Last straws

April 27, 2010

Over at Robot 6, Sean T. Collins asks an interesting question:

“[W]e’ve probably all permanently dropped a comic, a character, or a creator we once got something out of. My question for you is, What was it, and what did it?”

Here are the two last straws for me with Marvel and DC.

In fairness, I didn’t expect much from the re-launch of the Avengers brand, since I had no affection for the “Disassembled” arc that paved the way for it. But this was when morbid curiosity held more sway in my purchasing decisions, so in spite of a team roster that looked like a Marvel house ad from 1982 and a writer who had drastically fallen out of my favor, I gave it a look. The comic itself was tolerable up until the point that two of the hold-over characters (Iron Man and Captain America) talked in a Mamet-in-spandex way about how awesome the previous 15 pages had been. It’s one thing to drastically remake a franchise into a blandly wide-screen, marquee-friendly property, but the self-congratulatory tone was just too much.

Do I even need to explain myself with this one? Following a needlessly brutal first issue in which an amiable, B-list supporting character is murdered, we get some needlessly brutal back story on how that character was raped. Beyond the baseline grossness of the actual events depicted, there was the very real sense that this thing and its tone and its study-hall gravitas was going to be the company’s tent pole for years to come, so I got while the getting was good.

Upcoming 4/28/2010

April 27, 2010

It’s always handy when a theme emerges in the items that catch my eye from the current ComicList. And it’s nice that this week’s theme centers on great female protagonists.

Okay, so it’s not so nice that there’s such a long wait between new issues of Stumptown (Oni Press), written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Matthew Southworth, and colored by Rico Renzi. It’s about a hard-living Portland private investigator trying to figure out why the daughter of a casino owner disappeared, and trying to stay alive until she finds the answer. The third issue arrives Wednesday.

If you like suspense but prefer your protagonists a little less seedy, I’d recommend the fourth volume of Fire Investigator Nanase (CMX), written by Izo Hashimoto and illustrated by Tomoshige Ichikawa. Nanase is a plucky arson investigator who shares a complex relationship with the Firebug, whose name says it all. It’s a fun procedural with likeable leads.

Moving to the awesome shôjo front, we’ll start with the eighth volume of V.B. Rose (Tokyopop), written and illustrated by Banri Hidaka. Heroine Ageha is a budding handbag designer who goes to work for a bridal shop, then falls in love with the shop’s lead designer. Ageha is impulsive and talented, and Arisaka is bristly and businesslike. They have great chemistry, and the bridal-shop sparkle is undeniably eye-catching.

There’s also the fourth volume of Kimi Ni Todoke (Viz), written and illustrated by Karuho Shiina. Good-hearted, socially inept Sawako continues her campaign to win friends and influence people after years of being dismissed and avoided as the class creepy girl. This time around, she throws down with a romantic rival, though it’s entirely likely that Sawako won’t realize that she’s throwing down.

Those two titles alone make this one of the best shôjo Wednesdays imaginable. If a new volume of Itazura Na Kiss came out, I would burst into a cloud of sparkly chrysanthemum petals.