Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grab These Books!

Just a few quick words about my faves from last week.

Batman & Robin #1 (Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely) - This was the book of the week before I even read it. I don't believe I've ever anticipated the release of a single comic book more than this one. And boy howdy it did not disappoint. In my opinion there isn't a better collaborative team in comics than Morrison/Quitely, and that talent really shines on Batman & Robin #1. Already the book is drawing favorable comparisons to the duos other major DC collaboration All Star Superman, but I'm not sure the comparison is entirely apt. While this book will almost certainly succeed in redefining everything we know about Batman, it already appears to be going into some much darker areas than All Star Superman had to go. But isn't that how it should be? Batman has always been the dark mirror to Superman. What's most interesting about this book already though, is just how bright it is. Morrison has said in previous interviews about the title that he wanted to try and find the good in the campy Batman of the 60s and infuse this new book with it. That means bright colors and lots of action, even when things just beneath the surface are anything but bright and fun. Quitely's pencils on the first issue are some of his best work ever and the colors by Alex Sinclair (though not Jamie Grant) really bring it all home. What's best about this issue though is Morrison's ease with the character. Like many comic fans, it's obvious that GM's been thinking about what a Dick Grayson Batman would be like for a very long time. He's more playful, less rigid, rubber instead of stone. All of which makes him the perfect foil (and mentor) for Damian Wayne, the fiery new Robin. What's great about this book is how comfortable Morrison already is with Damian's voice. In the hands of a less talented writer (Tony Daniel, white courtesy phone) Damian could end up sounding a lot like the arrogant, bull-headed and downright reckless second Robin, Jason Todd. But Morrison understands that being the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Head may make you headstrong and obstinate, but it certainly doesn't make you dumb and reckless. Damian is cool, calculating and reserved, the way a child of such excellent breeding would be. One of the greatest moments in issue #1 occurs just after Alfred has brought lunch to the boys. Dick is ecsatic over Alfred's chicken and jalapeno sandwiches and speaks to him with the ease and comfort one reserves for a favored uncle. Damian is far more rigid. He is polite to Alfred but he quickly dismisses him. Why? The son of Talia Head wouldn't fraternize with the help. Watching how their relationship will grow (and how Damian will hopefully learn to trust Alfred as his father did) will be one of the great joys of this book. And leave it to Morrison to introduce some new evil to the Batman's world. Just like in R.I.P., he's given us some decidedly sinister and frightening villains to fear. I can't wait to see what Pyg and friends have in store for the Dyamic Duo. The back of the issue had a preview section that left me almost as breathless as the story itself. I've read the thing four times now and I'm literally chomping at the bit waiting for the next issue. Great stuff!

Continuing on the DC kick...

Superman: World of New Krypton #4 (James Robinson, Greg Rucka and Pete Woods) - This book is one of my favorites coming out of DC these days and certainly my favorite of the four main Superman titles. The story of Superman living amongst his people gives us a glimpse into Kryptonian lifestyle on a scale we haven't seen since John Byrne was writing the Big Blue Boyscout. This particular issue, which shows Green Lanterns Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Sodam Yat (don't ask about continuity, just don't) show up on New Krypton for a little fact finding mission has some great glimpses of Kryptonian culture. Kal's buddy Tyr, a member of the Kryptonian Labor Guild, gives the GLs a tour around New Krypton that shows off everything from fashion to terraforming. The tour soon turns bloody though, as Kal and his security force, with help from the GLs, have to track down and capture a rogue Kryptonian who has escaped the Phantom Zone. A really great balance of action and exposition, this issue is beautifully rendered by Woods, who turns in his best pencils on the book to date. Lots of cool stuff happens in this issue, including a near conflict between Hal and Zod, some misgivings on the part of Sodam Yat that Kal has left Mon-El in charge of Metropolis in his stead, and a frying pan/fire situation for Supes at the end. More quality stuff from the Superman Family. Also, stay tuned in the back for an awesome preview of Cry for Justice!

Scalped #29 (Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera) - High Lonesome ends with a whimper more than a bang, but it's a resonant whimper nonetheless. Revelation and degradation abound as the latest Scalped story-arc comes to a close. More great work from Aaron and Guera as this series just continues to get better with each passing issue. It's not easy to review this one without giving too much away, so I'll just tell you to get your butts down to the shop and pick it up. This is the best Vertigo book since Preacher. And yes, I have read Y: The Last Man.

My pull list for this week:

Action Comics #878
Flash Rebirth #3
Red Robin #1
Angel: Blood & Trenches #4
Uncanny X-Men #511
X-Men Forever #1

That's it for this week. Get down to your local shop and Grab These Books!

1 comment:

  1. I have to say it will be a long time before I can even give that book a chance. Killing Bruce Wayne was horrible.... and I just dont know that I can swallow it yet and forgive DC for it.

    Maybe someday..... but after Marvel went stupid with all the "Mutant Crossovers" and "Massacres" it was a good ten years before I picked up a Marvel comic again.

    I feel the same about DC now.