All-New Weekly Pull: November 6

Two Image slow burns, a Marvel end and a Marvel beginning, and the first Dynamite book I’ve ever bought. This week is perhaps most notable because it marks my introduction of a sort of “ratings” system — the one I introduced for Arkham Origins. Please bear in mind that (and here I put on my scholar hat) these ratings aren’t interval in nature.

Morning Glories #34

Though I’ve been quite consistent in my praise for what may well prove to be Spenser & Eisma’s magnum opus, issues like this resurface the sneaking suspicion that it’s a story far more enjoyable and more easily followed in trade format (which, to be fair, is the way I experienced the first three arcs of the series and fell in love with it to begin with). The major action alternates between Jade’s tragic past and Hisao’s tragic present, allowing for an intriguing exploration of the diverse ways some of these kids have of coping with (or refusing to cope with) loss of loved ones. Perhaps it’s merely the armchair theologian in me, but I found Jade’s speech regarding the Bible’s (infrequent, but consistent) answers about what comes after death particularly engaging, not least of which because she echoes claims I’ve been known to make myself, albeit without the (decidedly Morning Glories) samsara spin.

That said, this is hardly a standout issue, though with the surprise (and characteristically opaque) final page leaving so much in the air I’m optimistic that something big is coming within the next couple issues. 3/5 [Indifferent]

Fatale #18

I’ve really enjoyed this Seattle grunge arc for several reasons, not least of which my baseless affection for the Pacific Northwest. The whole story has been predicated on the dramatic irony of Josephine’s amnesia, and it’s only a matter of time (you’d think) before she remembers who she is and wishes she could forget all over again. As the letter at the end of the issue reminds us, sometimes a good story depends not on a surprise ending but rather the arrival at an inevitable destination, and the sense of impending doom has hung over this band’s house since the moment Jo stumbled through the door.

Brubaker and Phillips continue to deliver a fantastic blend of noir intrigue and occult horror, and this issue is par for that course. If you’ve a stomach for this sort of thing, I honestly can’t recommend enough giving Fatale a shot. (Just make sure to start at the beginning!) 4/5 [Liked It]

Legends of Red Sonja #1 (of 5)

I  have never really cared much for action, warriors, or battle. It’s a disposition I’m not entirely sure I can explain, and while it may seem at odds with the violent nature of much of what I enjoy I encourage you to keep in mind the genre of violence to which I’m referring. Here is the blood and glory, swords and chain-mail world of the likes of Conan the Barbarian and, more to the point, the She-Devil with a Sword: Red Sonja.

Despite my general lack of interest, hearing that Gail Simone was spearheading a collaborative celebration of the character with a powerful creative pedigree piqued my interest. And today, while I was browsing the shelves at Laughing Ogre, that interest got the better of me and I snagged the first issue of the miniseries.

It was as I expected: a perfectly-competent product that simply doesn’t appeal to my tastes. Not that it didn’t try. The stories (this issue contains three), loosely strung together by way of an overarching frame, permit for what will no doubt prove (over the course of the series) a bountiful variety of facets of Sonja’s skills and personality. Here is a heroine fierce while amusingly flippant, wrangling with werewolves and sea monsters in between easy domination of lesser (human) foes. If I’d come into Legends with doubts as to the reasons for Sonja’s appeal (I didn’t, but others might), this book would easily lay them to rest; she is, quite simply, an excellent character.

I finished this issue without wanting to pick up others, but with a greater appreciation for why many would. As such, if you (like me) have little knowledge of Red Sonja, and particularly if you (unlike me) think you might like her kind of book, this is definitely a great miniseries to look into. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here reading… well, something else. 3/5 [Indifferent]

Amazing X-Men #1

The first complete comic series I ever read was Kyle & Yost’s X-Force, which dovetailed with the first comic event I ever read, Second Coming. The event was, as far as I can tell, significant for many reasons to X-Men readers at the time, but perhaps for no greater reason than the death of Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner, whose passing and funeral are frequently noted for being among the best and most tactfully-handled in Marvel’s history. I bring this up because, as fate would have it, the first Nightcrawler-related story I ever read was also his last.

Until today. Of course, unless you’ve been living in the Negative Zone, you probably already know about the new Amazing X-Men series, and the long-awaited return of Kurt Wagner to the land of the living. Undoubtedly, seeing Kurt alive and BAMF-ing will be more meaningful to longer readers than it was to me, but my unfamiliarity did nothing to suppress the sheer joy and charisma he displays in the opening pages of his story. Here is a man, a man of God, who made it paradise — but he can’t shake the feeling there’s at least one more big adventure waiting to be had back on earth.

Enter Azazel, the evil (red) father whom Kurt rejected years ago to pursue Good, and we have the perfect excuse for Nightcrawler to shed his shining white robe and teleport into action once more. Meanwhile, after Kitty Pryde’s Battle of the Atom mic drop and departure, the Jean Grey school has a new faculty opening, and Angelica “Firestar” Jones is prepared to try to fill it, though (as is rather hilariously demonstrated) she may not have realized the crazy situation she was getting herself into.

The biggest complaints against this book are fairly predictable. Yes, it’s yet another X-Men title. And yes, somehow there’s another team with Wolverine on it. On the flip side, Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness have provided a highly entertaining introduction to a story that promises to be more ridiculous and fun than the weighty tale-telling that has characterized X-Men stories for the last few months. (I mean come on. Pirates. Furry pirates. In heaven. From hell?) It’s  hard to say how the market will sustain so many ongoing X-books, but for now what matters is that Nightcrawler is back in a big way. 4/5 [Liked It]

Captain Marvel #17

I loved this issue enough that a simple blurb here wasn’t sufficient, so check out my full highlight here5+/5 [Instant Favorite]