Archive for July, 2010


Fourcast! 55: Arsenal vs New Warriors

July 26th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-I just got back from San Diego Comic-con, and boy are my arms tired!
-That’s not just a dumb joke. I did a lot of writing while I was away.
-Suck it, everybody else.
-You Made Me Read This!
-Esther made David read Devin Grayson and Rick Mays’s Arsenal!
-It is cheesy and talks about drugs, but isn’t bad.
-David made Esther read Zeb Wells and Skottie Young’s New Warriors: Reality Check!
-Esther liked it, except for the parts where sad things happen.
Here is the Zeb Wells youtube video David mentions.
-There are several more. Watch them.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-See you, space cowboy!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 3: Day Two

July 26th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday’s installment dealt with Valkyrie and her origins. How she met the Defenders and how Hank Pym does it while wearing his Ant-Man helmet. Much like with Sue Dibny, there’s something kind of wrong about shoehorning in some retcon gross sex stuff on a character who’s still freshly dead. Now we continue with the explanation of how Valkyrie went from one costume to another.

ManiacClown believes Black Panther’s jump is more Kevin Bacon in Footloose, but I pulled rank on him. Plus if I think about it long enough, I’ll get that song stuck in my… Goddamn it.

For the sake of comparison, here’s the edited-in joke from the previous New Ultimate Edit and the not-edited-in joke from this issue of New Ultimates.



More rescue bedlam tomorrow.

Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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This Week in Panels: Week 44

July 25th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

I’m flying solo this week, since David’s off in San Diego, hanging out with his friends with the paper Goku hair. There’s still a shitload of comics featured this time around, mostly featuring Avengers stuff, Deadpool stuff and comics simply ending. The final issue of Marvel Zombies 5 simply confuses me in the sense of, “Seriously? That? That’s how you’re going to end the miniseries? Okay, if that’s how you feel.”

Age of Heroes #3
Fred Van Lente, Jefte Palo and various others

Atlas #3
Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman and Ramon Rosanas

Read the rest of this entry �

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New Ultimate Edit Week 3: Day One

July 25th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Welcome back to another week of New Ultimate Edit, based on Ultimate New Ultimates featuring that All-American American Ultimate Captain America.

Thor is dead and has decided to fix that by making a baby with Hela. Loki and Enchantress take advantage of his absence by attacking New York City, taking over the minds of the female team members and showing Valkyrie how Thor has been unfaithful to her. Personally, if someone literally traded places with me in the afterlife out of love and selflessness, I think I’d be giving them a ton of leeway in how they spend their tortured eternity. Loki and his turncoat army have succeeded in defeating the Ultimates, outside of those guys who nobody cares about to the point that Enchantress didn’t even bother messing with Shanna.

If you need a more detailed refresher, check out the previous two weeks.

And… go.

Thanks to the ever-classy ManiacClown for his assistance. Tomorrow will feature more flashbacking, followed by bedlam in the present.

Day Two!
Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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5 Series: Winter Men

July 24th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-Shortest version: read Sean’s post.

-The short version is that The Winter Men is like Watchmen, only genuinely fun to read. It doesn’t need rigid formalism or a fractal narrative to keep you going. It doesn’t have a cast that is entirely unpleasant. It doesn’t need them. As far as stories about washed up old superheroes goes, Winter Men beats the pants off Watchmen.

-The other version is that Winter Men takes on one of the most tired stories in the world and manages to do something magical. Everyone has read stories about heroes that are past their prime and broken emotionally. Watchmen did it well enough, but at this point, it’s been copied so often that the impact of the original has been diluted. It’s become a status quo, or a regularly used tool, rather than a new and exciting twist. It’s like–okay, we get it. Superheroes are human, humans are terrible, shut up talking to me.

But Winter Men. Brett Lewis, John Paul Leon, sick letters by John Workman, Dave Stewart on colors… this is the real deal. This takes human heroes and puts them through a lot of the same drama other, lesser books did. Kris Kalenov is a drunk, his former friends see right through him, and his superiors see him as a tool, rather than a person. He’s something used to apply pressure, whether he wants to apply it or not.

-The difference with Winter Men and a lot of stories of its type is that it isn’t there to dwell on the misery of its characters. Sad things happen, Kris’s relationship with his wife is crap, his friend Nina is skeptical of everything he says, he spends a lot of time in the bottle, and he cold punches his girlfriend in the face at one point, but that’s just part of it. Instead, Lewis and JPL are knocking out stories of his life. It’s not about trying to be realistic or dragging these people down out of the heavens. They’re already out of the heavens, and this is about what happens after.

-In a sideways kind of way, it puts me in mind of Joe Casey’s Wildcats and Wildcats 3.0. The two series were set after the heroes were stripped of their cause and left aimless. It was about their search for a new quest and the way they dealt with the hand life dealt them. Not about their fall, not about their misery, and not about how much it sucks not to have a war. It was about finding something new. There was a cause here. It’s gone now. What’s next?

Kris Kalenov, at some point, stopped looking for the next. Winter Men is the story of what happens when someone else’s next finds him.

-The art is astounding, but I can’t do any more justice to it than Sean did. Just believe that John Paul Leon is a powerhouse, and anything he draws is worth cover price plus tax at the very least.

-There’s a lot to like in Winter Men, but I think that my favorite is the fourth chapter. If they published an issue of Spider-Man like that chapter, fans would complain to the heavens that “nothing happens!” Those fans are stupid. The fourth chapter is just a day in the life of Kalenov and his old friend Nikki, a gangster.

It’s just this stupid thing, following them around while they argue over Big Maks, talk about their marriage, and run wild over Moscow, but it’s fantastic. There’s enough sublime moments in this one issue to fill a hundred issues of other comics. There’s the time when this nerd pops off at the mouth and demands to know by what authority Nikki and Kris are hassling him. The very next panel is him in the back of a truck nursing a bloody nose. Or when Nikki admires a table in the Russian McDonald’s and then they come back later to steal it.

It’s an issue about nothing, but it’s really about everything. This is their life.

-The big blue guy in Winter Men is way cooler than Manhattan.

-I would read an entire series about Nina, “The Barricade Girl.” I mean, you thought Black Widow was the dopest thing to come out of Moooseandsquirrel spy shenanigans, but Nina is something else. She’s one of the “Olympic-Spetsnaz Killers.” That? Right up my alley. I’d settle for Brett Lewis just kinda leaving messages on my voice mail about her adventures and maybe JPL doing a weird squiggle that looks kinda like a jump kick.

-Again, John Workman’s letters? Killer.

-“I did everything I was supposed to. I followed orders. As a man, I carried joy and suffering evenly… and I only wanted what a man can expect. But if I can not have these regular things… I will instead have murder.”

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5 Series: Children of the Sea

July 23rd, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I talked about the story and relationships of Daisuke Igarashi’s Children of the Sea on Comics Alliance a few weeks back, and I don’t want to go over that again. But, let me tell you what I really like about Children of the Sea, above and beyond the glacial pacing and intricate web of relationships.

I really like the way Igarashi draws fish.

It sounds stupid, but really, you have to take pleasure where you can find it. Everyone in comics has a specialty. Jim Lee has the classic superhero locked down. Eduardo Risso draws beautiful girls. Mike Mignola does creepy better than most. Marcos Martin has ill layouts. Every artist you like probably does at least one thing very well. Igarashi draws oceanlife.

Part of building a believable world is actually creating a believable world. You build comic books from the ground up. If you’re doing the comic book version of Fievel Goes West, you better be able to draw mice. Animal Farm? Learn how to draw pigs. Once you get that down, you can go in and add flourish, whether it’s fantastic background work or high fashion. The focus of your work has to be solid to begin with, or else your work won’t be believable.

Creating a setting you can believe in requires putting in work and getting the basics right. Igarashi is telling a story about the evolution, or destruction, of the ocean. A large portion of it takes place underwater, so if he’s drawing fish that look like a third grader did them in the middle of a sneeze… you’re not going to buy the story. So, by rendering the fish with an appropriate level of detail, you make it easier for someone to get into the story.

This isn’t particularly deep or a revelation at all, is it? It is something that I never really realized until I really put some thought into why I was such a fan of Children of the Sea. It’s not deep or particularly twisty in story. You don’t need a flowchart to figure out what’s going on. It’s not even the kind of action-packed raw violence I like these days. But the craft on display, the way that Igarashi’s attention to detail and clear love of his subject, is what keeps me in.

I’m not saying I don’t like the story. Not even close, honestly. It’s actually a pretty good read and does a fine job of keeping me interested on its own. But the fact that the art is killer does a fantastic job of drawing me into the work. Igarashi has the basics down pat, and it’s obvious. His people aren’t as detailed as the fish, and they generally appear a little more wispy and ethereal than is the norm.

I’m away from my scanner and on my netbook, so I can’t flood this post with images like I wanted to. The official SIGIKKI site has plenty of samples, so click through, or just trust me.

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5 Series: Hellblazer

July 22nd, 2010 Posted by david brothers

My favorite Hellblazer run is the one Brian Azzarello had a few years back. In it, John Constantine was essentially cast as a trickster demon, stepping into and out of trouble with ease, and never really coming into danger. He ruined lives, found vengeance, and generally was just an insufferably smug magician douchebag. It was an extremely entertaining arc, and sort of set the stage for how I view Constantine. He’s good at what he does, with impeccable luck even when entirely removed from his comfort zone.

Peter Milligan’s ongoing run, on the other hand, is about a man that believes a little bit too much of his own hype. He has a reputation, and one that he’s earned several dozen times over, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Side characters, people who step into and out of the story, hate him. His best friend Chaz’s wife wonders aloud if he didn’t curse their daughter and cured her out of his own guilt. A noted local kingpin has heard of Constantine and isn’t even remotely impressed. He’s openly hostile and at one point is ready to murder him with no fear of repercussions.

Tucker was the one who put the idea of Milligan’s run being about Constantine failing in my head, and it’s one that’s proved to be true. He’s been forced to face his failures, whether recent or vintage, over and over. He did a cheap little spell to make some quick cash and it came back to haunt him decades later. His failure to rescue someone he loves, or thinks he loves, drives the more recent portion of the run. Milligan is putting Constantine up against something he can’t just magic away. You can’t fight time, and when you get old and your bones start creaking, you can’t just keep up with the big dogs like you used to.

Milligan is writing as much about Constantine’s rep as he is about Constantine himself, which makes for very interesting storytelling. Constantine is old and everyone knows it. He knows it, too, but he refuses to accept it. Like so many old men, he’s trying to hold onto past glories, but the old cliche proves true. The tighter he squeezes, the more slips through his grasp. He can’t bring anyone back from the dead, his magic is poison, and he’s made a lifetime’s worth of bad decisions. You don’t get to walk through a rainstorm and come out dry. Constantine suddenly has consequences to deal with.

Azzarello’s run feels like it’s haunting Milligan’s. I can’t not think of it when reading Milligan’s run, even though there’s not a direct connection between the two. I don’t even think Milligan’s directly referenced Azzarello’s run, but the difference between the two is striking. Azzarello’s Constantine, drawn by Marcelo Frusin mainly, was young and unsettling. Azzarello’s Constantine is cruel. His smile was something to be afraid of, and if he was happy, you were probably a neo-Nazi getting your face bashed in by a golem.

In contrast, Milligan’s just looks tired. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini draws him with thin, dishonest eyes and a prominent scar over his eyes. His permanent stubble make him look haggard even when his clothes are clean. Simon Bisley’s take is even more ragged. He looks like a beat up old boxer, with a broad forehead and ugly mug. He looks like about fifty miles of bad road, and so far past his prime that he’s completely off-putting to anyone with sense.

I like that Hellblazer has this call and response thing going on, even if it’s unconscious or unspoken. There’s a lot to like about Milligan’s run in and of itself. He’s got a great grasp on Constantine and he’s telling new and interesting stories with an old characters. He’s introduced new characters into the series, ones that I honestly would like to know more about outside of Constantine’s sphere of influence, and the stories have been great. The art is good, with Camuncoli, Landini, and Bisley doing great work. It’s a genuinely good comic, is what I’m saying, and this contrast between a run I enjoyed and a run I’m currently enjoying is like icing on the cake. A little bit extra on top of something good.

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The Cipher 07/20/10

July 21st, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, Bryan Lee O’Malley. Here’s a preview for the first volume.

Then I realized the plan–I’m trapped in a deadly video game, with just one man! So, I don’t only watch my back, I watch my front!

The big dog is finally here. I haven’t read the fifth volume yet, but I picked up 5 and 6 to read on the plane to San Diego for Comic-con. Why not, right? I mostly enjoyed the first four, might as well go back to them, and what better time than now? We’ve got the last volume, the video game (which is pretty fun in an old school beat-em-up sort of way), and the movie. It all looks pretty good, and I’m honestly pretty happy for Bryan Lee O’Malley. Like, he’s made it, hasn’t he? Super popular series, a comic movie that looks good (with Chris Evans in his, what, fifteen comic book role?), and the entire internet is talking about him today. That’s worthy of respect.

Whatever happened to Sharknife? I feel like there was a time when Coreyyy Lewis and Bryan Lee O’Malley just ran comics and then Lewis faded in the public eye. I know he has a new book coming out of Image I should check out, Seedless, but Sharknife was like lightning out of heaven to me.

Anyway, like I said, I’m in San Diego for the week doing what I do best. Updates will continue as usual, of course, but I won’t be able to pick up my comics until… well probably next week sometime. Ouch. I’ve got Scott Pilgrims for the plane, Shade the Changing Man: Edge of Vision, and my holy grail comic for the week, the one stands over and above all others, Vagabond 8. As far as comics go… this week is pretty dope.

David vs The World: Amazing Spider-Man 638, Atlas 3, Hellblazer 269, Thunderbolts 146
Esther Gets It Together: Tiny Titans 30, Superman/Batman 74. Maybe: Supergirl 54, Power Girl 14
Gavin’s Finest Hour: Azrael 10, Welcome To Tranquility One Foot In The Grave 1, Age Of Heroes 3, Atlas 3, Avengers 3, Dark Wolverine 88, Deadpool Merc With A Mouth 13, Deadpool 25, Heroic Age Prince Of Power 3, Lady Deadpool 1, Marvel Zombies 5 5, Marvelous Land Of Oz 8, New Avengers 2, Thunderbolts 146, Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 5, Darkstalkers The Night Warriors 3, Darkwing Duck The Duck Knight Returns 2, Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet 6

Mary Choi gave a killer interview about Lady Deadpool on Comics Alliance. My man Jamaal is writing over at FBB again, too. Go read that so we can collectively make sure he keeps writing.

What’re you reading this week? Looking forward to anything out of San Diego?

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5 Series: Battlefields

July 21st, 2010 Posted by david brothers

The best war stories are ones that focus on the people involved in the war, even if it is to the exclusion of any attention paid to the war itself. I think that was my problem with Joe Kubert’s Dong Xoai–it had characters, but they were practically blank slates. Dong Xoai was tilted too far onto the side of simply telling the story as it happened and it lacked heart. Garth Ennis has made the specific kind of war stories I like his stock in trade, from his work at Vertigo with War Stories to his ongoing series of miniseries Battlefields at Dynamite.

Battlefields has a very simple, but fresh, gimmick. Each arc is three issues long and focuses on one front and one group of characters, with one person in that group usually serving as a focal point. This format, sixty-six pages and out, is an effective one, allowing Ennis to drop you into a life and pull you out of it over the course of three issues. You get just enough to be interested, and then the story’s over and you’re on to the next one. The pace keeps you interested, kind of like how a huge part of Amazing Spider-Man appeal right now is sheer momentum.

The variety isn’t what drew me to Battlefields (that was just the thought of Ennis doing more war stories), but it was kept me there. In the first series, you hip-hopped from Russia to Asia to Europe. The stories dealt with subjects like how to deal with war, healing from mental wounds, how people become hardened in the face of violence, or just how sometimes people were completely outclassed but still managed to make do. It shed light on actual stories by being based at least slightly on true stories, in the case of Night Witches, or simply took its cues from history and spun off into something else entirely.

The series varies in tone as well as content, of course. There’s a kind of black humor floating over Tankies, with a Corporal who talks funny and a crew who aren’t afraid to talk about it behind his back. You’ll chuckle at least a little bit at what they get up to. Night Witches is oppressive, taking place on one of the hardest fronts of the war and throwing innocents directly at the German army. There are jokes in there, but they’re the jokes of the doomed and damned. Nothing is pretty. Dear Billy is a melancholy love story. The war and action take a backseat to a woman and the man she’s fallen in love with. Happy Valley feels like a goofy getting-to-know you tale, where the curmudgeonly old vets have to welcome an eager and talented newcomer into the fold. The stories are always serious and treated with respect, of course, but there’s variety in how they’re told.

By and large, Battlefields is simple to a fault. The characters are invariably human, flawed in believable ways, struck by fear at inopportune times, and thrown into the thresher of World War II. No one comes out of the series the same way they entered it, and sometimes that means that people have to die. You aren’t reading about heroes or supermen. Not even close. These are, at best, decent people dealt a bad hand. There’s no flourish, no moment when someone jumps into the fray with two guns ablaze. There really aren’t even any of those motivational speeches that always seem to pop up in WWII tales.

The art is varied, too. Russ Braun, Peter Snejbjerg, PJ Holden, and Carlos Ezquerra don’t look all that much alike as far as style goes, but they’re all talented artists. Braun and Ezquerra bring an ugly grit to the proceedings, rendering tanks and the Russian front as being appropriately sandpapery. Snejbjerg is great at drawing human beings, so a conversation-heavy volume like Dear Billy is the perfect book for him. Holden gets to draw dogfights, something notoriously tough to do in comics, but performs well.

The crew of artists is a boon to Battlefields. This is, in essence, anthology comic, a series of short stories being published under one banner. Each story, in addition to being set in diverse locales, has a unique visual style. The art complements the story, so that sad stories have sad art and brutal ones look the part. It makes sense, Each story is set apart from its brethren visually and tonally.

So, boiled down–simple stories about normal people during a war delivered in satisfying chunks.

Good comics.

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5 Series: BPRD

July 20th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

When someone dies in cape comics, the first reaction tends to be some flavor of, “Oh, they’ll be back. No one stays dead in comics.” Which, okay, that’s fair. Marvel and DC have cultivated a revolving door sort of status quo for whatever reason, and you’re more likely to see someone back than not if they were ever worth anything.

BPRD, though. Maybe it’s due to being a product of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, maybe Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis are more willing to break the toys they’re playing with, but when someone dies in BPRD, whether a main cast member or a random cannon fodder schmuck, it counts. There’s no hand-waving, no cheap tricks to squeeze a few more dollars out of some IP, none of that. There’s just a villain saying “He won’t,” and then someone you’ve grown to love, another in a long line of lost souls, is gone forever.

Having genuine stakes is part of what makes BPRD so entertaining. Batman will never die, Superman will never die, and Spider-Man will never die. Liz and Abe and Johann can and will bite it, or be moved so far out of their comfort zone that we become uncomfortable and unsure. You don’t know what can happen, because people can and will be taken off the board as needed.

BPRD is theoretically Hellboy‘s little sister, but has a very different approach to storytelling. Hellboy always struck me as being as much about the creatures that Hellboy gets into it with, and the mythologies he walks through, as about Hellboy himself. BPRD is about Kate, Liz, Abe, Roger, Johann, and the way that the pressures of their job, which is leading headlong towards some kind of apocalypse, bends them in funny ways.

The cast is really what makes BPRD work. The plots are great, and Guy Davis’s art is fantastic, but I think that the way the characters bounce off each other is my favorite part of the book. When the series kicks off, they’re stuck in a post-Hellboy rut. He left the team fairly recently, and he was in a very real way the sun to their solar system. Without him, they have no center, which means that certain people find their roles have shifted in strange ways after the change. It’s positively melancholy, like they’d just found a hole where there shouldn’t be one.

Over the course of ten or so volumes, you get used to these characters. You see Abe trying to fill Hellboy’s shoes and coming up short. You see Kate trying to keep the BPRD under control and on the ball. Roger is desperate for a friend and imprints on people. Liz is haunted by visions of a toxic future and finding herself increasingly divorced from her friends. The normal humans are overwhelmed and outclassed, but there to do their job.

A lot of the characterization is left for you to figure out. No one explicitly says that Roger is emulating his role models, but it’s clear if you pay a little attention. When Liz goes all wan and sullen, the way Guy Davis shows her cutting her eyes and poking out her lip is crucial. Abe butting up against authority is another clue. No one stands up and says, “I am feeling sad.” The BPRD talk like people, which means that a lot goes unsaid, people say a lot of things they regret, and they don’t always tell the truth. The little bit of digging required to really get these characters makes you even more invested in them. You realize things and it hits you like a bolt out of the blue. “Of course, that’s why this happened and why he said this.”

The story these characters are pulled through peels back like an onion, and you’re right there along with the BPRD. It’s like Lost, if Lost was better written, had dope art, and wasn’t massively frustrating. Only one person has the answers, and he’s more interested in being cryptic or obtuse than actually answering any straight questions. When he does begin answering questions, it’s too late. Answers are pointless at that stage. The apocalypse is here, and no one gets to stop it.

It begins with frogs. The frogs soon turn to monsters, and they run rampant over the countryside, quietly building an army. Another man, a corrupt businessman, decides to get his supervillain on, with unexpectedly catastrophic results. Something that once seemed like a minor infestation was discovered to be more rotten and vastly more widespread than expected. And through it all, the rock of the BPRD, Hellboy, was completely missing in action.

Imagine a snowball sitting at the top of a hill. A push in any direction and the snowball will roll down the hill, gathering mass on the way, until it becomes a problem. When we come in on BPRD, that snowball is already halfway down the hill. The problem is that the BPRD don’t have the perspective needed to see the full shape of the terror that’s coming, and missing that perspective leaves them ill-equipped. They’re playing catch-up, and while they do notch several wins, they aren’t fighting against something that you can just win against every once and a while.

The structure of the series, the sheer size of what Mignola and Davis and Arcudi are throwing at the BPRD, is only obvious once you’ve gotten hooked. BPRD is a juggernaut. Once you get it, once you see how it works, you can’t stop any more than the BPRD can stop what they’re fighting against. You start looking for angles, outs, and ways for the team to come out on top. The snowball is coming down the hill and your head is turning too slowly to actually see it in time. You start to put this together and that together and you realize that, no, things don’t look very good for our crew. But it’s an adventure comic, right? These things always work out well!

Except, BPRD is off in its own little world. It isn’t Superman or Spider-Man. When people die, they stay dead. And really, just when I was getting comfortable, a villain said two words that changed everything and reminded me of just what I was reading. This is the real deal.

That’s something else that works in BPRD‘s favor. Nothing is created or consumed in a vacuum. BPRD is part of a 20-year old franchise that is in and of itself part of a larger tapestry of stories. You cannot separate BPRD from that tapestry, unless you’ve somehow managed to avoid serial superhero comics or adventure fiction entirely. Stories like BPRD, which you could honestly transform into a mainstream cape comic with a few minor changes, have certain expectations. Deaths don’t stick, enemies return, and if someone changes, they’ll be back to normal soon. BPRD bumps up against these expectations repeatedly and to great effect. You think that Liz or Kate or Abe or Roger will go back to how they were in book 1, but no, they won’t. The only thing they’re going to do is grow into whatever shape they need to fill in the next volume.

The key word for BPRD is freedom. Mignola, Arcudi, and Davis, among others, have the freedom to tell whatever kind of stories they want to tell, free of whatever expectations you may have coming in. The BPRD itself is free to act and live and learn and grow in ways that most major comics characters cannot, for better or for worse. Characters enter and exit the book as they need to and in a variety of ways. The cast isn’t static, and people you thought were lifers really aren’t. BPRD is free to push and outgrow its boundaries and become something completely unlike what it began life as.

The format of BPRD clicks, too. The series of miniseries is what I think all ongoing mainstream comics should adopt. Keep Amazing Spider-Man and whatever other series are creeping up on a thousand issues. That’s fine. Giving a character a series of miniseries, each able to stand on its own, but when taken together build up to a monster of a story… that’s the good stuff. BPRD is one of my favorite ongoing series, and the format is a large part of that. There is a clear reading order, clear stakes in every volume, and a slow upping of the ante that leaves you with something like chills by the time you get to the latter volumes.

Eleven volumes is a tough row to hoe, but not when the writing, art, and overall package are this good. This is grown folks’ comics, with the level of quality and cohesiveness that all comics should shoot for. You get invested, you pull the plot apart while the characters do, and in the end, your eyes bug out and your mouth gapes a little and you’re left fiending for the next volume.

(My only suggestion, the only thing that could make BPRD a better comic, is to dedicate, say, four issues to the origin and day-to-day life of the mad scientist up there. He shows up a mere handful of times, but he’s got my complete attention every single time. He’s great.)

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