Quick comic comments: Road reading

November 7, 2007

There’s always plenty to do in Las Vegas, not least of which is compensating for the feeling of complicity in propping up a fundamentally unsustainable and wasteful human settlement. But a trip to Alternate Reality Comics always helps me forget the guilt, at least briefly, because it’s an awesome shop. It has a really great selection, and the staff is always helpful. And since it’s located between the airport and our hotel of choice, I was totally justified in stopping there before we checked in.

I haven’t read all of my haul yet, and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with what I’ve read so far.

First were two second volumes of Fumi Yoshinaga series: Ichigenme… The First Class Is Civil Law (801) and The Moon and the Sandals (Juné). It’s Yoshinaga, so neither is anywhere close to bad, but it seems like she concentrated all of the heavy lifting in terms of character and nuance in the first volumes so she could concentrate on the hot couple action in the second rounds. And hey, at least she did that initial heavy lifting at all, which gives the action some welcome depth.

Then there was Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (Airship). Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy this series and would strongly recommend it. It’s just that this volume focused more on the narrative spine of the series than its heart. In other words, Agatha got pushed to the sidelines, which served to escalate the tension in the story but left me disappointed. I like the supporting cast, many of whom were pressed into service to rescue Agatha, and it was nice to believe that a bunch of people would run around risking their lives for the lead. A lot of times, creators will try and pass their lead off as beloved without doing any of the set-up needed to make it credible. Phil and Kaja Foglio have earned this kind of development, though.

Of course, it just reminds you that Agatha is terrific and plucky and smart and that you aren’t seeing very much of her in action. Which was a downer.