I recently read Rex Mundi v1: Guardian of the Temple. It's a pretty cool alternate history comic set in the 1930's and has a bit of Da Vinci Code feel to it, but with better writing and a much bigger scope.
From what I can tell, the first volume looks to be the opening salvo in what looks to be a series that has a very epic scope.
I really liked the setting which is 1930's Paris, but the Catholic Church pretty much runs the continent of Europe. There's some cool mystery and magical elements that have me intrigued as well.
I did have a hard time connecting with any of the characters. They seemed more like tools to move the plot along to a desired location, than actual people having out of the ordinary things happening in their lives.
The art was hit or miss for me too. The artist, Eric J totally nailed the setting. He brought that era back to life, and the environment looks glorious. However, his figure drawing was a bit off the mark. Every person looks overly tall (like 9 feet tall, no joke), and lanky with shoulders you'd see on a professional swimmer.
Overall, a pretty decent comic, and one I'll likely carry on with sometime soon.
I was never big on comics but lately I have been reading the new Charmed comics that start after the series ended.
Time for my four 52 reviews and a Marvel one. I'll do it in the order I read them in.
X-Men: Return of Magik
I'm going to say 'crap'. Very wordy, nothing really that interesting, it ties into six billion different stories and the rather lacklustre X-Infernus. I think I skim-read most of it. Definitely another nail in the coffin for my interest of Marvel comics.
Wonder Woman #1
The art is the easiest bit for this one. It was clear, well drawn and fairly modest for DC. I am very worried that Wonder Woman will lose her height, however. She seemed to stand a good six or seven feet tall, but I reckon she'll drop down a bit later or stand at the same height as other women.
As for the story? I... am disappointed, I must admit. I will be honest and say nothing really had me wanting more bar Wonder Woman herself. Whilst I understand it's a set up issue, it didn't really bother to answer any questions nor give any real grounding, simply opting to say this guy will cause issues, Wonder Woman is hot and don't you know it, this guy is dead, centaurs exist and that was about it. I put it down and I wasn't itching for more. I had no idea what was really going on, how the events connected, and I wasn't made to care more about them.
Maybe a 5/10. It wasn't bad, but could have been better.
Birds of Prey #1
This is my second favourite of the four 52 comics I have. The art was generally very well done and, again, quite modest. Whereas Wonder Woman didn't thrill me, Birds of Prey really got me interested. There was Black Canary and another character (Starfire?) and I wanted to know more about them. I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted them to find out what was going on.
That said, I wonder if the author was annoyed about Babs. There's a bit where Black Canary meets up with Babs, and she comments on seeing Babs walking (It's emphasised). I interpreted it as a sly jab at the change for Babs, because she was an important member of Birds of Prey
A good 8/10, I reckon.
Yay, Batgirl! Like the Stephanie trades I've just read, Batgirl still has a good amount of humour, including a reference to Batwoman (Who is also red-headed and wears black). The art is also very similar in that it's rather dark but not oppressively so. It's a little less modest, I felt, but still fairly decent.
Of course, you can't comment on Batgirl without the change to Babs. I will say now that I don't buy it. It's potentially disrespectful to those who had Babs as an icon, especially as Oracle, plus it claims it's been "three years" since the events of The Killing Joke. That doesn't add up to me, personally, especially as the events of most comics from the past 20-30 years since The Killing Joke are seemingly still valid. There's no mention of Steph, no mention of the Birds, nothing. It's as if they've completely ignored it but everything else still stands. However, they have spun it interestingly and Babs is arguably weaker than she was before 52. You'll have to read to find out.
Probably a 7/10. I wanted to see more, but the changes to Babs do bug me.
My most anticipated read! Again starting with the art, it's still very clear and follows the style of Elegy in that some panels flow and others are more abstract, as well as the continuation of the different colour schemes for different aspects of Batwoman's life. However, parts of it didn't feel as polished nor as artistically beautiful as they had in Elegy. There's also a few clumsy moments here and there with some very odd poses for Kate as well as her changing cup size. At moments it seems very decent, at others it seems as if they've got her and Flamebird semi-nude just for the sake of it.
The writing was fairly good, too. I'm not sure what's happened to Renee but she's hinted at. The events of Elegy are still very, very fresh in Kate's mind - and her publication too - and as I read that recently, I thought it gave me a grounding point, but Kate does take the liberty of giving a quick overview of what happened. There's definitely some mystery so it's good to see that the Detective Comics style is carrying forward into this new trade.
Batsy has another potential love interest, too, and I'm interested to see how that pans out. It also looks like she's getting more and more independent, although it seems as if she may be getting a sidekick.
Probably another 8/10. It's let down by some slightly wobbly art, and Flamebird does kinda just suddenly exist in this.
So yes, I think the new 52 is sort of promising as a new reader, but it depends on your experience with DC in the past. Anyone who reads them with regularity will likely pick up on things straight away, whereas those who haven't might find themselves stumbling over things and not being quite sure of what's going on.
Finished the 3 Runaways graphic novels I picked up. I think they encompassed the first 18 issues, which is good b/c the story arc really did not feel complete after #1 and #2. The story starts on pg 1 and does not wrap up at all satisfactorily until the last pg of issue 18 or whatever it is.
Overall I enjoyed the story and charachters and nods to the rest of the Marvel universe. But, I don't feel a strong desire to pick up more.
I am looking forward to reading George R R Martin's Fevre Dream which was adapted to a graphic novel. I picked it up last week. But I must finish Shogun first. I must.
Saw this cover on Comics Alliance and just had to share it. It's for an upcoming Avengers trade and it's absolutely laughable. Iron Man and Thor look utterly ridiculous!
In other comics news, I recently read and reviewed Hellboy v1 Seed of Destruction. I mostly enjoyed it, but I sorta felt like I was being taken by the hand while being showed very carefully who was who, what their powers were, and so on.
The writing was overly wordy, and at times tedious.
Marginal writing aside, Mignola's art is pretty cool. Very moody and dark. I like the creepy tone it gives the book. I'm also a fan of some lovecraftian beasts, and there was plenty of that business going on here.
Not the best first volume ever, not by a long shot, but still pretty solid, and I'll for sure be checking back in for the second volume soon enough.
CB, I know you've just started on Hellboy, but I think it's worth pointing out Mignola has a collection called The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects. As far as I can remember, it's only him (Although his daughter is involved once or twice, more as a creative consultant) so there's pages upon pages of his artwork plus it has The Amazing Screw-On Head. That short was adapted for a SyFy pilot, and it was absolutely amazing, but it was sadly never picked up beyond that. I have the pilot on DVD
I recently read and reviewed Hellboy v2 Wake the Devil. A graphic novel of ups and downs for me. I love Mignola's art, and all the weird beasts and demons, but I'm already getting a bit sick of the Nazi baddies, and the whole vampire thing didn't do much for me either.
I'm definitely on the fence with this series.
I don't know if this qualifies, but I liked the art of Charles Vess in the illustrated version of Stardust by Neil Gaiman. The film was a little meh for me, but I loved the said book.
I won't kid you, Hellboy can be extremely dry writing. There's some humour at times, but when it's mostly just Hellboy on his own it can be a bit... dull.
That's when I shut off and just look at the pretty pictures