The GeeksverseThe #1s of 05/08/13

The #1s of 05/08/13
Published on Sunday, May 12, 2013 by
It’s been awhile, but I’m back and taking a look at three new books that came out this week: Dynamite’s Grimm, Mike Carey’s Suicide Risk, Gail Simone’s The Movement and Chris Roberson’s The Strangers.

Suicide Risk #1 ($3.99, Boom! Studios)

Suicide Run #1, cover by Tommy Lee Edwards

  • Writer: Mike Carey
  • Artist: Elena Casagrande
  • Colorist: Andrew Elder
  • Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
  • Editor: Dafna Pleban, Matt Gagnon

We’ve seen a lot of books over the years that center around how normal people deal with super powers. We’ve seen books like Brian Michael Bendis’ Powers that show how the police/FBI work in a world of super humans and we’ve seen books like Garth Ennis’ The Boys where we see how the humans deal with supers gone bad. It’s not completely new territory but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable or looked at a different way.

Carey approaches the world probably closer to reality then any other way I’ve seen it. Bendis’ Powers has a feel of co-existence between the humans and superhumans, like the humans have accepted that this is their world. Ennis’ The Boys had a feel of humans fighting back and how they deal with superhumans gone bad. In Carey’s new world, the superhumans all go bad and the book shows that humans just can’t compete or deal with it. And that’s probably closer to reality then anything else. How would normal humans, or police in this case, deal with guys that can rip their arms off?

Not well. This is the story of a normal human police officer and the daily massacres that the department goes through when dealing with super humans. To make the overwhelmed feeling stronger, the superhumans all received their powers by artificial means and somehow that ends up driving them over the edge and they all become bad. There are super heroes, but apparently they don’t last long. This is the story of one cop pushed to the edge and wanting to take his world back.

The story is strong with an excellent script. It flows smoothly and is interesting. Carey does a good job with Leo, showing him arresting a power but in a way that shows that he got lucky and he knows it. It’s enough to show Leo that that normal humans just don’t have the edge needed. I hope that Carey avoids the normal clichés that this type of story usually hits. It can very easily fall into the same trap so many others have. There’s enough here that it makes for a new story, an interesting story and I want to see more of the background explored. Who are these villains and what ends up making them become that way?

Carey does a great job with the supporting cast, giving Leo a very well grounded family. You really get into Leo’s head and can see why he does what he does, how he can feel overwhelmed and useless. This is not a cheery world and is probably what our world would be like if there were super powers.

Elena Casagrande’s pencils are excellent. She’s strong technically with good linework and storytelling. The story flows smoothly and clearly. The action scenes are well laid out and the designs are interesting.

4 out of 5

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The Strangers #1 (Free, Oni Press)

The Strangers #1, cover by Scott Kowalchuk

  • Writer: Chris Roberson
  • Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
  • Colorist: Dan Jackson
  • Letterer: Ed Brisson
  • Editor: Kames Lucas Jones w/ Robin Herrera

Oni Press continues its tradition of releasing the first issue of select new series on Free Comic Book Day. This year that offering is The Strangers by Chris Roberson and Scott Kowalchuk.

It’s got an old school pulpy feel. This is an old ’60s adventure story and Roberson does a good job capturing the tone of that time and story and Kowalchuk captures the look.

We don’t get much of an introduction to the team with Roberson throwing us straight into a mission. We don’t even get to learn much about who they are or what exactly the team is. This works and it doesn’t work. The story keeps our attention, moving quickly and not bogging down. But it doesn’t work in that we don’t really have a chance to develop much of a connection to the characters. There’s one page, about 3 panels, that show what they do during their downtime and this is more of a teaser as there looks like there could be some interesting stuff there, especially Verity.

We don’t even get to know what their abilities are. They are all shown wearing gloves and when taken off show hands tha thave odd designs. With these uncovered hands they can do different things, like turn back time, but they are also shown to have abilities without the hands. It’s a bit confusing and slowing the story down to explain more about the characters would have been a big help.

There’s an element of adventure and fun to the story and I’ll be giving this a try. I usually like what Roberson does and well there are some issues with this, the majority of it is strong enough to check out the other issues.

The artwork by Kowalchuk fits the tone of the story perfectly. I have a trippy 60s soundtrack playing in my head well reading this I just hope that Roberson slows the story down and starts to explain more about the characters.

3 out of 5

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The Movement #1 ($2.99, DC Comics)

The Movement #1, cover by Amanda Conner

  • Writer: Gail Simone
  • Artist: Freddie Williams II
  • Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
  • Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
  • Assistant Editors: Kate Stewart & Kyle Andrukiewicz
  • Editor: Joey Cavalieri

I wonder if this book was meant as DC’s apology to Simone over the Batgirl fiasco?

In interviews, Simone has said this is the book she’s wanted to do for a long time. There are some concepts that could be interesting but overall this issue is a giant mess in both story and art.

First, there is nothing to tie this into the existing DCU. Why is this book even in the DCU? They are all new characters, even Katharsis who appeared in Simone’s Batgirl. It’s even a new city, and that is something that DC really doesn’t need any more of. This book might have been better served being published out of the shared universe or even another publisher.

The concepts get lost. Are these kids heroes or villians? What exactly are they trying to do? Where to all the civilians get the camera masks? The kids are violent to the police for no reason. The story sets them up to be the villains. It’s understandable the police reaction to the “possessed” kid. The reaction of the kids is almost an overreaction. Property damage? Innocents at risk by their actions? And they say they are standing up for the little guy? There’s no evidence of that in this story. There’s no reason for the Pastor and the other churchgoers to side with the “movement”. None at all.

There might be some stuff worth saving, but overall the story is just a mess. And it’s not helped by the art. Not at all. I’ve never been a big fan of Williams and this issue shows why. The characters are a mess, differing proportions. There are some interesting layouts but overall it’s hard to follow.

The Movement is just a mess.

1 out of 5

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Grimm #1 ($3.99, Dynamite Entertainment)

Grimm #1, cover by Alex Ross

  • Writer: Marc Gaffen, Kyle McVey, Jim Kouf, David Greenwalt
  • Artist: Jose Malaga
  • Colorist: Thiago Dal Bello
  • Letterer: Marshall Dillon
  • Editor: Joe Rybandt

I’m a fan of the “unseen world” kind of stuff. Hellboy, Fables, the Dresden series of books. Anything where there’s a world that’s hidden from most of mankind. I tend to like that stuff. I don’t like when it becomes a basis for those romance-fantasy novels, but that’s a different story. Because I like this genre, I started watching NBC’s Grimm. I like the show. It’s entertaining. The characters are interesting, the actors work, and I can forgive the “wesen of the week” aspect of it as it starts to build it’s mythology. So you would think I would have been excited that it was coming to comics.

No. Not really.

Dynamite Entertainment has a bad track record with me. They’ve had some good books but more often the books are complete misses, especially the licensed books. So I approached this cautiously. I hoped and wanted it to be good. It wasn’t.

The tone of the comic doesn’t match the tone of the show. The artist, Malaga, does a decent job of capturing the likenesses of the actors, and the rest of his work is good except for the new female Grimm, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The story is rough, very rough, the script is not good at all and the characters don’t seem like the same characters from the show.

If the show didn’t exist, this probably would have worked better. But it’s weird, the plotters are the show’s creators, so it should feel more like the show right? But it doesn’t. The plot does pick up on stuff from the show, but it almost feels like it’s a seperate continuity. And that would have been fine, that probably would have been a better way to handle it. Instead we have this odd story that doesn’t stand on it’s own but doesn’t fit with the show.

Back to the art, and I don’t necessarily think this is Malaga’s fault, but the new Grimm introduced at the end is just a bit out of costume for the tone of the show. Her outfit would work in any other comic, but it stands out as odd in this world.

As we were watching the latest episode of Grimm the other night (and my girlfriend was jumping for joy that Juliet was remembering her relationship with Nick), I told her about the comic book. I’ve been trying to get her to read comics and figured that another one based on another show she likes (she loves The Walking Dead) might help. But I’m not going to push it because this is not an example of a good comic.

1 out of 5

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