Halloween’s right around the corner, The Walking Dead is back, and Afterlife with Archie is now a thing, so I figured one more pseudo-resurrection would be par for the course. I don’t know that I have enough to say (or enough time to say it) that I’m going to be writing on a weekly basis, but after updating my Pull List, I thought perhaps a quick “I’m Alive!” was in order. For future reference, whether I post here or not I do read at least a few new comics every week, and have been quietly documenting my reading via Comic Vine’s list system. You know. In case you’re interested (most noteworthy: I breezed through the entirety of Locke & Key this month and am eagerly awaiting its final issue next week).
Wolverine & the X-Men #37
First up on this week’s small stack was Wolverine & The X-Men #37. It’s worth noting that Battle of the Atom has been an event which I’ve enjoyed, albeit with a slowly fading enthusiasm as the story masterminded by Brian Michael Bendis passed the midpoint and immediately started losing steam. Today’s was the penultimate issue of a two-month crossover. Sadly, that’s what it felt like: a book characterized by what it precedes, yet another piece of filler before whatever massive, surprising reveal Bendis has planned for next week’s closer. For the first time, I’m thinking the critics may be right about the man’s inability to craft satisfying conclusions despite arguably awesome inceptions. By this point the motivations and trustworthiness of most of the characters are still completely shrouded in mystery, and the final page’s setup for the finale leaves little reason to anticipate any worthwhile exposition or denouement because there’s still a heck of a battle to be had.
All that aside, Jason Aaron’s actual writing of the issue is fairly enjoyable, and is complemented by generally solid (if occasionally awkward) art. Despite the fact that Aaron’s book is the only major “X-Men” book not on my pull list, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed his issues quite a bit, maybe even more than a few of the other parts of BotA. Of course, context is a big part of why I read this issue, and I imagine it’s also the deal -maker or -breaker for everyone else. Simply put, this isn’t an issue of Wolverine & the X-Men, it’s an issue of Battle of the Atom, so if you’re not following that there’ nothing here for you, and if you are following that, you kind of have to read this even if you’re not overly enthusiastic about doing so.
The remainder of today’s pull was courtesy of Image, who decided, it seems, that today was a good day for launching new titles.
I’ve gushed a bit about Ed Brubaker’s writing in the past. It occurs to me that some folks aren’t fans of him, but I can’t imagine why not. To date, I’d never read anything of his I disliked — and with Velvet #1, that record stands. Brubaker is finally scratching a years-long itch to write a spy thriller, and partnered with utterly dynamic art from Steve Epting & Elizabeth Breitweiser, that’s a very, very good thing. As with Fatale, Velvet is a book which alternately fits and breaks the mold of its genre, feeling precisely like the spy stories you’ve seen before even as it shines with an implacable something you’ve not. For the unacquainted, this is the story of the pretty girl at the front desk who usually serves as window-dressing for the suave manly agent’s tale. In no time at all the agents become the window-dressing, and you realize that Velvet Templeton is by far the most interesting person in the room.
And then she kicks a few people in the face and jumps out a window.
Like I said, there are some people who, for whatever reason, don’t like Brubaker. Perhaps those people will find something to dislike about Velvet, too. Its adherence to (despite its defiance of) the spy thriller genre means that, to a great extent, you’ll need a taste for espionage and subterfuge if you’re to enjoy this book. But what Velvet sets out to accomplish, it does flawlessly, and I for one am excited to see where Ms. Templeton goes next.
Pretty Deadly #1
Yet by far the most thrilling debut of the week, for me, was Pretty Deadly, assembled by creative trifecta Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, and Jordie Bellaire. I hesitate to try to write anything resembling a “review” of it because inevitably I would fail to articulate properly what I loved so much about it. It is a western. It is gothic. It is ugly, but also quite beautiful. Like Deathface Ginny it is enchanting and frightening. Like the free-form autobiographical account of the book’s inception, it is riveting. I turned the final page, stared at the gorgeous wraparound cover, and felt so satisfied that I began to wonder why I bother reading anything which satisfied less.
Perhaps that sounds hyperbolic. No doubt at least one person out there will, in the spirit of the Internet, glance over Pretty Deadly #1 and say “meh.” In the spirit of the Internet, I’d answer, Don’t be that guy. I don’t typically give a call to action here, but really, you should be reading Pretty Deadly.
And those are my thoughts for this week’s pull ^_^