Into the longbox

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #26, Uslan, DeSanto, Justiniano, Wong. Another new creative team with a slightly different take on our cast. I liked the fast pace and the winks at the Spirit conventions. More compellingly, their Octopus seems like the sort of person who actually could recruit and motivate an international team of terrorists, rather than just being a generic megalomaniac. I also liked the genuine romantic connection between The Spirit and Ellen. A few things seemed a little clumsy – the Spirit’s secret identity isn’t something he’s terribly good at keeping, for example – but really not bad for a new team. I’m worried about the hints that the Octopus and The Spirit share a dark secret will drag things too far into traditional melodrama, but overall this is a promising debut.

Captain America #46, Brubaker, Epting, D’Armata. Despite the underlying links with the past, this issue is all business. A group of professionals is reacting to a threat as professionals, despite the old ghosts moving around. I like how well Brubaker captures the veneer of business that covers the characters’ shared loyalties and beliefs. The exchanges all underline how together they are without coming out and saying much that isn’t directly related to the operation. It’s a nice bit of characterization. I can’t say I’m terribly worked up about this storyline, but I am enjoying the execution well enough.

Top Ten Season Two #2 & #3, Cannon and Ha. I’d missed talking about these when they came out, and may have missed more issues. Cannon and Ha are really doing a good job keeping the spirit and tone of the Moore issues. The pacing seems a little fast to me, but a lot happened in the original run as well, and I may be remembering it different than it is. Still there’s a lot going on here, and some of the characters seem that little beat off-model. It remains better than many super-books out there. And the art functions both as an effective storytelling vector and as a source of in-jokes in the margins. Fun stuff.

Sandman: The Dream Hunters #4, Gaiman and Russell. A gorgeous finish to a beautiful collaboration. There’s nothing in this issue that haven’t been in the other three, but it’s still a joy to read. Russell’s compositions beautifully complement and focus Gaiman’s script. Great stuff. I imagine there will be a retelling under one cover that’s clearly worth buying.

Secret Six #6, Simone, Scott, Hazlewood. Woosh, what a ride. Big plot twist that I didn’t see coming, and am still not sure how I interpret. The problem isn’t that the twist is unbelievable – it’s that many possible interpretations are all believable. There are genuinely dark goings-on this issue, but it’s a natural progression. The humor up to know has definitely been whistling past the graveyard, and this issue kills the streetlights. I haven’t been this surprised by a genre comic in a long time. Great stuff.

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