Do you know the very best thing about working at a comic book shop? Talking to the customers about the books. There is something great about being able to talk to fellow fans about different books and the state of the industry. In the past I’ve loved writing about comics on this blog and I would like to start doing so again. So, I’m going to give you some thoughts on the comics that came out this week and what I think about them. Hopefully it becomes a semi-regular event.
My favorite book this week is probably Kyle Starks’s maddeningly fun Rock Candy Mountain #1. I was very pleasantly surprised by the story of one hobo’s search for the mythical Rock Candy Mountain. I had not planned on picking this book up, but the opening page, featuring a sharply dressed Satan engaged in a deadly fist fight with a group of hobos, caught my attention and got me to give this book a shot. I’m glad I did. Starks builds a fascinating world in his first issue while maintaining a kinetic pace on both art and writing. That, combined with dialogue so ridiculous that it made a friend I kept pestering with pictures of panels ask the question “What brilliant idiot wrote this?”, made it my favorite read this week.
Image has another winner this week with Black Cloud #1. Writers Jason Latour and Ivan Brandon build an even more expansive world than Starks does in Rock Candy Mountain, featuring questions about the power of stories and ideas. The art by Greg Hinkle is both nuanced and uniquely stylized. Combined by excellent coloring work by Matt Wilson it makes for a truly immersive experience. This might not have been as fun as Rock Candy Mountain and the concept may not have been as clearly defined, but this book definitely leaves me wanting more.
My favorite book coming out of the big two this week is definitely Nightwing #18. Tim Seeley has been writing Dick Grayson since the last issue of the previous volume of Nightwing, through the excellent Grayson, and now into the Rebirth era. While Seeley’s old writing partner Tom King has been making waves on Batman, this iteration of Nightwing has been solid but it has not made a lot of noise. The current arc, “Nightwing Must Die,” builds on one of my favorite comics runs of all time: Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin. Having Dick team up with Damien Wayne once again to fight villains from Morrison’s run has reinvigorated the book. This is a ton of fun and I am hoping Seeley keeps this level of energy up past this arc.
A lesser entry this week is Marvel’s X-Men Gold #1. It pains me to write that the aimlessness that has defined the X-Men line since the end of Secret Wars continues in Marvel’s latest entries. Last week’s X-Men Prime was an inoffensive but unremarkable entry. X-Men Gold continues the trend with the X-Men’s Gold Squad engaged in some bread-and-butter superheroics and trying to build on past relationships in a way that feels more expository than character driven. Marc Guggenheim’s writing is serviceable for the most part, save for one speech by Kitty Pride which is meant to be Xavieresque but comes mostly across as tone-deaf in today’s political environment. Adrian Syaf’s art is good, but somewhat stiff. If the past two weeks of X-books are an example of what we have to expect, I have a feeling we might be getting another X-Men relaunch in the near future.
A much better entry from Marvel this week is Al Ewing and Jonboy Meyers’s Royals #1. After three years of Marvel unsuccessfully trying to shoehorn the Inhumans into the mutant metaphor, this book seems to bring the Inhumans concepts back to basics and back to its cosmic roots. Ewing has a real grasp on these characters and what makes them work. His script recalls the best elements of classic Inhumans stories by Paul Jenkins, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning. The addition of Marvel Boy as a cast member is brilliant and it adds some much needed energy to a cast that was quickly turning stale from overexposure. Jonboy Meyers’s art might be a bit too stylized for some people, but I would argue that even if the art is not your cup of tea, Ewing’s story is worth it. Besides, it’s a Marvel book. It’ll have a new artist in two issues. (Too soon?)
That’s it for this week. Let us know what comics you loved or hated on our Facebook page or drop by the shop and tell us. We look forward to hearing from you.