Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Quick Hits: Avengers 7, Hellboy In Hell 4, Adventure Time With Fiona and Cake 3, and Age of Ultron 1

It's a solid week in new graphic novels, including the Sleeper Omnibus by Brubaker & Phillips, a new printing of Eisner's Last Day in Vietnam, Humanoid's gigantic printing of Jodorowsky and Moebious's The Luminous Incal, and a superb value in the complete Shade - all 12 issues in one GN by for just $20. Right now, though, I'm going to highlight four new individual issue releases out today, Wednesday, March 6.

Avengers 7
Avengers 7 continues Jonathan Hickman's visionary turn at Marvel's flagship team. Of the several Avengers books, it's Hickman's two ongoing series that take the cake week in, week out. After a few issues featuring fantastic origin pieces, things dive back into the thick of it with the encroachment of the New Universe into the 616, a new White Event in the modern era. The Multiverse is collapsing and a new Starbrand is sent to Earth, but things go terribly wrong. Featuring a nifty twist and expectedly fantastic art from Hickman's S.H.I.E.L.D. collaborator Dustin Weaver, this is a fantastic bit of storytelling. This is just the beginning of a very long story that gives us a truly unique turn with the Avengers, utilizing the best of Marvel's large catalog of unique characters otherwise gathering dust in dime bins. I'm getting a Grant Morrison vibe reading these, not in the sense that Hickman's stuff is derivative or like Morrison's at all, it's not: What it is is a fresh turn featuring big stakes and bigger ideas, so many the pages can barely contain them. This is the best thing to happen to the Avengers since the Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon and that little movie that came out last year. Extraordinary stuff.
Hellboy In Hell 4

Hellboy in Hell 4 is unbridled Mike Mignola, an assured cartoonist with a unique storytelling style working gleefully with his best creation at the top of his game. Every little trick of narration that Mignola invented in his moody, horror noir stlye is on display, in a creepy, dark underworld inhabited by mysteries and questions and demons. Hellboy is in Hell, and Mignola is like a kid in a playground. This is some of his best stuff, creepy, moody, funny, dark. And Dave Stewart's colors proves why he is one of the best in the business.

Age of Ultron 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch is everything that is wrong with event comics and superhero comics. An ugly mess from start to finish, we open with a destroyed New York under the apparent oppression of a returned Ultron. Hawkeye is on a solo mission to rescue Spider-Man (Superior or Amazing, does it even matter here?) from some C-listers who made a deal with Ultron or something. Whatever, when he finds him and brings him back to the small handful of surviving heroes, they aren't too pleased because Ultron could have infected them or something and there's lots of Bendisian arguing and blahhhhhh. We're dumped into this mid-story to, I guess, shock us that things have fallen so badly, that Ultron has somehow completely taken over and our heroes are helpless. What we get is another event comic where everything is destroyed and everyone is at risk, and nothing matters because in six months everything will be shiny and new again but until then every other comic will feel the Age Of ULTRON!!! and it's all so pointless and ugly and stupid and I'm sick of stories like this. Widespread wanton death and apocalyptic destruction for the tenth time this year. And of course, this is an Event, hoho, and There Will Be Tie-Ins, because every Marvel comic should be just as shitty. Bendis's dialogue is his standard overlapping useless mess, Hitch's needless hyper-detailed art is just as hopeless and ugly as the whole bloody concept, and to make matters worse there is a 1990s style Chromium foil cover thing. You can put chrome on a turd, but it's still a turd. The worst part is that there are, like, 11 more issues of this tripe. It's books like this that make a True Believer truly bitter. Please stop, Marvel, just... stop.

Adventure Time!
But then I got to Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake 3 and all was right with the world. Natasha Allegri is having so much fun with her gender-swapped versions of Pendleton Ward's extraordinary cartoon, it oozes out of the pages. There is a glorious moment when Fiona and Cake absolutely revel is candy-gore. A bunch of stuff happens, and it's wonderfully illustrated and even the lettering is inspired and whimsical and fun. Thank Kirby for are comics like this. It's funny and pretty and exciting and wonderful and... just buy it.

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