Monday 18 July 2016

Spring 2016 Comics

(April/May 2016)
Kieron Gillen et al, 2016
Kurtis Wiebe et al, 2016

I loved both of these last year, WicDiv especially, and yet the third TPs of both were a bit of a letdown. I adore Jamie McKelvie's art, both in terms of style and fit for the story, and so the series of guest artists in Commercial Suicide was always going to feel a little weird. That was further compounded by the fact that this arc was very clearly marking time. I mean, peaks and troughs and all, but this would have been irritating in the best of circumstances, let alone after the cliffhanger ending of Volume 2.

That said, marking time is certainly preferable to running out of steam, and sadly that's what seems to be happening to Rat Queens. I've since learned that Wiebe has said he's suspending the comic (in not uncontroversial circumstances), but even while reading this it was starting to feel a little forced. There are still flashes of brilliance, certainly, but they don't come anywhere near as thick and as fast as they used to, and the apparent drive for narrative conflict has started to poison the relationship between the Rat Queens themselves, which was one of the key attractions of the title.

Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Frank Martin, 2016
Noelle Stevenson et al, 2016

These two series, meanwhile, just go from strength to strength. East of West continues to be perfectly paced and pitches the balance expertly between its story strands; just when I was starting to get a little disappointed by the absence of Xiaolian, she reappears in hugely spectacular fashion. The continued absence of the Beast of the Apocalypse is also definitely not a drawback.

Lumberjanes, however, is the standout volume in this little round. Charming, witty, engaging, and, on almost every conceivable level, simply a joy to read. The first chapter of A Terrible Plan demonstrates exactly how guest artists should be incorporated, and the main story arc develops Molly and Mal’s relationship wonderfully. Most importantly of all, however, is that I’ve now started reading this to my sons and they love it. While I defy anyone here to find a cuter sight than a surprised five-year-old boy raising his arms and crying “What the junk!” I must confess to having mixed feelings when I correct his table manners and he tells me to, “Cool your jets.”

Who am I kidding? That’s adorable too.

Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, 2016

So yeah… No. I have no reason whatsoever to care what happens to any of these characters.

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