In This Week’s Column…
Grifter needs an iOS 5 update, Nick Spencer stays inconsistent and Rick still has no clue who the fuck Jake Ellis is– even after a complete 5 issue mini-series.
Morning Glories #13
Written By: Nick Spencer
Art By: Joe Elisa
A few weeks ago, I gave Morning Glories #12 a “Bored” Tag. By the end of the issue I also considered dropping the book as a monthly and moving over to the trades– since the individual issues just weren’t giving me the monthly “Oomph!” I desired. Wouldn’t you know it… Just when I was convinced I was out– Nick Spencer pulls me back in!
This may be long overdue but I think I’ve finally realized what Spencer is trying to do with this comic. I also feel a bit stupid for not catching on earlier.
Morning Glories is simply a television series told in comic book form. Each issue reads exactly like a TV episode– more so than any other comic book I buy. And while each book is usually filled with great character moments, I finally understand why Spencer isn’t giving away too much plot information (which was my original gripe). I also see why he is always trying to steer us toward focusing about the “Here and Now”. We all know that there is a much larger story occurring in the background but Spencer insists we zero in on the dilemma at hand… While slowly crawling toward the big reveal.
In other words, this is Nick Spencer’s book and we are going to consume his story at his pace– whether we like it or not.
Thankfully Morning Glories #13 gives us plenty to think about. We get an interesting character in Ms. Hodge. Introduced last issue, she makes an immediate impact here– giving the book a much-needed adrenaline shot. As the story takes several dramatic swerves, we finally get to see the much anticipated GREAT ESCAPE. The much acclaimed Morning Glories “Writing Formula” is also laid bare: If everything goes well for Spencer’s teens, something equally bad (or worse) is always going to be waiting just around the corner. We also get another cliffhanger with this issue… Making me briefly wonder why I continue to torture myself like this every 30 days.
Existing fans will get lots of satisfaction from a few of the new reveals and some suspenseful storytelling. New readers, however, will be completely lost. For those of you still curious about this book, I suggest picking up the first two trades. These collections should bring you up to speed (and cover virtually everything, save a couple of the newest issues).Who Is Jake Ellis #5
Written By: Nathan Edmondson
Art By: Tonci Zonjic
Indie books are almost always a treat. There’s always an element of surprise to grab me, taking me into refreshing new directions that I just cannot get from the standard superhero fare. The Jake Ellis series has definitely accomplished this, mainly by introducing cool concepts and mixing them with a little James Bond attitude. Sadly, the final issue of this mini-series did not pay off in the way I’d hoped– as many of the interesting questions posed by creator Nathan Edmondson (all laid out in the previous four issues) did not get answered in the finale. In fact, the most important questions of the ENTIRE SERIES get raised in the final pages of this last issue– with absolutely NO payoff! The final few panels seemed extremely rushed and didn’t provide me with the satisfaction that I was looking for or felt I deserved as a paying customer. Even if there are plans to continue this series in a second volume, there is now zero incentive for me to return.Pigs #2
Written By: Nate Cosby and Ben McCool
Art By: Bren Tamura
Pigs is slowly becoming one of my favorites. I read the first issue three times… Not because I didn’t understand it but because it was fun! Issue #2 did not let up. I’m a sucker for espionage military mysteries and that is exactly what this book delivers. The comic is written by two people, which amazes me– as the dialogue is seamless and always smooth from page to page. Lettering– an often neglected art form– is definitely worth mentioning here. Rus Wooton is utilizing a great style with the dialogue-heavy Pigs. He jams the book full of the writers’ words– but never sacrifices the art by overloading every panel with word balloons. So you know, Image Comics has just gone fully “Day and Date” with digital– so there’s no excuse not to be reading this very entertaining comic.Ultimate Comics X-Men #2
Written By: Nick Spencer
Art By: Paco Medina
Believe it or not, I was actually excited when I first learned that the X-Men would be making a return to Marvel’s Ultimate Universe. Unlike many people who feel the Ultimate U has played itself out, I am still in love with it… And I truly feel that tremendous potential still exists. To this day, the MUU remains my favorite over the Marvel 616– purely due to creators taking chances, unafraid to rock the boat. Think about it: ALL of the most popular Ultimate characters– with exception of the Ultimates– are dead!
Which makes this next statement all the more depressing: Ultimate Comics X-Men #2 is a supreme let down. The book is called X-Men, yet there has yet to be anything resembling an X-Men team in the comic. I feel like I’m still reading Ultimate Fallout— which was a massive piece of shit in its own right. I would hate to drop a book that I have been waiting for so early in its’ first story arc but if we don’t get some significant story development QUICK– then it might be time.Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Art By: Sara Pichelli
On the other side of the coin, I have Ultimate Comics Spider-Man proving me wrong every two weeks! I’ll readily admit that I steadfastly opposed the idea of killing Peter Parker and replacing him with Miles Morales. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Seeing Spider-Man’s world through fresh eyes has been extremely enjoyable. This comic takes place during the Death of Spider-Man series, as we follow Miles after his exposure to the spider that gives him super powers. I don’t want to say the spider is radioactive since neither Marvel or Bendis have really made any indication as to what the circumstances are… However we do know that this particular arachnid carried a completely different power set. How refreshing… This guy can become invisible! The series is so much fun, I haven’t even been bothered that we haven’t seen Miles in costume yet. I’m sure the bi-weekly release schedule will have us there in no time.Grifter #2
Written By: Nathan Edmondson
Art By: Cafu
Grifter continues to disappoint, as we get nowhere new with the character in this issue. He’s still being chased and the entire comic is basically a 22-page action sequence with a tiny shred of plot development. I don’t remember Grifter being such a little bitch either but I don’t claim to be a Wildstorm expert. The strongest asset to this book is Cafu’s amazing art– but it’s going to take a lot more than that to get me to continue buying this series.Demon Knights #2
Written By: Paul Cornell
Art By: Diogenes Neves
This book is a true treasure. It’s hard to believe that we can actually have a fantasy book that can deliver so much funny dialogue without sacrificing what makes the “fantasy” part of the story so great. Demon Knights #2 is filled to the brim with magic, action, dragons and, of course, demons! Picking up exactly where issue #1 left off, Etrigan and his friends fight off dragons and the approaching army of the evil queen set on world domination. The art is fantastic and fits this style of storytelling perfectly. Villagers also get involved in the fight adding a whole other element of fun– as they act as a good supporting cast for our main characters. This book was a close second for my IMJ Book of the Week™!