Friday, April 6, 2012

Paul's Picks: April 4th, 2012

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! 

And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week. Hello everyone! I'm writing to you from the mountains of Tennessee, off on a small but much needed vacation from all the hubbub of the college life. But don't worry, I may be off the beaten path, but I still found the time to dive into this weeks books. Action Comics #8, the long awaited reveal of Swamp Thing, and, of course, Avengers vs X-Men #1! The question is, which of this week's books stood out as the definitive winner of the lucrative "Paul's Pick" award? I'll have to admit, it's not one I saw coming... 

Avengers vs X-Men: Infinite #1 by written by Mark Waid and artist Stuart Immonen

 For those of you who may not be keeping up with all of the news in the realm of digital comics, Marvel's new Infinite initiative is a branch that is publishing books that are created for the digital medium only. now I realize that I may be going out an a limb here by choosing an issue that is only available digitally, as many of you may not have the a device that is optimal for reading these books, but trust me when I say that it was the easy winner. Now I will be the first to admit that this was a bit if a weak week for comics, with a lot of all-around blandness from the books I got. Not that they were terrible, but I was just unimpressed by the haul. Even the first issue of AvX wasn't particularly amazing for me. Undoubtedly, the one issue that made the biggest impression on me this week was the first entry in the digital Infinite series by Marvel.

 I'm going to try not to focus too much on the new initiative itself, and just talk about what I loved about this issue, but in order for some of it to make sense I do need to mention a little about this new take on digital comics. The idea was to create comics that are designed in a way that makes the digital experience something unique, to the point that the same experience could not be had any other way. For those of your who may be grabbing your pitchforks and preparing brown bags of dog poo for my front door, let me clarify that I am not saying that digital trumps paper. Innately I'm one of those people who needs to feel that paper in their hands. I love that new book/new comic smell, but I'm not an elitist who can't enjoy something new supplementary to my paper comics. 

Now that I've got that off my chest, let's move on to what I love about this issue. First of all, it's really, really cool. Marvel tried to create an issue that could get people interested in the new medium while simultaneously getting everyone pumped for AvX. And let me tell you, they were absolutely successful on my part. This is a high velocity comic that is driving toward its climax more than any issue I've read in the last year. The Phoenix force is driving Nova toward the earth, so that he can warn Earth's Mightiest Heroes about the impending doom. The pace of this book was perfect, and the unique way of transitioning from "panel" to "panel" moves the story along in a way that seems so simple in concept, and yet feels almost revolutionary in its use. This book is all kinds of action-packed, and it was a great start to a series that is set up to really stand out during AvX.

 Second of all, the art and the script were spot on. That moment where the Phoenix is faded behind Nova while he's flying through space, and then with the next tap he goes out if focus and Phoenix comes front and center, I'm not gonna lie, I got me some chills. Mark Waid is really backing the digital medium, and in this issue he shows us why he belongs. And Stuart Immonen's art really jumps off the screen. There has been more than one occasion where I felt that the digital version of a print comic just fell flat digitally, but this book really was made for the iPad (or other tablets and phones). All the images pop, even outer space looks like never before.

 So it may be an unconventional pick, and I'm not trying to downplay the effectiveness of other good books this week, like AvX #1, but the book that was the most fun for me was this one without a doubt. If you have a tablet or smartphone, go buy it. I mean come on, it's only a buck. Also, look for Episode #10, with a visiting co-host to help Seth through the week without me. Salutations friends and readers, I'll be here next week!

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