Comics read over the past three days

I read the following comics over the past three days:

AW YEAH COMICS! #1 and #2 – Art Baltazar is a master of superhero comics for kids, and this series represents some of his best work. Both issues have rather weird and nonsensical plots, but that’s kind of the point. The highlight of the first issue is the Goojie-Nana, a character created by Baltazar’s daughter. The highlight of the second issue is the sequence where a villain hypnotizes Action Cat with a laser pointer. Some of the backup material is not up to the level of the main stories.

INCORRUPTIBLE #3 and #2 – I read these in reverse order by mistake. After reading the FCBD edition of IRREDEEMABLE #1, I lost interest in this series; it seemed excessively violent and gruesome. However, I actually liked both these issues. They have the witty dialogue Mark Waid is famous for, and the story, involving a supervillain trying to redeem himself, is genuinely interesting and inspirational.

CREEPY #67 – Unlike the previous Warren comic I reviewed, this issue is a masterpiece, full of stories which are not just gorgeously drawn, but intelligently written as well. The highlight here is Budd Lewis and José Ortiz’s “Excerpt from the Year 5.” This story has an overly compressed plot with minimal characterization, but is elevated to great heights by Ortiz’s fascinating black-and-white art and Lewis’s prose style, which reminds me a lot of Gerber’s. This also applies to Lewis and Vicente Alcazar’s “The Haunted Abbey” and Carl Wessler and Martin Salvador’s “The Happy Undertaker” both of which combine trite and stupid plots with beautiful artwork and well-written dialogue. The story advertised on the cover, “Bowser,” does not actually appear in the issue due to a printing error; it was accidentally replaced by a fairly effective full-color adaptation of “The Raven” by Richard Corben. “Holy War” by Budd Lewis and Adolfo Abellan is obviously based on the ‘60s protest song “One Tin Soldier,” though the story does not acknowledge this. Finally, Isidro Munes’s “Oil of Dog” is an adaptation of a disturbing and blackly humorous Ambrose Bierce story. The artwork in this story is fascinating — the black-and-white watercolor-esque technique reminds me a lot of Alberto Breccia’s late work.

MY LITTLE PONY MICRO-SERIES #4 – I was kind of disappointed in some of the comics I bought on Wednesday, possibly because I read them in a state of near-exhaustion after finishing class and going to the comic book store. This was perhaps the most disappointing of this week’s comics. I love the idea of Fluttershy being a secret knitter, but this story seemed to end too quickly and its moral is rather dubious — Fluttershy has to suffer through some horribly harsh criticism of her work, and the art critics then suddenly change their minds not because they actually like her work, but because Princess Celestia likes it, so the story ultimately teaches a rather cynical lesson that artistic taste is all about conformity. I also didn’t particularly like the artwork.

YOUNG AVENGERS #6 – This was another slightly disappointing one. I absolutely loved the first issue of this series but I haven’t been as excited about subsequent issues. This one was annoying because of the lack of Jamie McKelvie artwork and the ambiguous ending. However, it did present a pretty vivid and depressing picture of the awful nature of the current job market, and I loved the page that was designed to resemble a circuit board.

FF #8 – This was not quite as good as the last issue (with Blastaar’s immortal line “I killed and ate my family”), but it was quite enjoyable. I just love all these characters so much, except Medusa who I’m obviously not supposed to like. It’s nice to see Jim and Margaret Power again, even if only for one panel, but I wonder why Matt Fraction has chosen not to use the three younger Power siblings.

INVINCIBLE #103 – This is probably the current ongoing title that I’m most excited about. I’m actually liking this current storyline more than the one that culminated in #100, which I thought ended rather anticlimactically. This issue features some surprising revelations about Mark and Eve’s baby, and ends on a massive cliffhanger which leaves me eagerly awaiting the next issue. I wish Nolan would just kill Thragg already.

MY LITTLE PONY MICRO-SERIES #5 – This issue is extremely colorful and exuberant, as is appropriate for a story starring my favorite pony, Pinkie Pie. It even includes a song, which is notoriously tough to pull off in comics form. I like the artwork a lot, but the story is rather predictable and I don’t really understand the ending. I wish Katie Cook and Andy Price could do all these MLP:FIM comics.

HAWKEYE #11 – This is easily the best comic of the week and a definite Eisner contender. I have never read any comic that did a better job of representing the mentality of a nonhuman animal. I love the graphic device of depicting the dog’s thoughts in the format of road signs — it effectively captures the thought process of a creature that thinks in very simple, vivid terms (cf. Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation). On Facebook, Corey Creekmur observed that David Aja’s style is heavily influenced by Chris Ware, and this was pretty obvious to me once he mentioned it. However, it’s still very unusual to see this sort of artwork in a mainstream superhero comic. I’d recommend this issue not only to comics fans but to people in animal studies.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2012) #13 – I absolutely love this series, but this issue suffered from being part of a crossover; Kelly Sue DeConnick had to waste several pages on stuff that had no obvious relevance to the main character. Still, this issue was well-drawn, well-dialogued and excitingly written. Given the climate of extreme sexism that has plagued superhero comics fandom recently, I am very glad to see what a creative success this series has become, and I hope it’s also a  financial success.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #31 – I’ve been following this series since #1 because it’s hilarious; I think it’s the funniest X-Men title ever. This issue was a great example of that. It imitates the format of #1, including the ridiculous schedule of classes, but with the twist that this issue takes place in the Hellfire Academy and all the classes involve instruction in how to be as evil as possible. This issue also features the return of Nick Bradshaw, who is easily the best artist to have worked on this series. His debt to Art Adams is blatantly obvious, but I think he’s developing his own distinctive style; I especially like all his visual puns and sight gags.

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