Saturday 21 March 2015

March Comics Round-Up: Other publishers

Really, just take it in.

And on with the non-Marvel titles. No DC this month, excepting Multiversity which isn't due out for a week so won't get picked up till April, most likely. While Marvel is preparing for Secret Wars, DC is about to enter the Convergance, which will have consequences including decent new costumes for Superman and Wonder Woman, and Batman dressing up like a robot bunny rabbit. I have, however, been watching a lot of DC lately. Maybe I just prefer Bats and Supes on the screen to on the page?

Instead I grabbed a bunch of occasional titles and tried some new ones, plus regular subs. A lot of TV and film tie-ins here, which is very much my thing, and consequentially means a lot of IDW. Also, Alan Moore's new Nemo book is out, so I grabbed that too.

The Fly: Outbreak #1 (IDW)

IDW is very good at providing platforms for seemingly dead properties to be explored again. I'm slightly bemused by this one, in that I think most people would have taken the chance to ignore the events of the not-terribly-good The Fly II and follow on from Cronenberg's masterpiece. (And it is a masterpiece.) In fact, I'd really love to see a working of Geena Davis's Flies treatment, but hey ho. It's been a long time since The Fly II, but Outbreak seems to either retcon/misconstrue the ending to the film or I'm misremembering it myself. Still, I'm fairly certain that the villainous Bartok was left as a misshapen monster because essential human genes were removed and implanted in Martin's cells, not because he had fly DNA swapped into his body. In any case, I like how this story deals with Martin's guilt with leaving Bartok in this state, and how he has become little better than him with his constant experimentation. Not sure how this is going to develop, but it's reasonably well written and it looks fantastic.

Frankenstein Underground #1 (Dark Horse)

It's been ages since I read any Mignola. I'm not sure why; I love Hellboy and BPRD, it's just a universe I haven't found myself visiting for some time. So an unexpected new series starting seemed like a good opportunity to jump back in. Frankenstein Underground is a Hellboy spin-off, and so takes place in that macabre universe, and it certainly feels part of that aesthetic. It's a shame Mignola doesn't really draw anymore, save for covers and occasional special items, but Ben Stenbeck's art is similar enough to match the world's tone while being distinct enough not to feel slavish. A sympathetic and horrific look at the classic Monster, and one I think I shall follow.

Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor #8 (Titan)

I dropped this for a bit due to not wanting to have to sell a kidney to afford all my comics, so with a little spare cash I thought I'd grab it again. Bit of a shame I missed any of these; Al Ewing is on the top of his writing game, and the Eleventh Doctor series are the best Doctor Who comics around right now. Alice is a companion who really should have been on TV; she's realistic and likeable, but not a pushover, and I doubt she'd have polarised opinions in the way either Amy or Clara have. Jones, on the other hand, is just fun, and is now speaking almost entirely in David Bowie quotes. Because that's who he is, even if he isn't officially young Davey Jones. This is intriguing, well told and often very funny, and I still love Warren Pleece's slab-faced version of Eleven.

Doctor Who Magazine #484 (Panini)

This month's comic strip is a one-off, entitled "Space Invaderz," which is fun parody of Storage Hunters and similar programmes. There only two problems: firstly is that a similar idea was used for a story in the recent anthology Seasons of War, but rather better executed. This happens when there are multiple publishers of one property, but there you go. Secondly, though, is that this is obviously meant to be funny, but just isn't very. Bit of a misstep, but they can't all be classics.

Bill & Ted's Most Triumphant Return #1 (Boom!)

Another eighties movie follow-up this month, this time from Boom! With talk of a third movie happening in the near future, it seems timely to provide a follow-up to Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. This picks up almost immediately after the finish of the second film, and deals with the pressure on the Stallyns to write their second song and continue their destiny. Good fun, with some enjoyable use of time travel. A separate, shorter story concerning the good robot Bill and Ted rounds off the issue. Worth checking out issue two, I feel.

Star Trek #43: Five Year Mission (IDW)

Picked this up to see what was going on in the Abrams-verse. Nothing very gripping, sadly. The Enterprise has gone a bit Star Trek: Voyager and is now adrift in the Delta Quadrant. Somehow, I feel this won't last, considering they've got to be back in the neighbourhood this time next year for the third movie (like that's going to arrive on time). A mysterious local offers assistance. Can she be trusted? What do you think? Nothing special, going to drop this line for good.

Saga #26 (Image)

I'm wondering whether to continue buying this monthly, or to stop and wait for the trades, which do seem to be a better format for the story style. Then again, I really do enjoy my regular dose of Saga, and there are far worse crimes than moving slowly. It's a long wait till the next phase of the story starts as it is. We're in a very different place now to where the series started, and the shifting friendships and alliances are intriguing. It needs to come to a head soon, though. Remains utterly compelling, for all that.

Nemo: River of Ghosts (Top Shelf/Knockabout)

The final installment of Alan Moore's Janni Nemo trilogy, this chapter taking place primarily in 1975, with the now very elderly lady captain falling into obsession with the potential return of her archnemesis, Ayesha. It continues in the vein of the previous volumes, playing the game of dropping in as many references for readers to spot as possible. This manages to cross-pollinate Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, The Lost World, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Incan adventure tales, throwing in a gaggle of Hitler - sorry, I mean Hynkel - clones. Hugo Coghlan, aka Hugo Hercules, is a particularly obscure character to lift from the archives, but he's an important one, often cited as the first superhero. He's good fun though, providing unlimited muscle and a surprisingly sympathetic ear for Nemo. It's also heavily implied that he's the father of Desperate Dan of The Dandy, which, textually speaking, I suppose he is. There's something of a theme of ageing and the loss of faculties, with regards to Nemo herself and the ever-advancing world beyond her sanctuary. Essentially, though, this is a romp, and while that's great fun and all, Moore's work used to be about something.

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