Sunday, 10 June 2007

The Weekly Shop #14

It's weeks like this that tempt me to start downloading my comics illegally. I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who think that buying seven comics and two trades doesn't really constitute a heavy week, but believe, me when you buy your comics in England that's an expensive little shop right there.

Never mind, you can't take it with you right? And gratifyingly enough there were NO duds on this week's list, making me feel slightly less guilty about bringing more stuff home to horde.

The best book of the week, Black Summer #0, only cost 65p anyway! Can't feel guilty about that. Alright the story is only eight pages long, but it features a superhero murdering the President. 65p to read about a superhero doing in George Bush. Bargain! And you get a nice little text piece thrown in at the end.

Given the subject matter you don't need me to tell you that this book is written by Warren Ellis. He's covering similar themes in Thunderbolts, but he obviously has to tone things down in a mainstream Marvel book. It's clear that this won't be the case with Black summer, you only have to look at the cover to see that...

Yup that's George Bush's body on the floor

I like this intro, it feels a lot like Ellis's early work on The Authority, a title that I loved when it first came out. My only concern, apart from some government employed spook assassinating the writer, is that this might end up being another heavily delayed book. I'm a big fan of Juan Jose Ryp's incredibly detailed artwork, but I'm guessing it 's going to take him a long time to produce the pages for this. I'll stick with it whatever the delays though because I admire Ellis for putting out politically relevant books like this.

Detective Comics #833 is an entirely different comic, but no less enjoyable. Paul Dini returns to writing duties this issue and produces another great Batman story. If you haven't already, give this issue a try. It's just a great Batman comic.

If you've read some of my previous bilge then you know I'm a big EC fan. That makes Rick Remender and Tony Moore's Fear Agent an easy pick for me. It' would be doing the book a disservice to call it a homage to Weird Science (The EC book not the 80's film) but Remender's love for that title is writ large over this tale of alien invaders.

I borrowed the first trade from the library and will get round to the second at some point. In the meantime the new mini-series Fear Agent The Last Goodbye which focuses on the back story behind the ongoing series is a great place to hop on and get a flavour of the story.

When I was picking up my week's stash, the chap behind the counter paused as he ticked off Irredeemable Ant-Man #9 and said: "Everyone is buying this". I can only hope he's right because this book is really starting to hit its stride and it would be a shame to see it cancelled now that Robert Kirkman's groundwork is starting to pay dividends.

Be it Invincible, Walking Dead or Ant-Man, Kirkman's stories all reward the patient reader. The first few months are spent carefully setting up a multitude of plotlines which gradually start to intertwine as the story gathers pace.

I remember starting the first trade of Invincible and thinking it was nothing special, and then Kirkman dropped the Viltrumite bomb and suddenly the book took off. It hasn't touched down since. Walking Dead was the same and there are signs that Ant-Man is just about to get a real head of steam on.

Having a disagreeable character as the lead is potentially problematic, (Eric O'Grady isn't a guy the reader can empathise with and he's certainly no hero), but these are exactly the reasons this book stands out from the crowd. Like Black Summer it's a fresh take on the superhero genre and all the more welcome for that.

Outsiders #48 and Omega Flight #3 both offer more standard superhero fare. Nothing wrong with that and I enjoyed them both in a forgettable sort of way. Not sure about Scott Kolins' art on the latest Omega Flight though, looks a bit hurried to me. And I'm still not convinced that Beta Ray Bill would struggle to beat the Wrecking crew...but I'm glad to see Alpha Flight back even if they are called Omega Flight.

It seems Garth Ennis has left Midnighter. Issue #8 is written by Christos Gage. Enjoyable story with some laughs along the way. Not as good or sick as Ennis, but still worth picking up - a tongue in cheek version of Detective comics (sort of).

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