In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What is a recent title or issue you have enjoyed?
I am reading Ed Brubaker’s latest Winter Soldier series on my iPad. I am ready to go all digital. As for the comic…
Like a teenager on a roller coaster. That about sums it up.
Angel & Faith, published by Dark Horse, is a spinoff of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic — which is, of course a sequel/spinoff of the popular television show that has been off the air way longer than I want to think about. I was a big fan of Buffy on TV, and its spinoff, Angel. I’ve only followed the Dark Horse continuations off and on. Nothing against them; they’re high-quality comics, especially for TV tie-in properties. It’s just that I was satisfied with the way the Buffy story ended on the screen. I didn’t really need to see more adventures picking up down the road.
However, when a book focused on Angel and Faith was announced, I took notice. The two characters — Buffy’s sometime boyfriend who happens to be a vampire, and Buffy’s co-slayer and occasional nemesis –might not seem like a natural teamup. But if you’re familiar with the character dynamics over several seasons of television, it starts to make sense. Both Angel and Faith have shown a strong desire to do good, while always fighting to keep their darksides at bay. Yet they face their similar demons in contrasting ways: Angel broods; Faith parties. This contrast makes for interesting interplay between the characters.
Angel & Faith has its eighth issue coming out this week, and so far it is living up to the story’s promise and then some. Christos Gage (who is also writing one of Marvel’s best books, Avengers Academy) is doing a great job of crafting inventive plots and Joss-worthy dialogue, while artist Rebekah Isaacs has the characters and the London setting looking great.
This book may be too continuity-dependent to appeal to all readers — if you don’t already care about these characters before you pick up the book, there might be a lot to catch up with. But if the Buffyverse is part of your life and you want to see good stories told well, give Angel & Faith a shot.
I bought the first issue of Saucer Country for a number of reasons. First of all, Ryan Kelly, best known for his collaborations with Brian Wood on Local and New York Four, is one of the best artists working right now, with some of the most intricate backgrounds and delightfully realistic character models I’ve ever seen. Though I’d never seen his work in color before, I knew I had to give any new project of his a try. Likewise, I’ve been loving books like The Unwritten and iZombie, so trying out another new title in the current Vertigo renaissance seemed like a good plan.
Yet what really drew me to this story, and what is sure to keep me here for the foreseeable future, is Paul Cornell’s writing. This is, to be honest, a surprise to me. When Cornell first began his tenure on Marvel’s Captain Britain and MI 13, his writing didn’t quite click for me. I liked his plots well enough, and thought his characterization was lovely, and I appreciated his commitment to creating new characters from underrepresented social groups, like Muslim doctor-turned-superhero Faiza Hussain. But something about his actual prose always felt off. He didn’t quite seem to have the hang of the comic book form, and panels felt disjointed and awkward, with odd pacing issues and dialogue that never seemed to flow smoothly from character to character.
But Cornell, like most writers who come to comics from other media, has gradually improved and acclimated to the comic book form. And as he has, his stories have become better and better, his prose rising to match the strengths of his plots and characters. By the time he concluded his recent run on DC’s Stormwatch, I found myself actively lamenting the loss of his talents, and looking forward to whatever his next work would be.
That next work is Saucer Country, an independent story that is part sci-fi alien abduction story, part political drama. Arcadia Alvarado is the Latina governor of New Mexico and a rising political star with a real shot at the presidency — if only the memories of her abduction and her knowledge of the imminent invasion of the earth weren’t standing in her way. The story is clever and original, and I can’t express how awesome it is to see a woman of color as the lead in a story about politics. This has the potential to be the next Ex Machina, and it demonstrates all of Paul Cornell’s commitment to strong storytelling, social justice, and improving his craft. Paired with Ryan Kelly’s fabulous art, I predict nothing but greatness from this story’s future.
I have been thoroughly enjoying X-Men Legacy. Simply enough, it’s the comic with Rachel Grey in it. \o/
And she is wearing this costume, which I am helplessly in love with.
Moreover, I like what the comic it doing. It’s in deep, deep X-Continuity-Land, here. We are in the High Nerdery, the Deeper Nerdery from Before the Dawn, if you will. We have recurring villains from twenty years ago, the resolution or continuation of relationships from the same time period. Characters and their dangling plotlines are raised up from the deep like James Cameron’s sub returning from the Marianas Trench. This is really not a comic for a casual X-reader.
But it’s a comic for me, and my ilk. I have ilk, I know you are out there.
Because, see, the other thing the writers, first Mike Carey and now Christos Gage, are doing in X-Men Legacy is resolving relationships. These people, they have issues. With themselves, with each other. And in and amidst the fighting and punching and the energy blast salvos and the vitally important decisions about new haircuts and costume colors, the Legacy team spends a hella lot of time talking to each other about their feelings.
I love this. It’s like New Avengers, only with X-Men and John Hughes dialog instead of David Mamet.
So what about you? What is a recent title or issue you have enjoyed?