Category Archives: DC Comics

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 13 – 19, 2019

Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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:

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Superman #17

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Kevin Maguire

If ever an issue was building to something big, shouting “hey, something gigantic is coming and this is a little breather before it hits!”, it’s Superman #17. It is a bit of a sadness that in today’s world, major story lines are often revealed long before they play out, but writer Brian Michael Bendis is smart enough to embrace this reality and use it to his advantage here. Crafting an issue where nothing really happens, but so much ground is covered, Bendis weaves together plot lines and characters whose payoff is surely issues away but whose interplay is tight and compelling.

And, if you’re going to have an issue that is really all talk, perhaps it’s a good idea to lasso one of the best artists in the business to assist. Any book that features interiors by Kevin Maguire is worth a look and Superman #17 is no exception. I believe Maguire’s towering abilities as a comic book artist are often overlooked because of a very understandable focus on his unique ability to render expression, but it’s that very ability that is so on display here. Maguire, as much as any other artist working today, illustrates that as much can be conveyed by a silent panel as one filled with words. Perhaps more. This pairing of writer and artist seems to bring out the best in Bendis, who can sometimes be justifiably critiqued for overwriting stories.

Not here. In Superman #17 we see a writer and artist whose comfort with the characters with whom they are working and with each other makes for a tremendous example of sequential art. What a terrific read!

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 6 – 12, 2019

Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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:

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Legion of Superheroes #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Ryan Sook

Bold, visionary, audacious and, yes, inspiring, Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook’s Legion of Superheroes is a terrific re-imagining of one of the most underrated brands in the DC Universe. The expectations for this book were very high, primarily because DC generally and Bendis specifically built them up to ridiculous proportions over the course of the last few years. It has seemed that, with each reinvention of the DC Universe, a new take on The Legion was floated and was not realized. But the hints were there. The images. The moments.

When Bendis came to DC and took over the Superman universe, his passion for The Legion became readily clear and his story telling choices began laying the groundwork that was realized in Legion of Superheroes #1.

What a fun, hope filled and joyous comic book it is.

Ryan Sook was the perfect choice to design this new version of The Legion, one that looks like an idyllic future representation of a world and universe in which many would like to like. His take on the classic characters – their costumes, their powers and their look – is a tremendous counterpart to the words Bendis is putting in their mouths. After only one issue, it is hard to see anyone else illustrating the series. I trust Sook is around for the long haul.

Bursting with plot lines and jam packed with easter eggs and action, Legion of Superheroes #1 is an almost perfect pilot episode. There are ideas here that will surely propel the book for years to come. This is a great beginning.

The reader gets the sense of the universe and of the characters in a story that is unexpected, engaging and exciting. The reader encounters a Legion that is populated by a fascinating mix of kids who really love what they are doing. The reader experiences a creative team that feels much the same way.

What more could anyone want from a Legion of Superheroes comic? Nothing except issue number 2. Immediately.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 30 – November 5, 2019

Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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:

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Fantastic Four – Grand Design #1

Writer: Tom Scioli

Artist:Tom Scioli

In 2017, Tom Scioli took on the complex and ridiculous history of The X-Men in his instant classic X-Men – Grand Design and I remember thinking, “man, the Fantastic Four need this treatment.”

It was worth the wait.

Scioli’s humor is evident in both his writing and his artwork. His cleverness and his skill are evident throughout this issue and he somehow condenses over 50 issues of Fantastic Four history into this one book. What works so well is that the content he is addressing is almost as over-the-top as his style. He takes the sometimes funny, sometimes insane, sometimes absurd adventures of Marvel’s first family, updates pieces of it for a modern audience and weaves the stories into a cohesive narrative.

This book shows some of the best parts of comic books as a medium. The bending, twisty structure, the cartoonish, Kirby-invoking art and the scenery chewing prose are quintessentially comic book and, as Scioli re-tells the stories of the FF, he also shows his reverence for them.

Hard to find a better illustrated read this week…

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 23 – 29, 2019

Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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:

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Batman: Curse of the White Knight #4

Writer: Sean Murphy

Artist: Sean Murphy

Writer/artist Sean Murphy is creating quite the compelling and complete world in Batman: Curse of the White Knight, the sequel to the popular Batman: White Knight. This alternate history of Batman has been consistently riveting and has illustrated Murphy’s deep knowledge of and clear respect for the history of the character. What makes this pocket of the Batman universe so good is that Murphy honors the traditional Batman tropes without being wedded to them.

In this corner of the DC Universe, Batman is an even more hard-boiled character than we have come to recognize but he is also somehow more connected to and committed to family. That family most immediately includes Dick Grayson, Jim and Barbara Gordon and Duke Thomas and the spins that Murphy has put on each of them are evocative and effective. More broadly, that family has room for a fascinating interpretation of Harley Quinn and a damned impressive one of John Paul Valley.

Batman: Curse of the White Knight is a terrific read and it’s beautifully rendered by the author with his collaborator Matt Hollingsworth. It’s the kind of story I don’t want to see end and it seems DC might be paying attention. Letting Murphy continuing playing in this part of the universe is a very good and very fulfilling idea.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 16 – 22, 2019

Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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:

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Batman #81

Writer: Tom King

Artist: John Romita, jr.

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

It cannot be that easy, can it?

Tom King and John Romita, jr. are certainly making it seem that way.

If one could have found a complaint with King’s Batman run in recent months, it may have been that the pace was playing out in the slowest of burns.

Yeah. No longer.

As the action of City of Bane continues to ramp up with Batman’s return to Gotham City, King illustrates that he has as much facility with big screen action payoffs as he does with smaller, intimate character beats. In fact, its the contrast between those types of storytelling that make this issue pay off, pay off and pay off. For those who wanted Batman back, retaking his city and re-establishing himself as the alpha in Gotham, that story is here. For those who enjoyed the slower connections of Batman and Catwoman, that story is here. For those who wondered how all the plot points from King’s entire run might tie together, that story is here.

Every story is here.

And so is John Romita, jr., whose very style defines pay off.

What a ride. It’s a shame to anticipate its end.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 8 – 15, 2019

Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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:

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was The Powers of X#6

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: R B Silva & Pepe Larraz

Now that the epic roll out for the new status quo for the X-Men told over 12 issues of House of X and Powers of X respectively, is complete, I feel I can begin to try to comment and comprehend. 

Commenting will be easy. Comprehending? That’s something else.

I am thrilled to read Jonathan Hickman playing in this corner of the Marvel Universe. His last opus on Avengers a few years back was gripping and awe-inspiring and I expected much the same from his take on X-Men. As it turns out, i should have expected more. I did not anticipate his playing with the form in the manner he has, both in the inclusion of intricate text pages pulling together (and, sometimes, ripping apart) threads of X-Men history while adapting it to the story he is telling and in the triptych narrative of three timelines converging into a cohesive story. 

Both are risky approaches. Both pay off. 

Hickman has made erased the idea that there are heroes and villains in the X-Men universe. He’s erased the idea that there are rules. He’s erased the tropes of comic book story telling. He’s erased the X-Men.

This is no “hey, here’s a new angle on old characters” take. This is a recreation of the entire concept of the X-Men.

It’s bold.

 It works in these two series and he’s aided and abetted by Pepe Larraz (primary artist on both series) turning in career defining work. The art is terrific and pops and supports the story, but the story here is king.

Whether this approach can be sustained over the long term and under the pressures of the multimedia approach that Marvel is taking to its properties remains to be seen. Whether I ever fully understand the story that’s being told does as well.

But, for now, X-Men is the most fascinating niche of the mainstream comic book world going. 

It’s uncanny.

 

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 2 – 7, 2019

Related Content from And There Came A Day:

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 Batman #80

Writer: Tom King

Artist: John Romita, jr

And now John Romita, jr is along for the ride? Are you kidding me?

Batman is already and consistently at the top of my virtual pull list and, as anyone who has even a passing familiarity with this blog knows, has been for well over a year. Tom King’s building crescendo in the title has been ably supported by a series of incredible artists. Now one of the best – one of the legends – joins him for an issue that has everything anyone could want from a Batman story.

And the result is all but perfect.

Batman remains King.

Pun intended.

 

 

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