Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Quick Hits: Six New Comics for March 20 including Ultimate Spider-Man, The Private Eye, BPRD and More
In this week's Wednesday Review, I review Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman's latest Marvel superhero offerings, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin's revolutionary The Private Eye, BPRD and more.
Moving on to my other favorite vividly realized shared universe in comics, Mike Mignola and John Arcudi's B.P.R.D. 105 continues to use the foundation of years of great storytelling and fun and unique concepts that make the Mignola-verse so continuously fresh and exciting. The Earth is a dark mirror of the one we know, with humanity in a state of constant war against interdimensional monsters who have overrun the entire globe. This is an international fight with borders being meaningless lines on a map. Splitting our time between the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense headquarters & the unexpected awakening of a key player, and the brutal environs of Siberia, the first part of "A Cold Day In Hell" effortlessly utilizes the rich setting and history and - always a dangerous concept - continuity that we've come to expect from the Hellboy/BPRD Universe. Where the various BPRD books have been hit-or-miss of late, this issue hits solidly on the sweet spot, the dark vision of a screwed world of monsters and menace wonderfully realized by Peter Snejbjerg and on art duties. Indeed Snejbjerg is probably the best artist to tackle BPRD-proper since Guy Davis left the book last year, and I look forward to a lot more from him here.
The Private Eye. One could write volumes on the about the release, online under a frankly revolutionary DRM-free pay-as-you-please model in multiple languages. There have been webcomics for ages and all kinds of different models for payment, but nothing quite like this from two bona-fide A-listers on the cutting edge of their creative game. A widescreen 32 page comic, the story and high-concept - 70 years hence in a world of disguise and obfuscation where the press have a unique power and standing in a radically different internet-abolished society - and art, in all its technicolor futureshock glory just leap off the screen. That they are releasing it in the format that they are is a big factor in what will put this on the map, but if the story and art weren't there in quality the experiment would be a failure. Thankfully Vaughan and Martin are unimpeachably amazing and they execute what would be an assured head-turning best-seller in any traditional model. When so many comics are 20 pages of mediocre pap for four dollars, you can get 32 pages of amazing comic storytelling for whatever you want to pay, and where all the money goes to the creators. Try it for free then double back and pay for the value of pure story you receive, a high value indeed.
Private Eye and Saga from Vaughan and MIND MGMT from Matt Kindt came out this week, all superb examples of the true vanguard of the creator-owned renaissance. But all is not good in creator-owned land: last week saw thew release of a truly dreadful piece of nonsense in Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti's Trigger Girl 6. Serialized in their mercifully canceled Creator Owned Heores anthology, I picked this up based on Phil Noto's artistic contributions. Though credited on the cover as almost an afterthought, his art here is just fine. It's the ham-fisted, downright stupid story from Palmiotti and Grey that makes this so awful. It starts out strong, with a futuristic superassassin targeting the President. Then the plot happens. It's a pretty bad when, even in a genre and medium accustomed to ridiculousness, that I can't accept (or even want to remotely explain) the gibberish that ensues. Just take the $5.99 that you thought you might want to spend on this and put it towards The Private Eye.
Private Eye is currently available for download at http://panelsyndicate.com/ This week's comics provided by Jim Hanley's Universe, New York City's premier comic book store, Where Art and Literature Meet.