We spend most of the week talking about TV, movies, or video games. But, at our heart, we really love comic books. In case you don’t know, Wednesday is new comic book day. We celebrate each week by picking a few of our favorite comics to recommend. We hope you’ll check them out, and tweet us @NerdItHereFirst to let us know what your favorite comics of the week were. This is The Pull List.
Written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Drawn by Steve Epting and Jeremy Cox
I love Steve Epting’s art. When he’s working with Ed Brubaker, there isn’t a better modern ‘team’ in the business. They just have that spark. And maybe it is too much to hope for lightning to strike twice. But I really wanted it to.
Batwoman is solid enough. Bennett and Tynion have a good grasp on the characters and how to start a story. It’s written well. The art is gorgeous. I love the dynamic between Kane and Pennyworth. I don’t feel like I should be complaining about anything. All of the component pieces are there and good.
It’s a little too ordinary. A little too expected. We have a criminal killed by a mysterious assassin that gets away clean. We have an ambiguously threatening phrase that our criminal manages to croak out before he dies. We have a secret ‘year in the life of Katherine Kane’ that is giving off a strong Andy Diggle’s “Green Arrow: Year One” vibe. I know that there is very little new under the Sun but haven’t we seen all of this before? These are well used comic book tropes. And while they are used competently in this book, they are very familiar and little is done to turn them into anything new.
Where the book really shines though is with Jeremy Cox’s colour palette. He and Epting manage to evoke a completely different feel between the two time periods offered in the story. And it is quite remarkable and beautiful.
So maybe the story needs some time to build. Maybe the team needs to find its footing and feel a little more comfortable with the story that they want to tell. Maybe we need to get to the storm first before we can have the lightning. Let’s hope so! Because all of the pieces are good. It could be one hell of a flash.
American Gods #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Neil Gaiman
Adapted by P. Craig Russell
Art by Scott Hampton
Full disclosure: Neil Gaiman is my favourite author. And now is a really good time to be a Gaiman fan. His work seems to be going through a Renaissance of sorts. More of his short stories are being turned into graphic novels. More of his works are becoming radio plays. American Gods will be coming to a television set near you later this year. And it looks like the ‘Good Omens’ project is finally moving forward again. Maybe we’ll even get to see the Death movie at some point or other in the near future.
So… I’m not going to have anything bad to say about this comic except maybe that it reads like an adaptation of a novel. But since that is exactly what it is, I’m not sure how you can get away from that. There’s just a part of me that wishes it had more of its own voice so that I could enjoy the comic as its own thing. And we see some of that in the scene on the plane –in Shadow’s dream and his first interaction with Mr. Wednesday. But mostly it is the novel with stunning art.
So, if you like the novel… run to your LCS (Local Comic Store) and pick up a copy before they sell out.
They’re selling out pretty fast.
God Country #3
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Geoff Shaw and Jason Wordie
This comic is right in my wheelhouse. I love myth-building urban fantasy. I love normal people getting caught up in supernatural events and seeing how they react, adapt, and survive. God Country is all that and more. Yeah, this book has monsters. Yeah, this book has a giant intelligent sword. But what makes this book so strong are the characters –the family at the heart of events. They’re relatable. They’re real. And that grounds all of the world-expanding supernatural stuff and makes it a more personal story.
If you boil down everything –take away the Gods and the supernatural- what you are left with is a family. A son’s relationship with his father and what does it mean to be a caregiver. How do you survive a relationship that is demanding more than you can give?
In an industry that produces so many familiar stories, it is nice to read something that feels like I haven’t read it a hundred times before. There’s a lot going on here. Alzheimers. Magic. Responsibility. But, at its core: it’s about family.