Rumor has it that the hundredth issue of The Walking Dead is going to set all kinds of sales records when it comes out in July. If that turns out to be true, it will be quite an achievement for an independent series, especially in a year where a growing number of creators have flocked to Creator-Owned pastures. The interesting thing to me is how the popularity of The Walking Dead TV series has fueled the slow rise in sales for the comic the last couple of years. DC and Marvel have continually struggled to translate the success of their shows and movies into sales for their comics, but Image and The Walking Dead figured it out. TWD creator Robert Kirkman partially credited the sales climb to the series’ easy access: basically if you like the show then you can easily pick up the single ongoing series or one of the trades, whereas with something like The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises, you have a multitude of trades and ongoing series to choose from that really have nothing to do with the movie. It can make for a confusing experience. However, I think that if DC or Marvel directly adapted one of their ongoing series as a TV series, that would bring in the mythical new reader they’ve been so desperate to court. We’ll see how the success of TWD changes things in the industry, if at all.
A long time and a complete universal reboot ago, Conner Kent and Cassie Sandsmark were tragic lovers, doomed to be kept apart despite their great love for each other. Superboy would turn evil, or die, or something like that, preventing him and Wonder Girl from ever being together for an extended period of time. When DC reset their universe last year, their relationship was rebooted too, and they’ve gone from trying to make their relationship work to trying to punch each other out. Issue ten brought the would be lovers together again in an adventure that saw them fighting dinosaurs as well as their obvious attraction to each other. Oh, to be a super hormonal teenage superhero. Scott Lobdell’s story was pretty predictable and typically talky, but it did a good job exploring the tangled emotions between Superboy and Wonder Girl while they explored the mystery island they found themselves stranded on. It was also nice to see a different take on their relationship, one that’s more contentious and fiery than lovey dovey and emo. At least its not like that yet. Artist Sebastian Fiumara pinch hit this issue, and he did a pretty great job overall with his Action oriented style. He has all the elements of a strong comic artist, not to mention he just draws pretty. Because of the strong art and central relationship, this was probably my favorite issue of Superboy since the reboot.
Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #10
Maybe a new writer is what this book needed to kick it back into gear. After a couple of entertaining, yet lackluster issues by departing writer Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt’s first issue as the ongoing writer Kicked off a darkly exciting storyline where Frankenstein and his team traveled to the hidden city above metropolis to find a mole within the S.H.A.D.E. organization. But much like the city of untropolis, the truth behind the so called traitor and their plan was cloaked as well. S.H.A.D.E.’s duplicitous nature has been one of my favorite ongoing subplots of this series, so I’m really glad that Kindt picked up on that theme. Kindt brought his own style to the series, infusing it with a tense, darker tone that moved away from Jeff Lemire’s action oriented stories. The story moved a little slower, instead focusing on establishing tension and mood. One thing that hasn’t changed is Alberto ponticelli’s art, as he continued to do excellent work, especially in the opening scene that found Frankenstein fighting for his life against a swarm of giant killer insects. I didn’t really have any worries about the quality of this book going forward with kindt taking over, but this awesome opening issue proved Frankenstein will be going into some interestingly dark territory.
Saucer Country #4
Its kind of like Paul Cornell is playing keep-away with the readers when it comes to answers about the possible alien invasion of Earth. Just when you think you’re finally going to get some answers about all the abductions and encounters, Cornell pulls the ball back as if to say you didnt really think it would be that easy, did you? Its okay though, it feels too soon for answers anyway. Issue Four mainly centered on Arcadia’s ex husband Michael and his so called recollection of his encounters with extraterrestrials. The truth can be slippery and elusive though. Run Part Four explored how people take comfort in their own version of the truth (with the help of those who want to take advantage of that desire), because its easier to believe, because the reality might be too much to handle. Cornell continued to build on the mythology of the series, tying seemingly disparate characters closer together while showing the different perspectives people have on aliens and abductions. The art by Ryan Kelly,Giulia brusco and Lee Loughridge wasn’t as strong or dramatic as in the first three issues but they continued to do solid work. The opening splash page was especially weird and captivating. Its all making for an increasingly complex and engrossing world.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Nine #10
I’m going through a bit of Buffy fatigue at the moment, but despite that the final chapter of apart of me wasn’t that bad. There was some good action and emotional beats, well rendered by cliff Richards and the art team, especially when it came to the final scene between Buffy and Spike. The writing kind of went over the top with the melodrama, but i loved the coloring and framing of the scene. The finale promised something better for Buffy on the horizon, a new start away from all the crazy stuff that’s been going on since Issue One. Despite my frustration with this season so far, im genuinely curious to see what happens next to her. I guess I’m not that fatigued after all.