by the way. In fact, he’s done a fine job since taking over the duties from Mateus Santoloucco. I’d go as far to say that the storytelling is sharper as a result of his more straighforward style. Speaking of splashes: my favorite sequence in the book is when Manteau becomes The Planktonian and encounters an “old nemesis.” So, so good–especially when the “multitude” takes the form of a humanoid and shouts, “And you will sing no more!” It’s a memorable moment: like Gandolf’s commanding, “You shall not pass!” Epic.
DM: Sounds like someone’s looking forward to The Hobbit?
SC: Not as much as I’m looking forward to Jack Reacher.
Scott & Derek