Sunday, October 28, 2007

Good news and bad news in new comics

Trying something a little different here. Looking at new comics purchases from this week for an example of something good and exemplary. And then another example that isn't, so much.

The Good News: Moon Knight #13
Horror/mystery author Charlie Huston has taken an interesting tack on the bargain basement Batman in the past year or so. Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight, has been presented as a rumbling psychopath, and kind of a prick, and most of his former allies want nothing to do with him. Luckily, his enemies are even creepier. While Huston has approached the miserabilist superhero subgenre with a certain degree of humor, I as a reader have laughed at Moon Knight more than with him.

In his last issue on the series, Huston keeps this general approach, but allows Spector to get some of his own back. The Civil War aftermath means that he has to register as a vigilante or else retire. Things look bad for him during the psych exam, but he manages to psych out the shrink in a way that's fun to watch. It also looks like he finally gets the girl again, meaning Marlene Alraune. Of course there's a question of whether this is true love or somethin' Swedish.

The Bad News: Shadowpact #17
Bill Willingham created a nice little magical supergroup in the runup to Infinite Crisis, and good for him. And the Shadowpact should be an enduring property, unless someone really screws up.

Of course Willingham has stepped away from the book, at least for the time being, and handed the keys over to his prtege Matthew Sturges. And I'm not sure Sturges is ready for Prime Time. The family drama between villain Dr. Gotham and his equally Jedi-haired "son", the Protege has gotten old real fast. They have a racket sacrificing vestals who are into magic, and that's supposed to spice things up. It doesn't.

Their newest prey is Carla Aquista, known as the Warlock's Daughter. She's got power but she doesn't know how to control it. The Enchantress is trying to teach her, and the WD resents the way she's being taught. And she's being led astray by truly evil people. This is the same boring setup that made me stop reading Countdown.

Wish I could say I'm at least worried about the Warlock's Daughter, but I can't get invested at all. Not only is she in a bratty stage she looks too old for, but Tom Derenick draws her without pupils or irises. That means that even though she has the typical superheroine physique, her eyes are even more disturbing and unnatural than her tits. Yeah. Come back, Bill, and show 'em how to do it right.

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