Comic reviews. Not everything I my pull list, but nonetheless:
Batman Incorporated #3
Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham continue the closing arc of Morrison’s Batman opus wonderfully after — in my opinion — an unnecessary delay related to the Dark Knight Rises shooting in Aurora, CO. The culprit here is an opening scene in which a teacher pulls out a gun on her students to teach them violent revolt and revolutionist uprising. What’s really going on is she has been “replaced” by a Leviathan doppelganger. Following that we see exactly how the organization works, at least when it comes to infiltrating every aspect of Gotham society. It’s a great way to start the issue. Bruce brings back his criminal doppelganger (that must be one of themes of this issue) to get any inside information he can on the organization, which the petty criminals are afraid to talk about. Then there’s Damien being Damien. Since his introduction back in, oh… somewhere around 2005, Morrison is still the best guy to write. It makes sense, he conceived the character. And when he unveils the “web” of Bruce and co’s “lives for the past two years” you’ll be as amazed as Dick is to realize the entire time Leviathan has been in the middle of it all. And the imagery of how this book ends is pretty disturbing. Once again, we’re counting on Damien to be there. Not the best issue of the series, but a solid entry.
Scalped #60 (Final Issue)
Dang… and just like that, one of my favorite comic book series of all time comes to an end. This final issue is lighter on plot and heavier on thematic content and arc of each of the remaining characters. I’m totally fine with that, though I know some people might have a problem with it. In fact I would argue that throughout the book’s lifespan the over-arching themes were the driving force, with plot-points a simple means to an end. It should have been plainly obvious that someone was going to get scalped at the end of this thing, that happens almost immediately. In fact, the whole Catcher/Red Crow/Dash climax ends within the first 6 pages or so. Then we’re treated to some very human, and motherly, moments from Carol… along with seeing how the Prairie Rose Reservation will continue to revert back to its ways, no matter who is in charge of Her. The Rez is a character in and of itself. And in the end we realize the differences and similarities between Red Crow and Dash. Two sides to the same coin, really. The Sopranos comparisons will undoubtedly continue with the possibly controversial ending, though I do not see it that way. I see it as the only thing that can happen for Dash. Fitting ending. Beautiful artwork. Great series. A modern crime masterpiece.
The Massive #3
The Massive also ends wonderfully this week. Not the series, the series’ first arc: “Landfall”. Within we are treated to more insight on how the world has dissolved into chaos — both naturally and sociopolitically — and the inner workings of the still mysterious “Ninth Wave”, the non-profit our characters work for. We finally get some background on Mag (and a lot more if you view his biographical timeline provided by Brian Wood at the end of the issue), and the debate ensues between one character’s dedication to “non-violent resistance” and Mag’s “new world/new rules” argument. It’s an interesting debate, and one that should be the part of any post-Crash, post-apocalyptic fiction. Shit, one we may be having by the end of my lifetime for all I know. The artwork on this title continues to be some of the best on the stands. Top 3 for me, even amongst beautiful stuff I don’t read. This is a bummer, because I’m pretty sure Kristian Donaldson is done (for now) after this issue. With a lot of help from colorist Dave Stewart (also, one of the best colorists working today) the changes of tone from Crash explanations, to present day, to character flashbacks is enough for an award of some kind. We also get an introduction to a new character at the end, and Ninth Wave’s “home”, if they have one beyond their ships “The Kapital” and “The Massive”. Excited to see where this series goes.
I have a feeling not nearly enough people are reading this for how interestingly it’s playing with real-life military history and global conflict. Yes, this is the white Nick Fury. And yes, he’s an angry old bastard. But Garth Ennis wouldn’t have it any other way. Through the series an aging Fury has been recounting his career in a dirty hotel room, wearing a robe and drinking scotch. This issue is no exception as he delves into how badly the US fucked up during the Bay of Pigs. Fury and his right-hand man, sniper trained Hatherly, and a radio man, are dropped into Cuba the night before the uprising, to assassinate Castro. Meanwhile, a bumbling, egotistical, downright ignorant Senator named McCuskey explains to the leaders of the revolutionists why they’re not getting much help. Even though they’d been previously backed. It’s kind of a chilling scene, how cold the congressman is. Fury and company finally get through to Havana when they actually get a shot at Castro, but it goes awry (obviously, unless this book is going the revisionist route), and the building literally comes crashing down. By the end we realize that Fury and his mates are in some deep, deep shit. This is probably the best book no one is reading at Marvel.