It’s Wednesday! (March 27, 2013)

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Apparently everyone is chomping at the bit for Guardians of the Galaxy this week. I like a Marvel cosmic book when it’s done well. But I have enough going on, so GoG is not on my list.

There are, however, three books I’m most curious about. Time Warp (Vertigo Comics), which I wrote about here a few days ago. The second is the new Hickman/Dragotta ongoing (Image Comics). Finally another Vertigo book, The Unwritten.

EAST OF WEST #1
Story by: Jonathan Hickman, Art By: Nick Dragotta

“OUT OF THE WASTELAND”
The things that divide us are stronger than the things that unite us. A Sci-Fi Western set in a dystopian America where all hope for the future rests in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse…who just happen to be trying to kill the President of the United States.

One of the most exciting new books of the year, this is EAST OF WEST, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the award-winning team of Marvel’s FF, JONATHAN HICKMAN and NICK DRAGOTTA.

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I remember reading the letters pages of Fantastic Four/FF when Hickman was writing the books, and there were people who really didn’t like Dragotta on FF. One person, I recall, wrote in complaining he couldn’t tell the difference between Bentley and Franklin or something like that.

I don’t understand them. I respect their opinion, but I thought Dragotta brought a fresh, fun take to the book. He was probably the artist who best captured for me as an adult the feeling I used to get reading Power Pack when I was a kid. I anticipate this new book will be a lot of fun.

That said, I have two concerns. The first is the reliability of the regular schedule. Doesn’t need to be monthly for me. I’ll take bi-monthly or monthly with a break between story arcs so they can catch up on other work. Hickman’s been able to continue to pump out The Manhattan Projects regularly for the most part amidst his Marvel books, but Secret got shelved early on.

My second worry is whether he is starting to spread himself too thin. Having never written a monthly comic, I don’t know how much time that takes. I’m assuming his approach is to write big chunks of script at a time for each series and then hand that over to the artist. So maybe that’s not an issue. But both Avengers books he is writing are leaving me a little bit cold at the moment. Or maybe those books are best read in a sizeable run.

Some reviewers are calling East of West the best book of the month. I guess we’ll see.

THE UNWRITTEN #47
Written by: Mike Carey, Art by: Peter Gross, Cover by: Yuko Shimizu

vertigo_unwritten47_cover“Orpheus in the Underworld” part 1! Still on his quest to bring Lizzie back from the dead, Tom Taylor has made it as far as Hades—but he’s left his memories behind in the waters of Lethe. Now he’s face-to-face with the king of the underworld, who’s got his own sinister agenda and no good reason to offer Tom an Orpheus deal…

I buy this book every month, but I tend to read them 4 or 6 issues at a time. (Wow, 6 issues? That’s half a year.) I really do think the story is best consumed that way.

I enjoy where Carey and Gross have taken The Unwritten. The series has defied my expectations. Just when I think it might get boring or safe, when I think I’m going to drop it from my pull list, they throw something new at me. And I like unexpected storytelling. Let’s be honest: this is unlike the vast majority of books on the comic store shelves. There are very few good fantasy ongoing comic series for readers. The Unwritten is solid.

The upcoming arc with the (not quite?) crossover into the Fables universe has a lot of potential for fun times.

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