Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paul's Picks! - August 23, 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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

Ah, Wednesday. That day that we comic fans look forward to all week long. Why is that? Why, it's New Comic Book Day of course. It's the day we take a break from our regularly scheduled lives and swing down to the LCS, or perhaps just browse the digital offerings and indulge on our tablets, laptops, or smart phones. No matter what your preferred method of reading, it all means the same thing: new comics. It's one of the joys of life, a chance to step outside of the mundane and escape to a fiction world where anything is possible. Yep. All that jazz.

With a thick stack of books from my local comic shop (Great Escape Comics, check it out if you're in Bowling Green, KY), there were a fair few of contenders for my Pick of the Week. Flash upped the ante this week with the Rogues. Batman: TDK continues to be great (and utterly terrifying). And, of course, the 50th Anniversary of Spider-Man brings us the origin of the Wall Crawler's new sidekick, Alpha. But remember, as in AvX (and Highlander), "there can only be one"...

Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham

Turn the clock back a couple of months and you'll see that Morrison's Batman Inc. nabbed my pick with it's first issue. With its humor and madness, it quickly reminded us here at AC how much we were missing Morrison on the Bat. Three issues in, I'm beginning to get a little bit worried. Has the writing slipped? No. Is the art sub-par? Certainly not. Then what, you ask, has me concerned? The fact is, I just don't know how long Morrison can be expected to keep up this kind of quality. If you're curious as to what I mean, check out Seth's current Long Box series about his entire run on the character, starting with Batman and Son and the Black Glove story lines. It's simple: this has become the Batman run of our generation. Whenever I think of Gotham and the Bat, I will be thinking of Grant Morrison. When I think of Robin, I will think of his timeless run on B&R, leading up to the Return of Bruce Wayne. This is, in my humble opinion, the best take on Bruce and this world that we may ever see.

And just around the bend, at issue 12, Grant's seminal run on the character will come to its close. The very thought of that makes my heart drop. But with Batman Inc. #3, I have to admit, maybe it's time. I mean, how long can we expect him to hit all of the right notes? How many times can he write an issue worthy of Paul's Pick (cuz it's so prestigious, you know) in a row? In a time when Mr. Scott Snyder has been reigning supreme over at DC with Batman proper, how does Morrison still manage to come in with each new issue and steal his thunder?

I just don't know. Maybe he sold his soul to "El Diablo." Maybe he's just a flippin' genius. Either way, issue number three embodies absolutely everything that I love about Batman. And for that matter, it embodies everything that I've been conditioned to love about Damian (Boy Wonder) as well. The story opens up with a club scene featuring Matches Malone. (**Matches Malone was a New Jersey small-time criminal who died in an accident. Batman then took his identity to infiltrate Gotham's seedy underbelly.) I love reading this issue and picturing Matches' Jersey accent. He is seeking for information about Leviathan, who has infiltrated the social, political, and criminal scene in Gotham. This scene somehow manages to be both campy and dark at the same time, and it strikes a perfect balance. Morrison has an unbelievable ability to take characters that are perhaps even lame in theory and make the reader care about them. It's uncanny. And if you know Morrison, then you know that there's always more than meets the eye. The story soon takes some crazy turns, from Damian faking his death to a web of Leviathan's influence. And just when you think you know where the story is going, the man throws us for a loop.

Did I mention how incredible Chris Burnham's art is? This guy has made Morrison's Bat-verse his own. His use of lines in showing action is crazy cool, and his design on Batman somehow bridges the gap between an old school version and a modern, darker take on the hero. This mixture perfectly fits Morrison's mix of the same themes in his storytelling. Yeah, I know it sounds like all I'm doing is gushing, but this book really is that good.

Pick of the week. Comment below, or even better, tweet me! The AC twitter account is linked over on the side bar, @AncillaryTweets. My personal account is @jollygreen05. Also, stay tuned for Episode 27, coming this weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment