The 6/18 Comics Stack: Dead Sidekicks and Young Immortals

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Wherein the author makes a case for Damian Wayne being a character whose speedy recovery (from death) we should all wish for.

I'll skip out on Original Sin this week to talk about a slew of #1's including a new series from Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine). Actually, this week is kind of crazy with new series getting their start - more than I really even have room to talk about here (seriously, check out Witchfinder #1 from Dark Horse - it's fun and has demonic eels).

Elektra does her thing, Mark Millar reminds me that some art will always be problematic, and whoo, someone better stop me from impulse buying the latest Artist's Edition from IDW.



Eye of Newt #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Dark Horse is billing this painted comic from writer-artist Michael Hague as something for fans of The Hobbit, but The Once and Future King seems like a better reference point for this story of a young apprentice getting magic lessons from an elder wizard.

Frankly, I was only able to give it a couple of pages of my time before bailing, but Hague has a compelling art style, even if the coloring feels a little lifeless for the material. I think he was going for "painterly" but "grim" is the result.

Still - magic and dragons and nonsense might be worth picking up for the younger readers.

Download Eye of Newt #1 from Dark Horse Digital.

Batman and Ra's al Ghul #23 (DC Comics)

Finding the corpses of presumed-dead allies seems to be a running pastime for the Bat-family. Griping aside, if this gets Damian Wayne back, I'm all for it.

Shut up, you - Damian has been one of the most invigorating characters in the Bat-titles since his introduction under Grant Morrison. That little shit-kicker has added some interesting moral complexity to Bruce's life: how would he redeem his seemingly hell-spawned li'l vigilante? And he was funny!

Here's hoping DC has figured out a way to work the character back into the book (without a personality reset prior to his selfless sacrifice in Batman, Inc.), because frankly, the publishers need some kids being awesome in its books.

Preorder Batman and Ra's al Ghul #32 from comiXology.

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Elektra #3 (Marvel Comics)

I discovered Elektra in kind of a backwards fashion, reading a couple of modern-ish stories about her before going back and reading Frank Miller's Daredevil run and later, Elektra: Assassin. In fact, I'm pretty sure my first exposure to her was in the pages of Bendis' Dardevil, where she's almost completely stripped of emotion or context, and kind of tucked into "crazy ex" territory (in a way that weirdly works in spite of that description).

She's kind of like a hypersexual Punisher in the modern age: stories are way more interesting when they're told around her and not about her. There's not a whole lot of room to grow when your protagonist is an emotionless killing machine. Conceptually, these characters are growth-resistant.

Still, Marvel is giving it the old college try, plugging her into the proverbial "mission that went bad" in this B-grade story of the assassin potentially having to protect the person she was hired to kill.

Get Elektra #3 from comiXology.

MPH #2 (Image Comics)

Just to be clear, we're not all tired of Mark Millar's "what if superheroes were real and also assholes" schtick, right? No? Oh well.

Here's another one, this time featuring super pills that give super jerks super speed. This time out, it's con Roscoe, a "good guy dealt a tough hand" according to the solicitation, which means yet another white dude who'll inevitably come up against Millar's charming black gangbanger stereotypes and enact a bunch of gross white power fantasies.

Seriously, one of the gang members is named Baseball and to hell with this, I'm convinced Millar has never actually met nor talked to a real-life black person.

Get MPH #1 from comiXology.

Charles Schulz Peanuts Artist Edition HC (IDW Publishing)

Just take it for granted that when IDW releases one of these oversized artist editions, I'm going to tell you about it (and recommend that you pick it up).

This time out, the publisher is releasing some of Charles Schulz iconic comics in the format. Although I doubt this will replace the wonderful collections from Fantagraphics, these offer Peanuts fans a chance to see the strip the way Schulz would have seen them on his drawing board.

Well, almost: IDW notes that because the original images were so huge, they've had to reduce them for this collection. But I have to imagine that with this particular artist's stark line work, it's not as though we'll be missing out on a ton of detail.

The Wicked + The Divine #1 (Image Comics)

Hey Millar, this is how you do high concept.

The Phonogram team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie imagine what would happen if the ancient gods came back as hot young pop stars and it's sure to be, well, an actual book with characters, stakes, and something recognizably human, Mark Millar.

Okay, I need to tuck that shit back, because it's not a good look. If you like his stuff, fine, but I'm gonna be over here reading about sexy young deities having a good time.

Get The Wicked + The Divine from comiXology.

Those are my picks for the week. What's on your list?

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