Hello everyone. Here are some bite-sized review bits on comics that have passed by my desk over the last few weeks:
TRINITY #9, DC Comics
The good news is, this book is absolutely gorgeous; a true feast for the eyes by Francis Manapul. It’s like a portfolio book of art you can just browse through. Manapul does amazing colors here but you get the feeling it would also look fabulous in just black-and-white.
But as a new reader sort of picking this series up cold, it’s very hard to follow the story to catch up. I can’t even say that this is a weakness on Manapul’s part as writer—it’s more a case of the sort of “decompressed” storytelling that really looks good in collected editions but leaves the casual reader a bit flummoxed.
There was just not enough here to convince me to hunt further—nothing quirky, or off-beat (which the recent Justice League two-parter actually did manage to pull off—but that’s a review for another day), or something more. But like I said, it’s a beautiful book & might be worth reading from the beginning in a trade.
SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #13, DC Comics
This re-telling of the Scooby trope as Walking Dead-type narrative didn’t really catch me on an initial browse-through, but wore a lot better after a second, deeper look. I mean, you have industry legends Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis as writers, so I think a certain amount of quality was a “given.”
To be honest, there is some weird-ass Donald Trump metaphors going on here, with Velma’s evil red-haired blob of a brother Rufus playing the part. What follows is witty and a good read, if not a little too “on the nose.”
Unlike the Flintstones comic book reboot, a number of the characterizations in Scooby Apocalypse variate wildly from the originals, with Shaggy being this hipster tough guy and Daphne a hard-as-nails action movie heroine. And that’s all cool—because these weren’t the deepest characters in the universe to begin with—but it’s slightly jarring.
Great Scrappy-Doo backup story, by the way; nice way to redeem the character after those awful movies.
THE X-FILES FUNKO UNIVERSE One-Shot, IDW
I mean, sure—it’s a gimmick.
But I think what you also get with this blending of The X-Files with the Funko toy line (they of “Hello Kitty”-like huge-ass heads and giant staring eyes) is an opportunity to do some fun, silly stories in an indie, “Simpsons Treehouse of Horror” sort of way (if that tortured comparison makes any sense at all).
You probably see that sort of quality most in the silent story “You Are What You Eat,” drawn in a slightly “outside the style guide” sort of way by artist Charles Paul Wilson III. This is pretty much how this sort of concept (licensed TV series + licensed toy line) works the best, allowing the writers and artists a chance to paradoxically “escape” the restrictions of doing licensed material…by doing licensed material.
REGGIE AND ME #5, Archie Comics
This is hardly the place where I would expect to find a “hard-hitting” meditation on the complexities of the human (or, in this case, Reggie) personality—but there you go.
A dazed Reggie (who, for those unfamiliar with the Archie universe, is like their “heel”) takes his injured dog Vader in to the vet after a car hits him, leading to the canine having an out-of-body experience. That this takes place with the “ghost” of Jughead’s pooch Hot Dog—who is explicitly not really dead—is a little weird but OK.
Through the vehicle of the dog thing, writer Tom DeFalco examines why Reggie is, to be blunt, an asshole. A storyline that was a long time in coming, I’m sure. And it’s pretty entertaining, with stylishly simple and effective art by Sandy Jarell. One for the Reggie fangirls to expand on, I’m sure.