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Weekly Comic Reviews - 21 Oct 2015

Weekly Comic Reviews - 21 Oct 2015

Ratings out of 5 stars. Comics courtesy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura) except for Steve Ditko, Uber Vol 5 and Becoming Unbecoming.

 

Tokyo Ghost #2

Story: Rick Remender

Art: Sean Murphy

Image Comics

Rick Remender can be a hit or miss. Thankfully, Tokyo Ghost #2 delivers the goods. If you had trouble following the action in #1, you are not the only one. It set the stage with lots of verbosity but it was not very memorable. This issue reveals what Tokyo Ghost is really about – a love story, a quest and samurais. Remender is still overloading us with too much text when he should just let Sean Murphy’s beautiful art breathe. Check out the splash pages at the end. I’m sold.

(4 stars)

Steve Ditko’s #2oww3oww

Story/Art: Steve Ditko

Self-Published

The man is a legend. Don’t just know him as the creator of Spider-man and Squirrel Girl. More importantly, he has created many other characters like Mr A, which upon closed reading, make you question the fundamentals of daily life. At age 88, he doesn’t need fans or some young punk upstart to tell him what to do – whether it is to put out deluxe editions of his books or whatnot. Steve Ditko deserves his privacy and opinions. For his views about CBF (comic book fans), you can read about the ‘Foolish Fans’ in The Four-Page Series No 9 (Sept 2015). For his new stories, read this comic, #2oww3oww (Aug 2015). This is the 23rd issue of the Ditko-only b&w comic of his new comics. 32 pages with no ads. His new characters are Miss Eerie (set in the 1930s), The Cape, The Distorter and The Grey Negotiator – stories which explore moral choices. Some would say the art is crude and the stories are didactic, lacking in characterization. But when you look carefully at the 3x3 panel page, you realize Ditko is still experimenting with the form, and it is still worth studying. This is especially so for The Distorter story, which has a very innovative use of lines and dots in the drawings. Get Dtiko comics from http://ditko.blogspot.sg/p/ditko-book-in-print.html and look out for new Ditko and Robin Snyder kickstarter projects.

(4.5 stars)

Becoming Unbecoming

Story/Art: Una

Myriad Books

Probably the most unsettling book you will read this year. Becoming Unbecoming is a “devastating personal account of gender violence told in graphic-novel form, set against the backdrop of the 1970s Yorkshire Ripper man-hunt.” Writer-artist, Una came of age in the 1970s, a period of feminism and free speech. But that only took place in metropolitan cities. If you grew up in a small conservative town filled with sexism, racism and adults who sexually abused unknowing children, then there is no escape from the horror. Pop culture and punk music did not help. Una was not abused by her family, but ignored by them. It was not something you talked about nor would people care to listen. Bad things are swept under the carpet. Well intentioned folks had their blinkers on. What does it mean to grow up in a patriarchal society where male violence goes unnoticed and unpunished? This is not your typical female autobiographical comic of reimagining trauma (to quote Hillary Chute). Una’s use of words and image is unique. She dispensed with panels, traditional page layout and sequential storytelling to make this a very haunting read. See more at: http://www.myriadeditions.com/books/becomingunbecoming/#sthash.S2sMmSgZ.dpuf

(4.5 stars)

Uber Volume 5

Story: Kieron Gillen

Art: Daniel Gete and Caanan White

Avatar Press

Released two weeks ago on 7 October, it is one of the best things to read now. Once you start from the very first splash page of #1 – Hitler putting a gun in his mouth – you can’t stop and put this down. The premise: what if Nazi Germany developed superhumans in 1945 and the war continues. It is a new arms race. As expected in any Avatar Press comics, lots of blood and gore and terrifying images that make you do a double take. Initial reaction to this series is the moral implications of casting Nazis as superhumans. They are still the bad guys, but they are more than that. Gillen should be credited for taking the risk of having us rooting the ‘wrong’ side in the battles. That’s because he has built up the characters and the world they live in for almost 30 issues. This volume collects issues #23 – 27 of the ongoing Uber comic book series and the Uber 2014 Free Comic Book Day Special. Gillen’s notes are part of the package, so don’t skip them.

(5 stars)

The Uncanny Inhumans #1

Story: Charles Soule

Art: Jay Leisten and Steve McNiven

Marvel Comics

It’s a good time to be an Inhumans fan now. With X-Men and Fantastic Four on the out because Disney/Marvel do not own the movie rights, the Inhumans are positioned to be the Marvel team book (other than the Avengers, of course). There are more Inhumans now than ever such as the popular Ms Marvel. Following the events of Infinity (the explosion of the Terrigenisis Bomb, which spreads the Terrigen Mist across the globe and activating new Inhumans) and Inhumanity, there are now three Inhumans titles, The Uncanny Inhumans, The All-New Inhumans and Karnak. In this #1, the Black Bolt fights against Kang the Conqueror, the Beast guest-stars and Medusa kisses the Human Torch.

(3 stars)

Invincible Iron Man #2

Story: Brian Michael Bendis

Art: David Marquez

Marvel Comics

Bendis seems to be on the mend. Last week’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a good yarn. Now he is sending Iron Man to meet a reformed Doctor Doom and a still menacing Madame Masque. Still early to say whether this series will match the seminal Iron Man stories of the last decade by Warren Ellis and Matt Fraction. David Marquez’s has that nice clean feel to it that goes for the Adi Granov and Salvador Larroca look.

(3 stars)

Green Lantern: The Lost Army #5

Story: Cullen Bunn

Art: Javier Pina

DC Comics

One of the first few mini series DC put out in the early 1980s was the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps. That and the first Jim Starlin’s Thanos epic brought home the concept of cosmic adventures for many fans. In recent years, The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire and its sequels have raised the bar. Green Lantern: The Lost Army started out by trying to offer something different in the cosmic arena, but poor sales have led to its quick demise with #6. So writer Cullen Bunn got to do a 180 turn in direction, which is a pity because this could be a serious science fiction comic. This penultimate issue is your sock-‘em all issue. Nothing of consequence happen here. John Stewart is the leader of the pack. Avoid.

(2 stars)

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