20 Mar, 2012
Greetings readers! Raph here, this time to do something we haven’t seen a while: some good ‘ol reviews! This week it’s Saga, Avengers Assemble and Batman & Robin!
Saga marks Brian K. Vaughan’s return to comics. Previously, he’d been working on TV shows like Lost and trying to get some projects going in Hollywood. His last series, Ex Machina, ended about two years ago… and honestly, he’s been missed. Brian has a unique voice and mind, and he ranks up there with the likes of Morrison, Hickman, Brubaker, Waid, Bendis and Fraction as writers who have excelled at both creator owned work as well as working for the Big Two. Saga is no exception.
One issue in, and the series is already hooking me. The story revolves around a star-crossed couple from a star system where the main planet is warring with inhabitants of it’s moon. Marko and Alana not only have to deal with being deserters to their respective armies, but also the new life they’ve made together, which includes a child. The narrative is like a storybook, and there are definite fantasy influences. The “Star Wars meets Game of Thrones” description given in the original solicitation doesn’t do it justice… the dynamic of the Landfall/Wreath war with it’s technology/magic dynamic set in a semi-modern environment really offer a unique mishmash of fantasy and sci-fi that grabs you. Robots ruling and presiding over humanoid life, magicians who can teleport and face off against machine gun wielding soldiers… grease monkeys that are ACTUALLY MONKEYS! The art by Fiona Staples is GORGEOUS, and it feels like a world far away, yet with a little verisimilitude. If you liked Brian’s previous comic work, this is a great series to jump on, and if you’re new to BKV, HOP ON BOARD!
This book is an interesting one. It features A-List talent (written by Bendis; art by Bagley), and features an A-List cast… but it clearly is a book designed for people who have only seen the Avengers trailer and maybe stop by the comic book store to check it out.
In all honesty and candor, this is the type of book that used to get made by people whose names I’d barely know, or they were done hastily… the history of comics isn’t always rosy, with dubious comics such as this… and movie related comics have been known to be bad. Avengers Assemble is not one of those books. It manages to utilize the current Avengers roster and introduce them to people without dumbing it down or over-explaining. The Zodiac are a good new enemy for the team, not overpowered and not ridiculous pushovers. Marvel is trying to make new fans, and with this book, they are fulfilling that mandate. Definitely give this to your non-initiated friends who are excited for Avengers!
This book is arguably the best Batman book out there… that’s no dig against Scott Snyder, but a compliment to Peter Tomasi. It does a little bit of everything very, very well. The new B&R takes established history (Bruce Wayne and his son Damien as Batman and Robin respectively), a new villain (Morgan Ducard/Nobody) with a tie to the past (Bruce’s former teacher Henri Ducard) that non comic readers will know (Henri was in Batman Begins, portrayed by Liam Neeson)…this book delivers with all of these elements and THEN SOME. The visceral brutality of Nobody, the struggle of a father to get through to his son, and a son to please his father, as well as renounce his violent lessons from his mother and the League of Assassins… Batman and Robin is downright Shakesperian! With the great art by Patrick Gleason that’s dark, but not too dark, Batman and Robin is one of the best superhero books period!
That’s it for now, until next time—
Stay Bloggy My Friends!