Wednesday, Comics #17
What I Bought
-Captain America #606
-Invincible Iron Man #27
Book of the Week
Here and now, some of the best comic book stories ever are being told and Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run can safely be considered one of those stories. Brubaker is dealing with heavy thematic concepts—friendship, heroism, America, and at the core of it, the genre itself. He’s taken his characters, Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers, through rebirth and death, a little microcosm of superhero storytelling. But, before this becomes a thesis, let’s shift the focus to issue #606.
While the previous story arc was about ancestry, this arc is concerned with progeny. The son of Baron Zemo comes after the new, younger Captain America, inheriting his father’s blood-feud and attempting to make good on it. The issue is concerned with Brubaker’s younger generation of characters. The older characters are absent or act as parental figures, while Bucky moves through the issue as an angst-filled teenager. That’s a reductive interpretation; Brubaker’s writing doesn’t overplay their roles within the story and rub them raw. He just sits them down and has them dialogue. It’s excellent.
Butch Guice handles the art, and while I loved Luke Ross’ work on the last arc, Guice tops him with this issue. Working with both pencils and inks, this arc should be a pleasure. He skews to abstract style at some points, juxtaposing the characters with mosaic backgrounds within the panels, and the way he uses forced perspective and heavy, simplified line-work conveys motion in a Kirby-esque manner. Boil it down beyond context dependent comic book terms: The art is damned good.
The last few pages of the issue set the daughter-and-sons motif of the issue in stone, with young Zemo springing the Red Skull’s daughter from prison. Brubaker has set up a lot to work with, and the rest of the arc should make for a fascinating read.
Batman #700 – Grant Morrison writing a giant sized anniversary issue? Not exactly a safe bet for people who aren’t in the know. Marvel and DC have a history of this, giving the high concept guy free reign but not really thinking about the ramifications of that free reign. True to form, the story is all kinds of crazy. Three time-lines, four artists…one story all about time travel. It’s a little much at first, but the glimpses into Morrisonian Bat-psychology are fascinating, especially his future-take on the character. The shifting art is nice, in concept, and seeing Frank Quitely do interiors is always awesome…but Quitely only provides a fraction of his story. It’s gorgeous (there’s a fight scene I could stare at all day), but too short to really quantify. It’s an interesting issue, but it doesn’t succeed as admirably as it should. Nice, with some hiccups.
Invincible Iron Man #27 – It’s good. It’s really good. Fraction ups the stakes of his story, with Pepper requesting to be Rescue once again and War Machine stepping into the fray. The next issue seems like it will deliver, both in an action sense—it’s time for Iron Man and War Machine to face off against Detroit Steel—and a character sense in Stark continuing to redeem himself to those around him. I don’t know what else to say about this book, other than that it’s consistently brilliant from month to month, Fraction proving that he can write beyond the status-quo shuffling plot twists to craft a meaningful, well-written story.
-I don’t know why this is on a comics site, but hey, it’s all good.
-This is a fascinating experiment in “comic time.” (Using Bendis’ Daredevil run, so it’s a must read for me.)
-See above, and pick the damned things up. Clearly they’ve pedigree.
-I’m in. I don’t care. Rucka, I’m in.