“The superhero is the kind of last, small, broken ideal of what we might all become one day if we just get it together and stop being assholes”- Grant Morrison
Doom Patrol 6- DC Comics
Fantabulous first arc complete! DC’s most obtuse and outlandish band of superhero misfits continues to be the perfect place for Way’s seemingly endless stream of delirious ideas and deranged pop punk poetry dialogue. As ambulance driver Casey brink comes to terms with her origin, the team finally reunites against the Vectra to defend Danny Le Street from becoming intergalactic street food
A dadist infused, psychedelic romp that serves as both a love letter to the Doom Patrol’s legacy and the enduring power of super heroes and comics, Way and Derrington have found the perfect midway point between the outlandish and perplexing antics the roster of strange characters have to offer and the good bright fistpumpimg super-heroics in the strongest and strangest title from the Young Animals imprint so far.
Infamous Iron Man 7- Marvel Comics
Despite my criticism of the first few slow paced issues, Bendis and Maleev’s re-introduction of Victor Von Doom and his newly aligned moral compass is the one title I quietly look forward to each month with it’s perfect inversion of superhero characters, motivations and interactions as it skewers the rivalry against Marvels first family, eventually pitting the new found hero against The Maker.
Seeking redemption for a life of tyranny and the combined might of the villain community and SHEILD pursuing him, Doom finds the hardest thing to escape are his own reputation and actions. The idea of an inverted Victor was around in Axis and here Bendis writes that concept in widescreen, big and bold in it’s action set pieces whilst at the same time small and intimate when exploring it’s troubled protagonist. The slow pace that bothered me at first actually gives the story breathing room letting Bendis pull off a more poignant and complex examination of the once power mad Doom. For all it’s cinematic superhero action, at it’s core the Infamous Iron Man is revealing itself to be a fascinating study of a man at war, with himself
School is Hell. School is madness, even for the displaced avian Lomo currently inhabiting Earth girl Megan as she returns to Amelia Bloomer High School, much to the confusion of her fellow students. Insisting on being called shade in her new amalgamation of body and personality. Her peers are obviously wary of her, assuming her strange and oddly calm behaviour is a result of her accident and resulting comca as she struggles to make sense of her place in the social strata of the school, her relationships with other students and even lunchtime.
Series writer Cecil Castellucci is crafting a strangely off kilter look at this world through the eyes of her uniquely alien, avian creation Loma. Far more advanced and intelligent then the primitive world around her she none the less has to work to make sense of her strange new home and the people around her already questioning her act of rebellion in stealing the M-vest. Thrown into school Loma has a lot more interactions this issue as we start to learn more and more about Megan’s life. Faced with the tense and confused reactions of Megan’s former friends, unaware the majority wanted her dead. While initially indifferent to those around Loma is still left with the creeping uneasy sense that she’s logged herself firmly into a human with a very complicated and prickly past than she might have first thought. So far there is no sign of the previous occupant, Megan, beyond her memories but it’s such a tantalising layer to add to an already out there story, I have a hard time believing that Castellucci won’t bring some of this into the mix during her run.
Being no stranger to writing teens in her long career as a novelist or indeed the criminally overlooked Plain Janes for DC’s last teen oriented imprint, Minx back in 2008, She has an amazing grasp on writing what feels like authentic teens dialogue and speech patterns without ever slipping into groan worthy cliche or dropping in social media mentions and in fact seems to be actively avoiding this particular pitfall with Shade. The comic slips between this tone and Loma’s more poetic inner monologue beautifully. Ultimately I was left with the feeling that even if the alien elements were stripped out, this series is strong enough already that it would still work wonderfully as a story of identity, change and dealing with the preconceptions others bring into that equation. Working as it’s own unique story even for those like myself who might be coming to the book with only general idea of Shade’s long and esoteric character history.
Matching this with some sensational art from Marley Zarcone further sets this apart from the rest of the comics crowd, Imbuing the comic from start to finish with it’s own loose flow and momentum as the story drifts almost lazily and fluidly from one moment to the next. A page featuring Megan getting ready for school shows this in a single panel showing her movement from the room and time, fain versions of herself around the room almost like echos which emphasises the books dreamlike qualities and elements of madness. Despite the book’s solicitation saying “No one can have a little bit of madness” the visuals are toned down this issue letting the book breath a little after the stunning visual spectacle of it’s debut issue. Subtle and effective when they are used, a small poster here, the madness takes over small parts of her surroundings almost seeping through into the panels.
“I have to study up. Do my homework to really live this life” Shade promises herself setting out her plan for the future as this issue itself does, expanding on last issue this one treats us to just a little more of Megan’s life, a world that Castellucci makes you eager to explore and learn more about as Loma sets about discovering too. Gorgeous art and sharp writing sets this as perfect allegory for being an uneasy teen and a story of identity put through a psychedelic, kaleidoscope filter.
Many moons ago, bored, dissatisfied with video reviews of comics on-line and craving excitement, I decided that I was going to jump on an already crowded bandwagon and promptly purchased two books with the intention of taking the piss out of them.
Instead I kinda ended up falling in love with them.
It was a weird decision to begin with, as I’ve never really written about things I don’t like even way back in the days when I reviewed live music and albums. I’d be critical, but If I didn’t like something, a band for example, I just didn’t bother writing about them. There was and still is enough great artists in my city to keep me busy promoting all the good stuff. Turns out it’s the same with comics, and while I came close to adopting a sarcastic or satirical tone, it turns out I’d much rather be positive and leave a reader with something awesome they can go away and read.
So, the books. It was smack bang in the middle of a harcore Batman Phase that had only just subsided last year that I ended up bidding, and winning, on both Batman 3D and Batman Digital Justice. Then I did nothing, for a really long time. In the case of Batman 3D I procrastinated so long and so hard that in the meantime the wonderful man behind it, Ray Zone passed away. Three years more passed. Yikes.
The best examples of Batman comics? Not really. Entertaining? Hell yes.
FIrst up Batman 3D, by the late Ray Zone. I have to admit that before getting this book I’d never heard of Ray Zone, finding out with a little bit of research that he was responsible for a lot of 3D comics, over the last thirty or so years. Despite his prolific work it seems that Batman 3D is the only book that collects any sizable amount of his comic work in one place, his other books focusing more on the history and mechanics of 3D cinema. From what I can find out about him he discovered 3D comics at a very early age, fell in love with them, and perused them into a career with a monomaniacal zeal.