Three comics. A one shot and two Ed Brubaker books bru-back to back (had to, had to that). Count me off!
Incognito: Bad Influences #5
I don’t talk about art nearly enough on here. This is after all a visual medium and while I don’t know if I’d say mediocre art can make or break a book, it definitely prevents a book from being “great” or “perfect”. So its a good thing that Ed Brubaker’s got Sean Phillips drawing this book because there’s no other guy who could do it justice. Just look at this cover. Very simple image that tells you what this issue’s going to be. I’ve been a sucker for using bright colors to contrast with grey tones sinces Johns/Kollins original run on The Flash and I love it here too. Every single cover Phillips has turned out for Criminal and Incognito has been frame-worthy, that’s no small feat, friends.
This is the last issue of the mini, so naturally Overkill and series main bad guy Simon Slaughter meet for the first time and its a fantastic sequence. Brubaker’s clearly a fan of “in too deep” undercover stories but he manages to keep Slaughter’s backstory as a undercover good guy turned-for-real-nihilist bad guy fresh. He also gets this gem:
I’m explaining my revelation…AND my master plan. Now shut the fuck up and listen.
I was genuinely pretty surprised by the conclusion and the new status quo they throw Zack Overkill into, it’s a great end that on a larger level quite naturally sets up the premise of the inevitable sequel. Jess Nevins closes out the issue with an article on the origins of the super-villain that is…ASTOUNDINGLY researched.
In short: If you aren’t reading Criminal/Incognito and you have any kind of interest in noir/crime fiction, then what the hell are you doing with yourself?
Secret Avengers #11
Brubaker’s penultimate issue of this title. I’m not sure if its the inking/coloring but Conrad’s fill-in work here does a pretty good job of matching Deodato’s usual work. Not quite as a fluid, but it works well enough. Issue itself breezes right on by but Bru drops some real intriguing hints about whats up John Steele and the origins of the Shadow Council. Wondering how much he’ll be able to wrap up next issue before Nick Spencer takes over in #13.
Best of The Week: Jimmy Olsen #1 (One Shot)
As of late, Jimmy Olsen as a character’s been undergoing an unexpected renaissance lately. He’s been a main-stay Superman supporting cast member forever, but it seems like the strange adventurey silver-age aspects of the character have made a big comeback (I’m sure you could somehow trace this to Chris Sims and/or Grant Morrison). I couldn’t be more pleased with this and Nick Spencer writes a wonderfully Jimmy Olsen-y Jimmy Olsen story in this one shot (which collects the first couple of parts of the story that appeared as back ups in Supergirl plus the story’s conclusion).
Spencer gives Olsen a great supporting cast in the span of only a few pages (By the way its nice of DC to finally find a use for Chloe Sullivan), to the point that I’m kind of bummed this wasn’t an ongoing or a atleast a mini. Jimmy’s rival being a yuppie subordinate of Lex Luthor is spot-on.
In terms of tone, the only thing I can think to compare it to is Scott Pilgrim: cartoony comic book stuff acting as background for Jimmy’s romantic entanglements. It’s important to point out that Spencer’s take on Jimmy and co. (and RB Silva’s sharply expressive artwork) give the whole story a clear identity and radiate this exciting vibe Superman as a property’s been missing, I think.
Without spoiling too much, this is a rrrrreal funny, clever comic and I hope this sells well enough to tell DC people want more of this kind of thing.
“Co-Superman”, guys. “Brainiac Fail”.
I think the mere fact that this is…possible the longest new comics review I’ve written thus far tells you enough. Go. Buy. Read.
HIVE OF SCUM. OPEN DE BOOKS AND SMILE.