Welcome to February, here's two new issues from Grant Morrison, each sort of fucking insane, now let your mind fail to process them! Good? Now here's two Scott Snyder horror books! Oh, and by the way, Saga is back as well!
This was a good week.
Swamp Thing #39
It’s so weird to think his book has one more issue left, and that’s it. I’m going to miss the hell out of it, because Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz have been doing just some fantastic work. So, the shit officially hit the fan in this arc, and now we’re just setting up for the final battle of the series. All seems lost, one last hope, that sort of stuff. I mean, if you’ve seen the cover for #40, it’s pretty obvious that it’s a big battle between all the Swamp Things and the Rot/Metal/Grey, so that should be fun. I’m curious to see how this will sort of set up what Charles Soule established in the Futures End issue, but at the same time I’m just going to be bummed that this book is gone.
Good god, it was like what… nearly six months between 20 and 21? Insane. At this point, I straight up don’t know what’s taking that long. Whatever, one issue left. This was another great issue, but I’ve got to be honest, it was hampered by me totally forgetting about it even coming out this week. It was Wednesday when I found out this released, and I then had to go back and remind myself where we were in the story. It’s just unfortunate, really. Luckily, like I said, the quality was still there, and I really liked how they conveyed the dialogue with Clint reading lips, thought it was pretty damn clever actually. Looking forward to how this wraps up, but unless they just kept these in the bag in anticipation for the release of the new series, I don’t know how we’re getting #22 before the new #1 next month.
You know what’s great? A new comic from Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham, that’s what. I’ve got to say though, the way Nameless starts out, I thought it was going to be one of those Morrison comics where I just flat out don’t know what the fuck is going on. Right from the get go, Nameless hits you with some weird fucking shit, with little to no (surface) context, and that’s where I start going “oh man, what’s going on? I’m not understanding any of this.” Luckily, the mass confusion only lasted about the first half of the issue, and then things calm down and we find out the basic plot is an asteroid is about to hit the earth, characters going to the moon, dream keys, nothing is real, etc. Yeah, that’s when you know when you’re in for some shit, when a Grant Morrison comic ends with “nothing is real.” Can’t wait to be mind fucked. What was easy to understand about this book, is how god damn good Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbrain made this sucker look. Plenty of detail and wide arrange of colors to back them up. One of the best looking books this week, hands down.
This is another one of those “it’s been a while, so I have to remind myself where the story is at every new issue,” while not as bad as Hawkeye, it still sucks to realize you don’t remember what happened the last issue and have to go back. But anyways, last issue Velvet broke some old spy out of captivity, and he’s the one who has answers… maybe. This is a spy story, so maybe he has answers, maybe he’s just playing the game… yeah, he’s playing the game. I liked how the story showed both sides of the story, his and the agency’s, so it really leaves you with no idea who to actually believe as a good spy story should, and of course, it leaves the ending of the issues with the protagonist looking like they’re fucked as well, so hooray for cliff hangers.
Saga really just snuck up on me, I hardly noticed the usual handful of months hiatus, which is great, because HEY LOOK, new Saga. As with any average issue of Saga, this one just keeps dropping bombs. What fucking kills me is how quick this book can make your heart sink. You become so invested in the characters and what’s happening to them, then just casually, Hazel’s narration drops the tiiiiiiiiny little detail that from the current events, her father wouldn’t find her for years. Like what the fuck?! Damn it Brian K Vaugh, god damn it. You can’t do this to me! If anything, at least it definitely guarantees this book will go on for-practiclaly-ever. So there’s that… Then there’s the other group of ladies getting pissed on by a dragon. That’s Saga for you.
So now someone knows that this guy is sort of a fucking liar and actually kind of evil. It’ll be interesting to see how that sort of plays out. This issue tells readers a lot about Mikey’s motivations without actually spelling them out, which I can appreciate. We also learn a bit about what happened to him in his life spent at fantasy land… and then the last page just totally throws that all out the window when his pregnant baby mama comes through the portal only he was supposed to be able to get through, ready to throw everything in the series into a giant shitstorm that’s brewing. The final page reveal made me laugh (in a good way) simply because it’s such ridiculous soap opera thing to happen and I can’t wait to see what happens because of it.
COWL is hands down one of the best Image books. It’s definitely a sleeper, but it has one of the best fleshed out stories I’m reading from the publisher along with it being one of the best looking books. While I feel that I’ve definitely read/seen a similar story where a corrupt union leader creates instances where their union would be needed, the fact is, this book just does it so god damn well, it’s all in the execution. (And honestly, maybe that story where I’ve seen something similar was just the short film this was based off of, I don’t know, probably… hooray irony?) There’s so many different angles surrounding the central conflict. You’ve got the union leader, a guy covering up murdering a guy who figured it all out, that guy being a former bad guy turned union worker, then you’ve got the heroes who still want to do good, one of those is a woman who the union would rather objectify than take seriously, so and so on. There’s so much going on in this book, but it never feels like it’s too much… Have I mentioned that Rod Reis’s are is fucking great as well? I have? Well too bad. It’s that good.
Have comics become too happy for you? Do you need some grimness back in your life? How about a little kid stabbing a dude in the neck, then evilly smiling about it when nobody is looking? Oh, what are your thoughts on torture interrogation? Nailbiter has got that all, and then some! Despite all the neck stabbing murderous children, I still enjoy the certain Scooby Doo element this book has. Hidden Aztec looking temple in the middle of a man-made Oregon lake? Fuckin’ okay, let’s go with that! This book is just sort of crazy and weird in its own little way, and while I’m not singing its praises from the mountaintop or anything, that sure as hell doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it every month
I said it about the first issue, and I’ll say it again… Horror is really hard to convey in comics, because the reader controls the pacing, but man does Wytches do a good job of still being really scary despite that fact. Here we get to learn what fate Sailor can expect (although, if I am to be fair in my critical thoughts on this book, it was revealed in the sort of usual Snyder info-dump which can be read in interviews manner, but oh well), we see the Wytches in all their disgusting glory, and we get a twist ending that’s probably more scary for a parent then any gory typical horror outcome… All that said, man… the splatter effect Hollingsworth is using on the colors is just still too much for me. For those who have the issue, I’ll give an example. Later page, we see the Wytches on the top half, then there’s a narrow panel where something happens to Sailer, which due to the width is sort of hard to decipher anyways, but man does that splatter effect just muck it all up. Just cut back on it. With the heavy use of the effect, I just think it’s detracting from the art more than it’s adding to it… and it does add something to the over all look, but it’s just too much some pages.
American Vampire: Second Cycle #6
So, this one’s been MIA for awhile due to a number of different reasons not worth discussing, but boy did it remind me why I love the hell out of this series… Not only did we get the reintroduction of one of the characters from the two American Vampire mini series illustrated by Sean Murphy and Dustin Nguyen, but we got prime Scott Snyder using history to his benefit. While we were getting a bunch of historical exposition throughout a few pages, it was the way a lot of historical events were used within that info dump which really made up for the fact that it was just a really big info dump. Twisting events like the nuclear testings in the Nevada desert into really being VMS attempts to eradicate “the beast” and then Kennedy’s assassination leading to the fall of the VMS, all just makes for a really well fleshed out feeling world, simply because real events that are easy to recognize are being used to support the made up ones. Just a great book, glad to have it back.
I swear, every time an issue of Annihilator has come out, there’s been a second Grant Morrison book on the stands that very day, be it Multiversity or now, Nameless, and I feel like this one gets overshadowed, it’s counterproductive, I tell ya. Whatever, this was quite the issue of quite the insane series. Of course this breaks down with “maybe one of the main characters is actually the devil?” It’s Grant fucking Morrison, he likes occult shit, and magick, of course the devil is in this! …MAYBE. There were some pretty good reveals and reactions to said reveals through out this issue, and there’s only one more left, so I’m sure shit will just go all out crazy next month. I still get sort of lost reading this book, if only for the fact that I’m just thinking about the last three pages at any given moment on my current page. This is going to make one hell of a good collection to read.