Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Wednesday Review: Women with Weapons

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Here are some of this week's better new comics in stores today.

Genetically engineered girl, gun, sword!
 For reasons I can't put my finger on, Lazarus 1 from Greg Rucka and Michael Lark just didn't work for me. I wish I knew why because this is Rucka and Lark and they just don't suck. Thankfully I really enjoyed issue two. Maybe I'm better primed for the vaguely post-apocalyptic setting, maybe I'm really digging Lark's art here (yup). It's serialized fiction, not every chapter is going to hit, but there's always a bigger picture. I'm glad I'm sticking with it.

Girl, two guns, spaceships!
Dark Horse Presents won the Eisner this year, as it should have, but like any anthology there is hits and misses. Number 26 is emblematic of that, but the misses aren't all that bad and the hits do keep on coming. Ron Randall's Trekker is gorgeous and entertaining, Baron & Rude's Nexus is badass and hilarious ("Is that Cyclops?") and we get some David Lapham and a hilarious Patrick Alexander strip for good measure. There's other stuff, too, and your mileage will vary, but certainly not for the worse.

Woman, weapon, post-apocalyptic boat!
The Massive almost lost me with an absurd one-shot a couple of months ago but Brian Wood and Garry Brown save things for the second month in a row with the second "Americana" in this week's issue 14. The Massive encounters an entire US Navy battle group (complete with aircraft carrier) and they want Callum Israel and they've got big guns to make this happen. But there's a crazy Russian guy with a nuclear sub nearby, and shit starts to hit the fan as The Massive makes a break for it amongst the ruins of a flooded Manhattan. A tightly plotted issue with stunning visuals with a fair amount of surprising back story and twists and turns thrown in. A damn fine comic.

Hawkeye Kate, Bow & Arrow, Madam Masques (her weapon is craziness)!
Is it any surprise that Hawkeye Annual 1 is astonishing? Well, no. Starting off at the end of issue 11, the story follows Hawkeye Kate (seriously pissed off at Hawkguy Clint) and Pizza Dog as they run off to Los Angeles. Her plans fall apart fairly quickly when her funds get cut off and Madame Masque seeks revenge for what went down in Madripoor a few issues back. And of course, making it worth twice the price is 28 pages of Javier Pulido art, from his clever use of silhouette and inventive captions to his expectedly superb action sequences. My goodness, Hawkeye is a continuing embarrassment of visual riches, the latest in Pulido's stunning work. Matt Fraction is one lucky writer. With the extraordinary art of the likes of Pulido (and Matt Hollingsworth's colors), we are even luckier readers.

Women with weapons! This is a coincidence, I swear.
Mind MGMT 13 starts off a series of one-shots and if you've been looking to get into Matt Kindt's marvelous superspy scifi series, do it here. A horror story of programmed sleeper agents in a small neighborhood turning on each other, we get a good look at the depths of the story Kindt is telling as well as his artistic style. - Bounce 3 from Joe Casey and David Messina's stoner superhero dramedy is really, really entertaining. What more can I say? It's a stoner superhero dramedy that's really entertaining. Joe Casey was born to write this. -  Superior Spider-Man 14 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos continues to push the bounderies of the Spidey mythos with a new costume (that I really didn't notice, actually) and Spidey-Henchman (which I did). Doc Oc Spidey is the superior Spidey. - Garth Ennis's Red Team 4 continues to explore the intersection of power and revenge, subject matter Ennis is pretty familiar with. But like his war comics, he does it better than anyone else. - Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction 1 has pretty contrived beginnings, like any such crossover, but Mark Waid and Paul Smith (where on Earth has he been?) keep things light and accessible. - The penultimate Journey Into Mystery is just OK, but hey, Valerio Schitti is comics' next superstar artist, damnit. Buy ten of these and sell them on eBay in three years or something, or buy one and enjoy his clear, expressive art. Either way, you win. - Incidents in the Night is the new (to the USA) David B graphic novel (or the first part, anyway), and man, this thing is all over the place. The narrative is a mess but the art is gorgeous, so go for it.

Only after writing this did I notice that all of this week's spotlight covers feature women with weapons. Read into that what you will.

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