Filed under: Our favourite things, The Glass Is Half Full, Uncategorized | Tags: action comics, animal man, grant morrison, jeff lemire, New DC, rags morales, superman, the glass is half full, travel foreman
My name is Al Ewing and recently Travelling Man asked me to do a series of as-weekly-as-possible reviews. Less weekly lately, because I’ve been out of the country, finishing my next novel, Pax Omega, as well as writing the Judge Dredd Christmas episodes and the final part of my upcoming Jennifer Blood run – issue #4, written by Garth Ennis, is out today. Actually, I’m writing this during a brief break from these very deadlines.
Anyway, for various obvious reasons, these reviews are all going to be positive. The Glass Of Comics Is Half Full.
This hastily-written column is one of probably four briefly detailing my picks out of the New 52, which is DC’s new reboot-flavoured thing, as I got a brief peek at the first wave of them. There’s a lot to like – Stormwatch and Batgirl are highly readable, the cliffhanger in Detective is pretty audacious, Swamp Thing is extremely pretty with another fun cliffhanger and I’m interested to see where Batwing goes. But for the purposes of this, I’m just going to pick two things to talk about.
One is Action Comics, which lives up to its name. Script by Grant Morrison, art by Rags Morales and Rick Bryant. It’s big, fun, energetic stuff, starting at square one with Superman getting into some good old-fashioned class warfare. It’s a little unfair to the regular Superman comic to wish for this to be the new status quo, but I like this brash commie and frankly, I want more of his fat-cat-intimidating ways. I also like the fact that in his secret identity as Clark Kent, he looks like Harry Potter.
The most fascinating read of the thirteen, though, is probably Animal Man, written by Jeff Lemire and with art by Travel Foreman and Dan Green. And it’s Foreman who sucked me in at first, with his arresting art – all clean lines and open spaces in the suburban home of the Bakers, then grotesque tangles of nerve endings and capilliaries as things get weird and disquieting. Strange angles. Scribbled shadows. I find myself poring over each page, examining the art in a way I usually don’t. The final page – an incredibly disturbing image and yet another great cliffhanger – is presented in an understated way that makes it even more grotesque. I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight. (I’m not sleeping tonight. I have work.)
Even Cliff’s mullet has an otherworldly beauty. There’s a quote for the trade.
Not to ignore Lemire’s contribution – he writes the Buddy Baker and family we know, but older, more settled somehow. (All the better to pull the rug out, presumably – there’s a lot of bleak foreshadowing going on here.) He brings everything in gradually, giving us just enough for a first issue – we get the home life, the superhero hobby, the creeping horror underneath, and by the last page we’re hooked. It’s got that pre-Vertigo superhorror vibe, which is a vibe I’m very partial to. Looking forward to more.
Later in the week – once I’ve shifted some of these deadlines – I’ll probably talk about the opposite of a #1 issue, which is a #1750 issue. Or prog.