(I guess we’ll count last week as #01 as it used this same, highly-imaginative format, OK?)
All-Star Superman #10
Page 8: Grant Morrison sums up the entire Lois Lane/Superman relationship in a single page:
Then, on page 12, Grant Morrison shows what Superman means to the people he protects in a single page.
Then, on page 15? Grant Morrison sums up the Superman/Luthor relationship in a single page.
These occur during an issue where the story is told out of sequence in which the dying Superman begins to tackle his final five challenges, write his final will and testament, and basically become a god for the infant universe of Qwewq, among other things. Sometimes, I positively hate Morrison for being so relentlessly brave when it comes to putting his ideas on the page.
Blue Beetle #25
The best DCU comic that I’ve read in the last couple of years that wasn’t Morrison’s “League of Batmen” arc. Rogers manages to pack in the entire supporting cast of the title while hitting every emotional beat. I’m a bit jaded when it comes to these things, but the fact is, I had a big ol’ lump in my throat while reading the last half-dozen pages even as I knew I was being manipulated. While I understand that his obligations force him to leave the title for a while, it’s hard to imagine anyone else making Jaime and his family tick quite as well.
Paul Azaceta’s fill-in art, while not a huge tonal shift from the work being performed by Lark and crew on this title, allows this issue to feel like a bit of a breather between storylines, despite the heavy subject matter covered. Much like Brubaker’s Captain America run, this title rewards the reader who’s willing to wait for revelations and events, but manages to pack enough story into each issue to make it worth picking up in the single format. This time around, we get to catch up a bit with Ben Urich, who’s always been a favorite of mine, and see how his new job is making his relationship with Matt Murdock even more difficult.
Speak of the Devil #5
Gilbert Hernandez, man. When this collection hits, this is going to raise a few eyebrows from the people who purchased the Love and Rockets comics and were expecting something that wasn’t a Cronenberg-style trip into depraved sexuality and hyperviolence.
The Spirit #15
I can’t be bothered to figure out if Paul Smith is a permanent replacement for Mike Ploog or not, as this is the last issue of my subscription at my local shop. Aragonés and Evanier’s cliché-heavy script feels like a third-rate caper comic from three decades ago while Smith, generally a fine artist, hews too closely to the original Eisner mode to make much of an impression on me despite engaging in the occasional bit of outlandish cartooning.
I wonder if this title wouldn’t have been better served with another creator with as strong a style as Cooke taking the reins instead of going back to something that’s more comfortable. I know I’d love to see a Paul Pope take on the character, or Bruce Timm (who did this issue’s cover) handling the inside.
(What I’m avoiding discussing: why did they revive the character and title anyway? In many ways, a title like this is akin to remaking a Kubrick or Kurosawa film, where the auteur’s style and storytelling are thoroughly embedded in the final product, someting that runs distinctly against most serialized fiction’s needs.)