Weekly Checkup

Saga 10

I’d like to provide a brief review of a few comics off my pull list each Wednesday. Whether this acts as a recommendation, denunciation or start of a conversation, it’s up to you. Unfortunately, I am in Portland for work this Wednesday and will only have access to books which I purchase on Comixology.

Saga #10

Let me make this clear, you will hear me review this comic every month it comes out and, if history is any indicator, you will hear a similar message each time. This comic is beautiful and if you are not reading it, you ought to be.

In each issue of Saga, Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples and the rest of their team show exactly what a monthly ongoing series is capable of: a timeless story, gorgeous art, well rendered characters and so much more. This may all sound effusive, but the book deserves every word. Month after month, it’s the best thing on my pull list.

There were two highlights from this months issue which make clear how well Mr. Vaughan has mastered his craft. The first comes in the form of a splash page. The splash format has commonly been used to cram a lot of detail and action into a single sequence or to setup a poster, neither being necessarily good dramatic reasons. The splash panel in Saga #10 is used to provide enormity to the situation at hand and causes the reader to sit back in awe of what is displayed. It allows the art to speak for itself and Fiona Staples art speaks very well.

The second highlight is the final page, another one without a single word, which speaks volumes. No spoilers, so I’ll leave it at this. I was sitting in an airport restaurant when I read it and shouted at my iPad upon the reveal, which caused a great many people, who do things like not shouting at iPads, to stare. I have no doubt that if they were reading the same comic, they would have joined the shouting crowd post haste.

I have a feeling that Saga #11 is going to be a particularly great issue and encourage you, if you have not read this series, to please pick up the first trade (for a bargain bin $9.99) or borrow the issues to get caught up. You won’t regret it.

Superior Spider-Man #4

Something as controversial as Slott’s new Spider-Man series is bound to draw battle lines amongst fans. I’ve come down firmly on Slott’s side as to whether he made a good decision by killing poor Peter Parker and replacing him with the odious Otto Octavius.

The story has continued in much the same way as Slott’s highly-acclaimed run on Amazing Spider-Man with lots of plot, characters and action carefully balanced into a 22-page package. It was a very fun, engaging super-hero book and Superior Spider-Man continues that tradition.

The most interesting thing about Superior Spider-Man is the way that Slott is using it to address what really makes Spider-Man Spider-Man. Otto makes choices that don’t reflect Peter’s values, but aren’t inherently evil, just different. The outcomes are sometimes better, sometimes worse. It challenges the reader to ask themselves why they are rooting for Peter, instead of Otto. Slott is wise in not making Otto a straw man and I have no doubt that some readers will be left siding with his decision at the end of this issue (one that must have been planned for close to two years, bravo). The topics Slott adresses have been dealt with before, but he is addressing them in a unique dramatic manner.

If you’re a fan of Marvel Comics or Spider-Man, you should be reading this. It’s not going to change the way comics are made, but it’s a very well made comic.

Happy #4

Grant Morrison finished his mini-series combining a disgusting, amoral ex-cop with a happy-go-lucky imaginary blue horse. It wasn’t a must-read, but it was better than readable.

I’m not going to take much away from this series themes, besides child porn still being bad. It’s a fun read though and the juxtaposition of characters is what makes it so. Nick Sax and Happy could not be more different and it has been fun to see them bounce off each other, even if Nick’s unrelenting pessimissm could grow tiresome.

The ending is pretty well-telegraphed from the previous issue, but it’s one that the reader will still enjoy seeing. Concepts like hope don’t get old.

So, do you agree, disagree, want to borrow some of these? Let me know what you think. And if there are any new releases not on this list that you think are worth reading, please reply with your thoughts.


About chasemagnett

Chase is a mild-mannered finance guy by day and a raving comics fan by night. He has been reading comics for more than half of his life (all 23 years of it). After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with degrees in Economics and English, he has continued to research comics while writing articles and reviews online. His favorite superhero is Superman and he'll accept no other answers. Don't ask about his favorite comic unless you're ready to spend a day discussing dozens of different titles.
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