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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
Secret Empire #5.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Andrea Sorrentino and Rod Reis
I have been burned by my own expectations when reading “big, event” comics from Marvel and DC in recent years. These are self-inflicted burns, to be sure. No one forces me to buy these events and no one sets my expectations higher than I.
It was with significant wariness that I approached Secret Empire especially considering that, at the heart of the story was the so-called “Hydra Cap” – the Captain America who believes he has been a Hydra sleeper agent for his entire life. He has taken down the heroes of earth by capturing them, by killing them, by stranding them off planet and he and his Hydra cronies are making their moves at world domination. I saw this description and I thought, eh, I read this before. From DC. When it was called Forever Evil and it was not terrific then.
But I still bought it.
The fifth issue has made me glad I did. It is here that the series has won me over. I am engaged in this story. I am enjoying the twists and turns and I am genuinely curious as to how it will all turn out. Spencer has woven any number of interesting threads into this narrative, and I am very intrigued to see it through to its conclusion. He has me guessing as a read and that is what I want from a comic.
The art in the series has been good, if uneven. I am not sure that Andrea Sorrentino is the right choice for this kind of packed panel, wide screen action. He is a good artist, to be sure, but his style better serves a smaller book, in my opinion.
Rod Reis has a few pages here, too, and they are discordant and set off from the main narrative. The discordance is intentional and Reis’ work is very good, perhaps so good that one wishes the two artists had flipped duties.
I will wait and see what comes out of Secret Empire, if it is the catalyst that shakes up the Marvel Universe or if it all too easily restores the status quo in it.
But, for now, I am interested and this was the book I thought about the most last week.