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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.
COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:
The best comic I read last week was
Writer: Tom King
Artist: David Finch
Batman has been a very solid book throughout the New 52 and Rebirth publishing eras. DC has wisely entrusted it primarily to two stellar writers, Scott Snyder and Tom King. When King took over the book, it seemed that he was following a thematic and structural path set out by Snyder but, in recent arcs, King has illustrated a new found deftness and confidence that is distinct from Snyder’s tone and exciting to read.
He’s been paired with a number of amazing artists who have alternated on the arcs of the book. This issue belongs to David Finch and Clay Mann and, while I believe Mann’s work is a better match for the tighter illustrations of Michel Janin than Finch’s, the combination works in this issue with Finch and Mann going back-and-forth on thematic parts of the story.
Finch is one of the top ten pencillers in comics and, while I have found his line work inconsistent in past issues, he delivers for Batman #24. Matching the tone of the writing, Finch layers on detail in quieter panels while shifting into solid action when the story calls for it. Mann has a sleek approach that I really like and his parts of the narrative deal very much with the emotions of the characters which he conveys extremely well. The two deliver artwork up to the impressive and important caliber of the story.
King’s pacing through the his storylines on the book has been extremely drawn out and decompressed. That fact has led to critiques of the book but, when long story threads play out the way they do in Batman #24, I cannot see why anyone would complain. Tying up loose ends from at least three prior arcs, King writes a powerful issue and, if the promise of the last page is realized, one that could actually alter the status quo of Batman for some time to come.
That cannot be said of every Batman story.
King understands his character and has made him a bit more accessible, a bit more human and a bit more… dare I say, fun.
It is interesting to see how the DC Comics Universe in general and this title in particular have tried to follow the company-wide mandate of telling stories about characters which are positive and hopeful. King has done that in Batman while staying true to the gothic roots of the Dark Knight. It’s been impressive to read.