Monday, 6 January 2014

Comics that I've been reading (the slightly bittersweet edition)

I’m not a hundred percent how I feel about the news that Disney will be moving the Star Wars comics licence to Marvel from the end of this year. As someone who was always more into the books, until fairly recently, I was already used to the feeling of some executive suit (or Lucas himself) ripping up continuity if it suited the business. One man’s geek is another man’s cash cow after all, something I think we’d all be a lot better off for remembering. The only place that something is really sacred is inside us, don’t ever expect the guy who owns the franchise to emotionally invest in something as much as you do. Dark Horse (along with Del Rey books) have really made the Star Wars EU their own though with some amazing books, I’m thinking ‘Dark Empire’ in particular, and it will be a real shame to see it all effectively crumpled up and tossed to one side seeing as it’s likely that Disney will take the opportunity to reboot and start off from scratch. I’ve got a little bit of a taste for Star Wars comics now and I’m hoping that 2015 will see a return to the kind of Star Wars comics that Marvel put out in the early eighties but I don’t think that’s really likely (a shame).
It looks like 2014 will be a bit of a long drawn out goodbye to Dark Horse and their chunk of the Star Wars EU then, Del Rey too. Do I invest my time in series’ that will be discarded in twelve months’ time? The jury is still out on that one but it’s not like Dark Horse don’t have some great comics to be reading in the meantime. Here’s what I thought of two of them… I’ll just be talking about plot here as the artwork has remained pretty much constant and I’m done with rehashing stuff that I’ve already spoken about before…

‘Clown Fatale’ #3 (of 4) – Gischler, Rosenzweig

I started off following this series more out of completism than anything else but it has suddenly become a whole lot more. There may still be a complete lack of plot but it suddenly clicked that that’s the whole point. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t really need a plot when you have scantily clad female clowns shooting the hell out of drug dealers, gangsters and that Russian lady who doesn’t seem to have any other purpose than to kill said clowns. I still don’t have a clue who any of them are but really enjoyed watching them unleash copious amounts of ordinance on each other. ‘Clown Fatales’ revels in its lurid pulp roots, if that’s your thing then I reckon you could do a hell of a lot worse than pick this title up.

‘X #9’ – Swierczynski, Nguyen

I am well and truly on board with X now, a reboot that seems to taking on a life all of its own now (which is always a good thing). A blood spattered, gritty, ultra-violent life but that comes with the territory here. It doesn’t get a lot meaner than the streets of Arcadia where an assassin’s target brings on a crisis of conscience where the only way to be absolved is to engineer a fatal run-in with X himself!
I was a little bit wary of the assassin’s motivations in terms of pushing the plot on (it all happened a little too quickly to feel plausible) but it did make for a couple of great moments in terms of examining X’s code of honour and just what he is prepared to do to enforce it. That moment in particular joined a select group of ‘comic book moments that made me wince’ and looks like it could set up a recurring plot a little down the line. What looks like it could be more interesting though is the tiny crack that appeared in X’s façade. I can only see that widening and I’ll definitely be there when it all comes crashing down. #9 is another solid instalment that looks like it could promise big things to come.

As always, I’m on the lookout for new comic books to read (especially now I’m working and can afford the occasional trip to Forbidden Planet). Any recommendations?

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