Nicola’s New Releases: 15th August 2012
I am hopeless at introducing myself. I may happily ramble about my unnecessary love for Come Dine With Me before I’ve even offered you my name. Well, not today. My name is Nicola and I’m based in the popular and busy Glasgow branch of FPI. When I’m not stocking shelves or writing about comics, I’m studying towards a degree in journalism (when I’m not watching Come Dine with Me, of course). At thirty-five years younger than the oldest member of staff here, I am among the youngest of the FPI employees. Hopefully that unjaded excitement I have for new comics is something I can share with you on here.
To that end I’ll be popping up every week to talk about my favourite new releases and hopefully tipping you off to some works you might not have known about along the way. Providing that I don’t get sacked after my very first review (unlikely! – Joe), I’m really excited to the join the ranks of the FPI bloggers. Here goes for my first in a regular series of looks at the latest releases:
Captain Marvel #2
Marvel /T+/ $2.99
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick Artist: Dexter Soy
The first issue of this new series dealt with Carol Danvars’ reluctance to assume the title of ‘Captain Marvel’. Despite outranking Captain America and demonstrating extraordinary skill, she still struggled with the idea – perhaps this was a subtle nod towards readers who were unsure how to feel about her as the new Captain. Two issues in, however, and Danvars has put her insecurities on the backburner and is keen to get up in the air. Still hyper-aware of her gender – there is one particular sarcastic quip about woman not being funny – as well as the suggestion that Helen Cobb’s flight record was never recorded because she happened to be female.
In an attempt to prove Helen Cobb’s flight record was possible, Danvars sets off with the intention of reaching thirty-seven thousand feet in the air. As she reaches the record height, Carol appears to lose control and crash her place. Emerging unscathed, she finds that she has landed in the middle of a war zone. Except the year is 1944 and she is slap bang in the middle of World War Two. Somehow, Danvars has travelled back in time. With the help of a group of equally strong-willed female air cadets, she adapts to her surroundings and quickly fights off an enemy attack. Dexter Soy’s art works really well in the WW2 setting, delivering stunning action shots.
The identity struggle from the first issue is definitely extinguished by the end of this one. When her allies ask for her name, this time, she does not hesitate in answering: “Captain Marvel”. By the end of issue two, I am happy to say that Captain Marvel has well and truly earned her new mantle. Let’s see more of what she can do with it.
Walking Dead #101
Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Charlie Adlard
Robert Kirkman promised to shock in the milestone one-hundredth issue of ‘The Walking Dead’. He delivered in spades. In fact, my stomach physically churned at the last issue. Issue 101 leaves the group to come to terms with Glen’s death, the threat of Negan and his men still hanging over them. If you’ve stuck with ‘The Walking Dead’ from the beginning, you’ll know that zombies are only the surface of the story; living in the aftermath of such devastation is the ultimate challenge and is put to the test issue after issue. After all, it wasn’t a zombie that killed Glen. Things now look so bleak for Rick and the rest of the group, you have to wonder, is this the beginning of the end?
Angry and grief-stricken, the group set off to bury Glen on the Hilltop. Maggie is overwhelmed with her loss and turns against Rick, adamant that he should have been able to prevent Glen’s murder. As Rick battles with the guilt and where to blame, tempers are lost and punches are thrown. Struggling to come to terms with the loss of another in the group, Rick sets off in search of answers. Instead he stumbles across what will be the biggest test of his character yet. Issue 101 closes with an incredibly bittersweet cliffhanger; when you can’t find solace, should you seek vengeance instead?
Writer: Brian Azzarello Artist: Lee Bermejo
Despite the ‘Before Watchmen’ project shrouded in controversy from the get go, DC responded by setting the bar high from the very beginning. With Darwyn Cooke leading the charge, ‘Minutemen’ and ‘Silk Spectre’ charmed readers – critics warmed to the books and many shrugged off any initial trace of cynicism. Now enter Brian Azzarello. His run on ‘Comedian’ is already two issues in, however ‘Rorschach’ takes things one step further. It’s seedy, creepy and darker than any of the previous ‘Before Watchmen’ books – in the best possible way. Careful not tread on Rorschach’s existing backstory from the original series, Azzarello kicks off the story in the Big Apple. The year is 1977 and tourists are nowhere to be found in Times Square.
The issue opens with the victim of a notorious murderer dubbed ‘The Bard’. With blood spatters on the opening panels eerily resembling ink blots, the tone of the book is quickly set: this is not an uplifting story. Lee Bermejo’s admirably realistic art brings the panels to life; from the New York City skyline with clouds resembling Rorschach’s mask, to his piercing stare in the final panel. It keeps the reader on edge. Despite its bleak outlook, frankly, Azzarello seems in his element. Narrated through Rorschach’s passive aggressive journal entries, the ruthless vigilante follows a drug dealers into the sewers. However, all is not what it seems and Rorschach is met with far more than he bargained for. But, while they may have taken him down in this issue, they have most certainly not taken him out.
Scott Pilgrim: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life 1
Omipress / £18.99 RRP
Brian Lee O’Malley
Comics is a medium that go to extraordinary lengths to bury ordinary human issues in alternate realities – often lacing the protagonist with super-human powers or expensive gadgets to distract from the underlying plot. While these make for incredible reading, sometimes it’s nice to go a little simpler. ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is pretty simple to follow: self-aware boy meets girl, girl gives boy a chance and a delightfully awkward romance ensues. Throw in an amateur rock band, a cool gay roommate and Ramona’s fluid sexuality and you have a gentle laugh at my generation’s expense. All pretty cut and dry – at least, until Scott is forced to battle Matthew Patel, one of Ramona’s “Evil Exes”.
Previously published in black and white volumes, this is the first volume of ‘Scott Pilgrim’ brought to life in colour. Does it benefit from being re-mastered in full colour? Absolutely. Scott’s self-deprecating dreams and Ramona’s dreamy flashbacks are more obviously separated from reality and, for some reason, Sex Bob-Omb seem to rock harder in colour. The story has always been witty, quirky and appealing to the reader – as an extremely awkward individual, clinging tightly to my last few months as a teenager, I consider myself to be the ideal demographic for Scott Pilgrim. The colour edition is definitely worth purchasing and displaying nicely in your bookcase – just take my advice and politely decline your friends’ requests to borrow them, their fingers have destructive oils and they’ll probably just spill decaf vanilla walnut tea on it anyway.