Antonio’s Top 5 Comics of the Week – 05.29.2013
The Wake #1 [of 10] by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy [DC/Vertigo]
Whoo boy. This is a comic that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time, basically pretty much since it was announced. I’ve been a big fan of Scott Snyder’s work from his Batman stuff to his horror stuff that includes Image’s Severed and DC’s American Vampire and Swamp Thing. He announced a new book that would be drawn by Sean Murphy and it would be a horror book that would be published by Vertigo, I had no real reason not to pick it up.
There’s not a lot in the horror side of things that happen in the issue. This is the first issue to a series that is brand new so there’s a lot that this first issue needs to establish and at the same time set up the series in tone and setting. The book opens with a scene set in the future and closes with a scene set in the past. We don’t know yet how these two scenes fit overall to the series but I’m sure we will find out by the end.
The majority of the book spends time with an Agent Cruz from Homeland Security who recruits Dr. Archer. She is a scientist that specializes in cetological vocalization, meaning whale and dolphin songs. Her mission is to come to a base camp where the sounds were recorded so that she can study it and determine what caused the noise. This is the first glimpse that this will be a mysterious book and that characters are keeping secrets. This sound is a strange one but someone Dr. Archer has heard it before but didn’t want to admit it to Agent Cruz. Why? We don’t know, but we are shown a flashback where we see where she heard it and it coincides with a traumatic event. When things like this happen in horror stories it’s best for the character to try and forget it than explain it. We don’t know what happened but it’s clear Dr. Archer wants to forget it but will go along with the mission because according to her deal with Cruz, she’ll be benefitting greatly.
Dr. Archer accepts and we are told that the mission or project should take 8 to 10 days. She is flow to a remote place in Alaska and I’m already very excited. I’ve explained before that I’m a big fan of horror stories, stories in general, that take place in isolated settings. Cruz and Archer get into a submarine where they meet the rest of the team that is partaking in this mission. Archer mentions that Cruz didn’t say there would be other people and Cruz says that he didn’t not say there would be other people, its funny line and something that makes sense at is also a wink at these types of stories that start off like this.
The rest of the team consists of Meeks, who is a biologist and is under the impression that he was brought in to study tissue samples. There’s Dr. Marin who is a professor of Folklore and Mythology from Brown University who is under the impression that he was brought in to study an old relic. There’s Bob Wainwright who is Archer’s old boos that fired her, they both didn’t know they were going to be seeing each other on this mission. Aboard the submarine the team finds all of this out and demands Cruz gives them answers as they make their way to an illegal underwater oil rig. Once they dock they see a man has been mutilated by something and is being brought to a medic as Archer sneaks off and sees a fish humanoid confined in a straightjacket in a tank.
I don’t know much about what’s going on but the start of this series has me hooked and has me hooked bad. I love stories like this that combine all these different elements, horror, mythology, science, isolation, and the unexplained. Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy have crafted a really fucking cool comic that I can’t wait to read more of. Murphy’s art is absolutely fantastic. I’ve always liked his style and he has a great ability to not only build an amazing world but also make each character different looking from each other. The colors are beautiful and do a great job setting each scene in the book; I expect nothing less from Matt Hollingsworth. This is so totally worth a pick up if you liked anything I mentioned here and I think we’re going to be brought a long a great and terrifying ride.
X-Men #1 by Brian Wood, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, and Laura Martin [Marvel]
The X-Men title was once the best selling comic of all time with a creative team of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. In the last iteration of the title it was book that wasn’t as important as Uncanny X-Men, meaning that the stories told in the title didn’t affect the overall X-Men world, and if they did, it just stayed in that title. Remember the X-Men vs. Dracula and Vampires? I enjoyed that book, it was a lot of fun, but then the writer left the book and the series took on a different tone when Brian Wood took over. When Brian Wood took over it turned into a sort of covert X-Men book lead by Storm, they went on scientific missions that could benefit humanity and mutant kind. The team consisted of Pixie, Psylocke, Domino, and Colossus. They were a team that worked for Cyclops after the Schism and those missions also caused tension between Storm and Cyclops and Colossus. It was a short run but in those few issues Wood did a great job of making Storm a leader and bringing this team of female X-Men to the forefront, obviously with the exception of Colossus. I mention this series because if you haven’t it’s totally worth checking out and though you don’t need to read it to “get” X-Men #1 you can see the start of this idea that came out in a natural way.
I was a big fan of those some odd issues of X-Men that Wood did last year or the year before and I’m sure I was in a small group of fans that missed that team and the book. When I heard that Brian Wood was relaunching the X-Men title with an all female team I was really overjoyed. With Aaron and Bendis on X-Men titles I’ve feel like we’ve had a renaissance for the group of mutants. The stories that they’re telling and that they will be telling have me as excited as when I was a child looking forward to the next episode of X-Men the Animated Series.
This comic brings together all the women who are not on Cyclops’s team of X-Men. The main characters that the first issue focuses on are Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, Rachel Summers, Kitty Pryde, and a returning Jubilee. It seems natural for these women to come together, and I don’t mean as a team because the team dynamic is already there. These women have been working together in some capacity for years already. There’s no need to have a scene where they come together after an event and declare that they are a new team, they’re already X-Men and they’re doing their job. I just like that they are being brought together in this book because I’m already fans of them from previous comics as well as other comics they’re currently a part of. You can find Kitty in Wolverine and the X-Men and All New X-Men, Storm in Wolverine and the X-Men and leading Uncanny X-Force with Psylocke, Rogue is with the Uncanny Avengers, and Rachel Summers is also a team player in Wolverine and the X-Men. The only mystery here is where Jubilee has been since she left the book before Brian Wood took over, the first time.
I am absolute crazy about this book and it’s not just because I think it’s great that Marvel is doing a all female team of X-Men. It’s because this book brings together some of my favorite X-Men characters and it just so happens that they’re all female. I’ve been a huge Rogue fan since I read Mike Carey’s X-Men run and I love that she’s an Avengers now. Kitty has become an amazing character in my eyes over the last few years in Wolverine and the X-Men. Also Brian Wood is writing a very different Kitty over in Ultimate Comics X-Men that is worth checking out. I really liked Brubaker’s take on Rachel during his X-Men run and I’m a 90’s kid with the love of Animated X-Men so I have a soft spot for Jubilee. The first issue is very exciting and sets up the first story arc and really showcases how well the team works together, like they have been for years at this point. It’s actually cool to have a new team book be launched without having to have a cause for the team to get together and fight whatever so that later they realize they work well together and they stay for as long as the series go. No, eff all that, these women are X-Men they know their shit, they know how to work together, and they got nothing to prove that they haven’t proved a million times over.
Wolverine and the X-Men #30 by Jason Aaron, Pasqual Ferry, and James Campbell [Marvel]
Wolverine and the X-Men has been building towards a huge battle between the Hellfire Club and the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning. We know that the Hellfire Club has started the Hellfire Academy and is recruiting students and teachers alike. This issue is a prologue to the main arc, meaning that this issue is used to position and reveal story lines that will be used in the coming arc.
There are a couple of things that happen in this issue, first of all Beast takes Broo to S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters to speak with Dr. Xanto Starblood, who is an expert on Brood physiology, to see if he can help cure Broo of what’s ailing him. But of course it doesn’t work and Broo and Starblood along with the help of someone called The Philistine escape and join the Hellfire Academy.
We also learn that teen detective Quentin Quire is on the case chasing down the Bamfs to find out what happened with Idie and why she went to the Hellfire Academy. This was my favorite moment from the issue and something I was very glad to see. Quentin finds out that the reason that Idie has joined is not because she thinks she’s a terrible person who has to atone for her sins but simple Wolverine revenge on how the Hellfire Club manipulated her with the priest and how the shot Broo and changed him from the loveable Brood that he was into the monster Brood that he is currently. Idie says that she’s going to kill them for what they’ve done in her most badass Wolverine moment.
As Quentin discovers this he’s accosted by Kitty, Storm, and Iceman because they think he’s the traitor that’s been helping out the Hellfire Club the entire time, he’s not but that functions as a way for Quentin to switch sides to bring Idie back but to also be an undercover agent as well because the traitor was revealed to be Toad who betrayed the X-Men because of his love to Husk who turns out has also joined the Hellfire Club.
Mind the Gap #10 by Jim McCann and Rodin Esquejo [Image]
This is a huge issue in the series, and I mean huge. This review is not going to be a long one and that’s mostly because I don’t want to spoil what happens inside because if you’re reading this comic then you have to read it. I put it on the list because I really enjoyed this issue and the actions that occurred here will have ramifications that will be felt throughout the rest of the series. I’ll tell you what happens but I won’t tell you any specifics. This is the issue you find out who is behind the hoodie. Yeah, that’s major shit. The major reason that I loved about this issue was the fact that McCann didn’t dwell on that specific plot point because even though it is important it isn’t as important as what follows. This issue gives us just enough to answer some questions we, the reader, have had since the beginning but opens up a whole new can of worm questions. We have been shown scenes behind the curtain and now we’re going to be jumping head first into what is a bigger part of this conspiracy but also new facts about Elle and what is really happening to her. I have to read these 10 issues again.
Angel and Faith #22 by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs [Dark Horse]
My love for this series is pretty well documented on this column and I will surely miss it when this current season is over, but there are still 3 issues left and we’re shaping up a grand finale. When last we left this series the cliffhanger was that the group was in the process of resurrecting Giles and we were seconds away from knowing whether it was successful. Being familiar with the Buffyverse and how plans for these characters usually go we know that the answer will be a resounding yes and no.
Of course the plan worked, to a certain extent. Giles is revived, he is alive and among the living, but there’s a catch. The magic that was used to bring back Giles had a memory element that worked to bring back the magic and the ones that were casting the spell were Giles Aunts and even though everyone in the group came together and thought of memories about Giles his aunts being the spell casters had more influence and power and so the Giles that was brought back was not the Giles we know and love but a younger version, and not the younger teenage badass version but the 12 year old version that his aunts adored.
Yes, Giles is back! Back as a 12 year old! I liked this twist a lot because of what followed was something that I didn’t notice was lacking in the series until this issue. One of the reasons I loved Angel the TV series was because of the characters but also because of some of the humor that came to the surface from the characters and the situations that they found themselves. This issue was ripe with the funny and I enjoyed every moment. Everyone was shocked that Giles was 12 except for his aunts who loved it and had a field day going out and shopping for their nephew. I forgot to mention that Giles has all his memories and that mentally he’s at the age he died but he’s just in the body, his body, of a 12 year old. There was just a bunch of great gags that followed a 12 year old Giles. These gags include Faith getting upset because she catches him looking at her breasts, then later having a heart to heart with Faith and hugging her and getting a boner, then later being stopped by Alasdair from drinking scotch. Throughout the issue while all this is happening the team is also preparing for their final shot at taking down Whistler, Pearl, and Nash. The issue ends with the beginnings of the battle and we are left waiting until next month to see where everything ends up. Looking forward to see how all this turns out, this has been a fun ride as far as comics go and I’m already looking forward to the next season if we’re going to have the same creative team.