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Posts Tagged ‘Aftershock Comics’

The Stack-8/2/17

In new books, reviews on August 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Hi there! Okay, let’s just start off by addressing the Elephantmen in the room:

elephantmen

No, not that one. Though you should read this comic. It’s incredibly good.

I disappeared in July. I’m sure you’re not interested in the least about why that occurred. It was part workload, and part crushing stress and depression. Believe me, there were astounding books on the shelves this past month, and I wish I could talk at length about them, but I haven’t yet tapped into the time-rewinding powers available in this busted timeline. I’ll just sum things up with a few choice statements, and then we’ll move on.

Check out Generation Gone. It’s nice to see Ales Kot putting out another comic full of rebellious vigor.

#makeminemilkshake: This was the result of really lowest-common-denominator hateful trolls trying to say women ruin comics, which is of course bullshit. I’m hesitant to give people like this any attention whatsoever, but I also have a tendency to jump into the fray and show solidarity when this behavior rears its pockmarked little head.

MAN do I LOVE Volstagg as War Thor.

Motor Girl from Terry Moore is making me laugh and cry in equal measure.

The Divided States of Hysteria cover controversy: I myself am divided (yuk yuk) when it comes to this. So Howard Chaykin drew a cover to this new Image book that portrayed a person of color lynched, with brutal mutilation. After it was revealed, there was push back substantial enough to get the art pulled. As you might expect, opinions landed all over the spectrum. Now me personally, I think Chaykin is allowing his political anger to steer him WAY off course with this comic. This is a stunt I’d expect from a youngster looking to shock in order to get their voice heard, and not from an industry veteran. ON THE OTHER HAND, people screaming for censorship, or clamoring for a full boycott of Image, need to rein that shit in. It’s art, and it’s subjective, and often awful, and it’s mostly protected as free expression. You can’t demand that it vanishes unless it is genuinely harmful. It’s not free from consequences, of course, so feel free to spend your money elsewhere, but you’re going down a dangerous path if you demand that someone is silenced.

Calexit, from Black Mask Studios, did a brilliant job of political what-iffing without getting heavy-handed or failing to entertain.

This week in comics: Comics full of emotion, comics taking big chances, and even a comic in 3-D! Let’s take a look:

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Champions #11 (Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado, VC’s Clayton Cowles-Marvel): I’ve felt that overall this series has been very uneven, but I continue to stick with it month after month because when it taps into its seemingly endless supply of heart and sticks to its core message (The new generation of heroes has to learn from the mistakes of their forebears and find a way that is better), it shines. And when it shines, all the squawking about forcing this team to happen falls away, and it really IS an inspirational superhero title.

This issue is a prime example of Champions at its best, and somehow while also being an event tie-in, which is sort of like being a superstar piccolo player, rocking sick woodwind solos when you’re meant to be working in concert with the rest of orchestra to produce a larger overall piece of music. Broken into teams after the Hydra attack on Las Vegas featured in Secret Empire, our protagonists search the ruins for any possible survivors, and it’s a completely gut-wrenching experience. I’m a bit torn on how this is executed, though. Viewing this operation at ground level, amidst the wreckage, you really feel how insane indiscriminately attacking over half a million people is, and feel even stalwarts like Hulk get overwhelmed, as hopelessness creeps in. On the other hand, we do not see a single casualty. There are no bodies. Anywhere. It’s a ghost town, and the horrors are (deftly, I’ll admit, through dialogue) communicated in a non-visual way. Now I understand that this is more of a teen+ book, but I have strong opinions about this approach. If you remove the warts-and-all consequences of violence, you produce a disconnect, which I find very irresponsible. The team did their best to compensate, but I really wonder if this was Mark Waid’s choice, or this came from editors. Mr. Waid is currently under fire for his treatment of characters in the new issue of Avengers (which I’d love to debate, if anyone is game), so I’ll just keep these musings under my cowl. It’s comics, after all, and barking online at creators over things like this miiiiiiiiiight just have something to do with them having office outbursts and quitting Twitter. We all need to take a deep breath, and remember to be respectful human beings to each other. But I digress, so let’s move on.

Hadrian’s Wall #8 (Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, Rod Reis, Eduardo Ferigato, Troy Peteri, Rich Bloom-Image): I really need to go back and re-read this series, now that is has ended. Over the course of eight issues it has become a compelling tapestry of traditional Science Fiction, murder mystery, and relationship drama, illustrated beautifully in a style reminiscent of fantasy art magazines and anthologies like Heavy Metal. The power plays between characters and factions portrayed were very well-developed, but none really steal the show like the one between Annabelle and Simon, former lovers who were willing to go to great lengths to hurt each other after their relationship fell apart. In this final installment, trapped on a ship that is out of power and oxygen, the two finally decide that they want to truly bury the hatchet, before they’re both dead. They get the happy ending, but it’s more from the fact that they are ready to move on than that they are ultimately rescued and survive the perils of outer space. If you haven’t been picking this up, make sure you don’t miss the collection.

Alters #6 (Paul Jenkins, Leila Leiz, Leonardo Pacciarotti, Ryane Hill-Aftershock): There’s a truism that we are constantly losing sight of, and it’s that things are not always about us. We all want the spotlight on us at all times, and we all believe that our problems are the most important ones. In the first story arc of Alters, Chalice was front and center, trying her best to come to terms with being trans and a person with powers while saving the world from a very dangerous terrorist. These struggles are by no means over, but in the calm that has come after the showdown with Matter Man the focus now shifts to a woman named Sharise, struggling to raise two kids in poverty while coping with her own burgeoning powers. Chalice can sense her as a fellow alter, but Sharise wants none of her help or her sympathy. It’s extremely admirable that this team continues to expand its inclusion, and in a very thought-out way.

Spider-Man #19 (Brian Michael Bendis, Oscar Bazaldua, Jason Keith, VC’s Cory Petit-Marvel): Sometimes, it’s perfectly fine for a superhero story to just put down its fists for a little while and spend some time simply as a drama. Particularly a story primarily about teenagers. So this issue is more about life, and the everyday ups and downs. Ganke is flirting on his phone with Danika, Fabio mysteriously disappears after reflecting on his fight with Hammerhead, and Miles’s parents do their best to clear the air and focus on guiding their child. There’s also an interesting scene where Ganke voices the concerns of fans who would rather see legacy characters doing their own unique thing instead, and one where Hammerhead is looking for new and dangerous ways to get his payback. A solid, low-key, sitcom (in a good way) issue.

Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, Ande Parks, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Saida Temofonte-DC/Young Animal): At last, Shade has arrived in Hollywood, and just in time to prevent the elderly star of her favorite Earth TV show from taking her own life. She uses her madness powers to perform the ‘ol Freaky Friday body swap, and puts forth a deal: Honey will teach her about life and being human, and Shade will take it all in through the matured senses of her idol’s form. When Shade’s done, she lets Honey die. Sprinkled throughout the issue as this plays out are Mellu’s continued scheming, the collection and weaponization of Shade’s power by US authorities, River and Teacup’s attempts to track down Shade, and classy paper dolls. This continues to be one of the most fascinatingly creative books out there. It’s young adult fiction processed through the filter of an alien poet, and it’s gorgeous.

So there we go. Back on track, and enjoying the stack. Feel free to comment and share and follow me on social media @rabbit11comics. As always, thank you for reading and for reading comics. Please support your local shops, be good, and I’ll see you in seven.