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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 11 comics last week: We Are Robin #6, Superman #46, Superman/Wonder Woman #23, Superman: Lois and Clark #2, JLA #5, Darth Vader#13, Grayson #14, Chewbacca #4, Dark Knight: The Master Race #1, Robin Son of Batman #6 and Batman and Robin Eternal #8.
The best comic I read last week was Dark Knight: The Master Race #1.
First of all, The Master Race (an unfortunate title) is no Dark Knight Returns. It is, however, far better than The Dark Knight 2 which was a hot mess – I think it was intentionally a hot mess. No, The Master Race is a far more worthy successor to Frank Miller’s original classic and that’s a very good thing. Frankly, in a week that was fairly pedestrian in terms of the other comics I read this week, that, in-and-of-itself, was enough to get my attention.
Let’s start with art. Andy Kubert does a very, very nice job recalling the Frank Miller art style without mimicking it. He creates the environment that Miller did without simply copying it. His layouts are dynamic and his execution of the Frank Miller “TV Heads” is terrific. It doesn’t hurt that inker Klaus Jansen is along for the ride.
Brian Azzarello seems to be more in charge of the story than Miller this time around and he does a fairly good job of setting things up in this first issue. In fact, he does a bit too good a job of set up. There is not a lot that happens here, but the series is rife with potential. There are a number of surprises (a pretty central one, in fact) that hold great promise for the rest of the series and I am looking forward to the next issue.
It seems DC is really embracing the idea of multiple universes and that’s a good thing. Along with Superman: Lois and Clark, DC is tapping into its vast history. I have no problem with this. Tell good stories in any context. They don’t have to be in continuity.
I am happy to see this corner of the DC Universe back.