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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 8 comics last week: Detective Comics #52, The Coming of the Supermen #4, Star Trek: Manifest Destiny #2, Batman/Superman#32, Black Widow#3, Invincible Iron Man #9, Amazing Spider-Man #12 and Poe Dameron #2.
The best comic I read last week was Poe Dameron #2.
Anyone who loved The Force Awakens and is not reading Poe Dameron for whatever reason is doing her or himself a GRAVE disservice. Capturing the flavor of Star Wars in general and of the roguish Dameron in particular, this new mini series continues the amazing string of Star Wars stories that Marvel has offered since regaining the Star Wars license. I don’t think they’ve missed on a title yet – all of their offerings have been very good, but Poe Dameron is already one of the best.
Phil Noto’s art is outstanding. He handles the background flavor of the Star Wars universe very well. From his rendering of the iconic X-Wing fighters to his alien character designs, everything has the appropriately “lived-in” feel and his action sequences, both in flight and in ground combat, really work. But his ability to capture the likenesses of the Star Wars actors without his renderings seeming copied from photo reference is what truly makes his art stand out. Noto is such a talent. I love seeing him on interiors as well as covers.
And, for his part, Charles Soule is making a living writing Star Wars. Much like Noto, he’s tapped in to what makes the Star Wars universe work without making his Star Wars work a caricature. There is a certain reality to handling licensed products, especially when everyone knows the story of these characters will continue on the big screen in a couple years. The commensurate challenge is to create tension and generate high stakes in these kinds of properties and Soule does it exceedingly well. He has nailed the Han Solo-like bravado of Poe Dameron while letting the character be his own man and his “Black Squadron” work feels like to good old days of Rogue Squadron.
Again, if you are a Star Wars fan and you’re not reading the Marvel titles, you’re really missing out.