Inhumanity #1 by Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel with Mark Morales and Laura Martin. Marvel Entertainment, 2013.
The consensus around my LCS was that that no one knew what the hell was going on with the Inhumans storyline in the recently-concluded Infinity. That would seem to be a problem, as Black Bolt and Maximus the Mad’s actions, whatever they were, were supposed to be the springboard for Marvel’s next iteration of the Neverending Event.
Thankfully, Inhumanity #1 devotes the bulk of its pages to explaining the whole history of the Inhumans all the way up to Black Bolt destroying Attilan in Infinity #5. Unfortunately, that also means that Olivier Coipel doesn’t really draw this whole issue — all the flashback art is done by different creative teams and a lot of it is just straight reprints from Infinity! Value!
He drew the cover, though. The cover shows Karnak, not really known as a man of action even among the taciturn Inhumans, kicking through a glass panel. This is a pretty boring image but it made me crack up when I got to the end of the issue and found Karnak was, indeed, breaking an impenetrable glass barrier — so that he could jump through it to his death and remove himself from the rest of the action. So for those keeping count, two of the six Inhumans pictures on the cover of the first issue of this series are presumed dead by the end of that issue (I mean, Black Bolt is presumed dead by the characters in the story, but readers surely aren’t buying that, are we?). And we haven’t even seen one latent Inhuman undergo Wild Terregenesis yet. I’m sort of pumped for this crazy thing.
Six-Gun Gorilla #6 (of 6) by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely with Andre May. BOOM! Studios, 2013.
I could not have predicted, way back at issue #1, the strange twists and turns that this miniseries would take. It won me over at first as an imaginative science fiction world with a few interesting concepts. Soon it was delving into a much more metaphysical territory, and bringing in the pulp action era referenced in the title and the frontmatter in a very literal and surprising way. In some ways this book suffered from being over-ambitious; Spurrier in particular is so eager to stuff these six issues with so many concepts that many of them do seem somewhat tossed off and they don’t have the impact on the reader that I think was intended. But this last issue does make a strong case for successfully tying all these strange elements together, somehow bringing together a straightforward science-action narrative with Sandman-dian meta-narrative about the power of stories while still delivering an emotional climax. I felt like I zoned out for issues 2 through 5, but the start and finish of this mini were strong enough to leave me considering this for my Miniseries of the Year. I’ll have to give it all a second read through to see how it holds up.
Young Avengers #13 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie with Stephen Thompson, Mike Norton and Matthew Wilson. Marvel Entertainment, 2013.
If superheroes were hipsters they’d all get new costumes and haircuts practically every issue, they’d always need the perfect soundtrack to kick butt too, they’d be very serious about “design,” whatever that means, and the villains they’d fight would be the parents that want to cut them off and their freaky-deaky exes. Love it or hate it, that is exactly what Gillen & McKelvie’s Hipster Avengers is like. There is a Tumblr in the comic. Uggh I only like this ironically, in secret.
Trillium #5 by Jeff Lemire with Jose Villarrubia. Vertigo/DC, 2013.
I don’t really know who’s better than Jeff Lemire right now. As far as the major publishers of genre comics (Image, Vertigo, Dark Horse, BOOM!, IDW, and Dynamite), he’s one of the only artists who’s doing it all, writing, pencilling, inking and coloring everything himself. Matt Kindt, Brandon Graham and James Stokoe are doing that too, but I can’t think of many others doing regular floppy comics (webcomics, ogns and indie publishers being a whole other thing), and as much as I slobber Graham and Stokoe, Lemire’s probably the best of the bunch if we consider art and writing as a complete package. Lemire has emotional depth as a writer, and just as he brought Sweet Tooth from an apocalyptic survival tale into a wonderful metaphor about loyalty and family, he’s successfully used Trillium to make the phrase “star-crossed lovers” very literal without being any less heart-rending. This was my favorite issue of the series so far, as Nika and Williams’ respective worlds are turned upside down, along with half of the artwork. I mean, it’s an alterate history of an alternate future, how could I not love that?
Deadpool #20 by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish with Val Staples. Marvel Entertainment, 2013.
This series has become known for its occasional homages to different periods in Marvel comics history, and this time around the subject of parody is the Wonderful World of Kirby. I’ve been reading a lot of Kirby’s 70s DC stuff, so I really enjoyed all of the gratuitous cosmic krackle, the LSD inspired character and vehicle designs, and the general psychedelia of this issue. The story is inconsequential; it serves merely as a vehicle to deliver the reader to classic Kirby settings like Wakanda, the Savage Land, the Baxter Building, and the Negative Zone. Along the way, one is reminded how much of the Marvel Universe is still built on the infrastructure King Kirby created, but also of how many of Kirby’s creations were kind of schlocky and childish (Devil Dinosaur anyone?) — achieving the perfect mixture of adoration and blasphemy from which great satire is forged.