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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 5 comics last week: Darth Vader #18, JLA #8, Amazing Spider-Man #1.4, Captain America #7 and Batman and Robin Eternal #26.
The best comic I read last week was JLA #8.
I was pleased when I read that Bryan Hitch was going to be the writer of the new Justice League title when DC… rebirths … this summer. As much as any write toiling on team books these days, Hitch seems to get it. If you’re going to put together the biggest, best and brightest superheroes, have them take on the biggest, worst and darkest threats. Anything else would seem to be a waste of time.
Hitch’s Justice League title hit the ground running with plot threads which placed the JLA in immediate jeopardy, which teased a bleak end for a beloved character and which seemed as through they were operating on different tracks and would not come together but run parallel to one another. As this issue dawns, we see (unsurprisingly) that all of the various tracks the title has been on come together for a powerful final act. The League is assembled. The stakes are high. The last page is shocking. What more could you want from a Justice League title?
You could want great art. A book like JLA deserves the best – the top line talent – and Hitch has to work with… some guy named Hitch drawing the book. Bryan Hitch the penciller is almost as good as Bryan Hitch the writer. His panoramic scale, the manner in which he composes the page, his “all in” philosophy, page by page and panel by panel, are perfect for a book like this. Hitch’s superheroes are effortlessly superheroic. Perhaps this has something to do with the story he’s composed, but Hitch’s superheroes are like gods.
That’s the way the Justice League should be and Hitch’s run on this title illustrates that the League will be in good hands (his!) following Rebirth.
For those (I wasn’t one of them) who thought the versions of Batman and Superman we saw in Batman v Superman were not true to the roots of the characters, this is the book for you. Hitch’s heroes are fully drawn, four-color goliaths for justice. Leave moral ambiguity at the door and watch the “magnificent seven” at their best. Bryan Hitch’s JLA is simply terrific.