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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 #10.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Steve McNiven
Last week, it was Secret Empire #9 and I just did not have the heart to leave #10 out this week if only because it’s all over!
And that is a good thing.
Frankly, Secret Empire ends up acquitting itself very nicely. And while it seems, if I am reading between the appropriate lines, that the status quo of the Marvel Universe is largely unchanged at the conclusion of the story line – which we have come to expect from these events – the ride was a good one.
Yes, heroic Cap seems to be back, though he has a lot of explaining to do and no amount of angst to work through. Yes, the heroes have triumphed, but there is much rebuilding to be done – both physically and psychically.
As it turns out, Nick Spencer has delivered a surprisingly self-contained narrative. I read only the tie-ins to which I was already subscribed and feel I got a full scope and sequence of the story. That is a good thing.
And so is returning Steve Rogers to being Steve Rogers. Though some good stories were had with Hydra Cap, it never felt right. This does.
The return of Steve McNiven to finish this off is a good choice and, even though he is not quite at Fantastic Four and Civil War standards, his line work is crisp and his character work more than serviceable. One wishes he was on the full series.
Secret Empire may not be my favorite Marvel-wide crossover, but it is far better than the last few we have received. That, in-and-of-itself, is a noteworthy accomplishment.