Batman Annual #1 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Jason Fabok – Well, Snyder’s done it again. He has added some layers to Mr. Freeze that, well as usual I won’t ruin it, but wow. Tynion has been co-writing the backup stories running in Batman and does so again here. Victor Fries was always a man obsessed, new layers of madness have been added to the obsession and it certainly has me glad to see a classic villain back in the book. In the new 52 there has been a focus on newer villains, but Snyder shows here that the classics are classic for a reason. Fabok’s art does a good job. He’s been a bit of a Dave Finch clone in the past (fitting, since he was filling in for the notoriously late Finch in Dark Knight), but here he seems to be trying to push a bit into his own style. He may not be quite there yet, but he will be one to watch I think. The pages are laid out well and the action is easy to follow. Another great read from Snyder.
Saga #s 1-3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – Here’s another good example of how to start off. The first issue dives right into a rather dire (and funny) situation, letting you know in the first scene what our two main characters are like, the danger they are in and why. Exposition and back story are saved for later in the issue and dispensed in a way that doesn’t feel tedious. Vaughan has been away from comics for a while but comes back in fine form. I know Staples is well known in indie circles, but I’ve only seen some covers and pinups before. Her art perfectly encapsulates the melange of SciFi Fantasy and action. She captures emotion and spectacle well and the layouts and storytelling are superb. It’s at once totally new and completely familiar. I was reviewing all three issues at once because most modern comics don’t stand alone as individual issues very well. This one does so, and does it very well. It is obviously a chapter in a longer story, but the issue is satisfying by itself and leaves you wanting the next chapter rather quickly.
Which I fortunately had available! Now I didn’t pay attention to the page count, but this went by A LOT quicker. We learn a little more about the people who will be chasing our main characters and a couple of them seem like they will be as interesting as the stars of the book. The main story is two people (Marko and Alana) from opposite sides of a war have fallen in love and deserted their respective armies to be together. They are being chased by two bounty hunters and a robot prince so far. Again, as always, I really don’t want to give too much of the story away, but the stakes are raised a bit and we see just how far Alana at least is willing to go to keep their baby from the people, aliens and robots that are chasing them. This one goes by quick and really leaves you hanging at the end.
Fortunately I also had #3. So we continue to try to find our heroes’ way out of the dire straits they find themselves in and we start to learn the entertaining past between a couple of the bounty hunters. Another character is added to our traveling group and there is a honey of a cliffhanger. Fortunately now, I am so hooked that I won’t mind waiting for the next issue. Saga, so far, is a fun, fun read. There is drama, a little romance, quite a bit of funny and a whole lot of adventure. It’s definitely worth three bucks a month to see where these folks go. Also, for those interested, this is definitely not a book for young kids. You can decide where “Mature Readers” falls chronologically for yourselves. I know, a lot of you are saying “Kids read comics? Yeah, right.” Well mine do, and the teenager would be fine with this one, and while the five year old would love it I don’t think it’d be entirely appropriate for him.
That’s it for now. I should have another opinion piece up soon and may even throw in some thoughts on Prometheus into the next review pile. Drop me a line and let me know what you guys are liking and not liking out there.
Sean Stoltey, writer, raconteur and retired rabble rouser, hails originally from California’s Central Coast but currently resides in Southern California’s BEAUTIFUL–San Fernando Valley. Screenwriter, Comic Book author, these are things he does because he’s too poor to be a Producer or Publisher.
Sean has been reading comics, watching movies, reading books and selling his soul (or at least his hearing) to Rock’n’Roll for as long as he can remember. He has been discussing and arguing about these things for almost as long.
So now he has come here to throw his opinions in your face as well and hope that, even if you don’t agree, hopefully you will enjoy them. For the record: Kirk was the greatest Enterprise Captain, Han was the only one that shot, Led Zeppelin was the greatest Rock band to walk the Earth and Keith Richards is the coolest undead person to walk the Earth. Coolest living people are my sons and my Mom and Dad. My Dad F—in’ rocks, and my Mom can kick your ass.