Pointless Nonsense

Posted in comics by Bill on July 9, 2012

Comics, roughly from best to worst:

Freakangels is a webcomic Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield put out weekly from 2008 to 2011, still available for free there but also in 6 paperback volumes. I had read the first couple of episodes a year or two ago and made a note to go back and read it at some point, and that point was during a slow work day last week, and now I’m totally hooked. It’s set in London 6 years after an apocalyptic event flooded the world, in a neighborhood run by a group of young people with mental powers. It’s not like some of Ellis’ other work that will kick you in the balls in the first few pages and demand your attention, which is why I was able to stop the first time I checked it out. But by episode 10 or so, you start to get a sense of what the world is about, and it’s quite engrossing. Plus, what could be cooler than a steam powered helicopter? My only complaint is that the interface is clunky. I’m spoiled by Insufferable with the arrow keys, but Freakangels doesn’t even have a “next page” link, so every page requires some fiddling with the mouse. I think it’s all because the project was written and designed to be in print, with only a couple things to make it easier online (most pages are split into a top half and a bottom half, so you usually land on a page with the whole top half in view, then jump down to the 2nd half). I don’t think the interface thing bothered the weekly visitors while it was running, but when you sit down to read 100 pages it does get a bit tiresome. Anyway, it’s still great.
The Couriers is a series of three short graphic novels from the early 2000s written by DMZ‘s Brian Wood. It’s about in the not-too-distant future who get paid to bring dangerous/illegal/secret things/people around New York. So far I’ve only read the first one (my progress was derailed by my sudden Freakangels addiction), and it’s really good. The chase scenes, which obviously make up a good chunk of the book, have a tremendous energy, and the rest of it has a rather pleasing middle-finger-to-the-system kinda spirit.
Batman: Earth One is the second of DC’s Ultimate-ish line of graphic novels designed to tell modernized, continuity-free origin stories to the bookstore market. I didn’t bother with the Superman one, but it was quite a hit. This one, of course I had to check out. It was actually kind of interesting in a way, that halfway through the book I was ready to complain to anyone who might listen how some of the things they changed undermined the most important parts of the idea of Batman, but in the end they actually fixed the things I hated. There are still some really weird ideas in here (Penguin is the mayor of Gotham, Martha Wayne’s maiden name is Arkham), but overall it wasn’t bad.
The Cape 1969 is a spinioff/prequel sorta thing to The Cape, the comic I rather enjoyed based on a Joe Hill short story. This one takes place in Vietnam, with some rather familiar and uninteresting tropes of Vietnam War movies and stuff. The cape doesn’t even appear, as far as I know. Written for the trade, I guess, but I’ll give it one more issue to see if anything interesting happens.
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias is the last new one of these I’m going to try. I was suckered in by the art, which is really, really good. But it’s just adding more of the same to the backstory we already knew, so I just don’t care. As much as I disliked the story, I’m worried I will be suckered in to #2 as well, because… what is going on on the cover? That’s just too weird to not be inrigued.

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