X-Men: Supernovas- I’d written Mike Carey off years ago, to be honest. Never had anything against the man’s writing, but its impact started to fade on me about two-thirds of the way through Lucifer and never really came back, even with the occasionally interesting team-up with somebody like Jae Lee. I gave him another shot, though, after a normally-sane friend of mine (who also convinced me to try Ed Brubaker’s run on Uncanny) was positively foaming at the mouth while giving me the broad strokes events in this trade paperback. While my reaction wasn’t quite as robust, I will say that I was very pleasantly surprised with the contents. Collecting three story arcs in the eleven issues (plus an annual), Supernovas has a lot of what I dig about the X-Men: big set pieces, epic fights, and just enough melodrama. Chris Bachalo’s art works very well for this story, even if he does sex up things a bit much. Between this and the recent Amazing Spider-Man arc he drew, I’m wondering if my tastes have changed in the decade or so since I first met him, as I’ve been more thoroughly indoctrinated in his influences (manga, graffiti, etc.)
Wait, no, those issues of Morrison’s New X-Men are still pretty damn weird to look at.
Anyway, points to Mike Carey for making me care about Rogue. Mystique’s integration into the group was actually compelling and had me hooked, even if I already know how that whole thing is going to end, which takes a deft hand.
X-Men: Blinded By The Light – Is not nearly as entertaining as Supernovas, even if it offers a few payoffs. After the previous installment’s successes, it seems like the blame would likely fall on Humberto Ramos. I would frequently look at pages and wonder what exactly the script was versus what was presented on the page, and the nuance the script called for in a few spots was lost completely by Ramos’s huge-eyed, gape-mouthed Bratz version of the X-Men.
Abandoned Cars – While Tim Lane is obviously influenced by Charles Burns (with a soupÃ§on of Dan Clowes,) his narrative voice is so clear that comparisons would only come up short. There’s nothing truly groundbreaking here, but this is a book I’ve found myself flipping back through and rereading bits from over the last few days. It’s full of craft, particularly in the shorter vignettes that show the nastier end of noir with a straightforward yet chilling voice. The weakest here is still very readable and well-done, and the stronger pieces are among the best I’ve read this year.
The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics – Paul Gravett is one of the best curators that genre comics has and this 25-story collection (along with the previous installments on war and horror books) serves as proof. The episodes collected here come from a wide away of American and European comics and include creators like Paul Grist, Simon and Kirby, Jacques Tardi, Bernie Krigstein, Alan Moore, Alex Toth, oh come on at this point you should have just ordered it.