Markley’s Fevered Brain: Yea and Nay

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

Every week there are over 70 new comics released to comic stores. This includes Marvel, DC, Image, and a slew of other publishers as well as a number of trade collections, OGN, and other types of books. Every week I read far too many of these new comics; enerally around 40 or more books a week. And every week I say I am going to stop reading all of these books. Every week I sit down to read that week’s new books and every week there are few books that blow me away and remind me why I like comics so much and how good they can be. Of course, by the end of the week I am back to hating new comics and wanting to read only older comics or foreign material. Now I do realize this is my own personal neurosis, but something I have noticed over the years is how much I will enjoy a book at the beginning, the first few issues, but soon after I find I no longer like the book. On the other hand, there are books I think, “I am going to hate this,” and I find I am blown away by how good the book is. With this blog I am going to look at a few books I loved with the first issue, but soon dropped as I was quickly disappointed and also the opposite, a book I would not have picked up but someone recommended it to me so I gave it a chance and I loved it. I also want to encourage readers of this blog to let me know if they think if I am being unfair to a title. Did I drop it too quickly? Am I being too judgmental? I would like to know as I have dropped books in the past only to be pushed to give them a second chance, and by gosh, you guys were right. I was not fair to the book. Also, as with anything you might like or not, a lot of this is personal taste.

The Green Lantern #1

The Green Lantern #1


The first title I want to address is The Green Lantern. I have read the first four issues and have gone from loving it, the first issue particularly, to having no desire to keep reading it. It is written by Grant Morrison and beautifully drawn by Liam Sharp. I loved the first issue of this book. It was filled with intergalactic fun and took me back to the classic era of Gil Kane’s run on the book in the 1960s. I was so excited after reading the first issue but by issue four, I am giving up on the book. It has gone from a fun science fiction tale to an insane story about God and the Blackstars and Suneaters. As with most of Morrison’s stories, he obviously has a deep love for DC history, including the more obscure parts, and as he showed on his Batman run, he enjoys picking from the darkest corners of the DCU to build his stories around. But he also tends to get so “cosmic” in his attempts to tell the big story, I feel the immediate single issue gets lost. Such is the case with Green Lantern. I suspect this will be a great read when the entire story is laid out, and without question the art is beautiful, but after loving the first issue, by issue four I had no idea what was going on. I do know a number of people who disagree with me on this though.

Conan the Barbarian #1

Conan the Barbarian #1


Marvel recently relaunched Conan the Barbarian. I am hot a huge barbarian fan per se. I liked the Barry Windsor Smith material from the early ‘70s, and then I found the book to become very repetitive as time went on. I really enjoyed the early Dark Horse Conan’s by Kurt Busiak and Cary Nord (and Tim Truman’s stories) but over time I found the quality declined to the point I gave up on it. When it was announced that Marvel was taking Conan back, I was like, eh. When they announced that Jason Aaron was going to be writing it I was more interested. Now I have read the first three issues of the book I can honestly say it is one of my favorite books. Aaron has taken the character back to the basics and is telling short focused stories that show the character of who Conan is, while filling the pages with action and humor. The art by Mahmud Asrar is perfect for this book as you feel you are in a world filled with tougher than nails warriors and savages. With the first issue Aaron lays out a broad story that is a time spanning tale from Conan as a youth to his end as King Conan. With issue two, he starts to tell standalone tales that slowly tie into the larger arc laid out in issue one while maintain a great story that is told in one sitting. The stories are straight forward and are filled with everything that you would want to read Conan for. Just a perfect book.

Mr. & Mrs. X #1

Mr. & Mrs. X #1


Mr. and Mrs. X came out of the wedding issue of the X-Men where Kitty Pryde and Colossus were going to get married. Spoiler alert, they did not, but Rogue and Gambit stepped up and did get hitched which led to this book. It is about the married life of Rogue and Gambit, which seems to be one non-stop adventure with one of them facing life threating peril, if not both. It is written by Kelly Thompson and again beautifully drawn by Oscar Bazaldua. I really want to like this book as I, a general rule, enjoy Thompson’s writing and the art is beautiful. But I am over six issues in so far and I find it is a chore to read every issue. The first arc was a space adventure, and then the second story was set in their home and I enjoyed it a lot more, but it still is not clicking for me. I have a hard time putting my finger on what is not working for me, and it may just be I am not a big enough fan of the characters. I have never been that big a fan of Gambit, and I just find these stories to drag and bore me. Maybe the bickering married couple just does not work in a superhero world. (I love the premise of bickering married couples; the Thin Man movies, Moonlighting, etc.). Am I missing something?

Man-Eaters #1

Man-Eaters #1


On the other hand we have Image Comics’ Man-Eaters. I love this book. Going in I had no real expectations other than it was a new Image book. I had really enjoyed Chelsea Cain’s run on Mockingbird (which ended far too soon) so I thought I would give her new book a whirl. It is great. It is the story of a young girl being raised by her single father in a world where women, when they hit puberty, turn into killer wildcats. The story here has all of the drama (and humor) that goes into a young girl coming of age and the fear she might turn into one of these killers and the steps society has taken to stop this from happening. In the original solicitations, Image listed this book as a “cross between Cat People and a Handmaid’s Tale” and they were right on. The art by Kate Niemczyk is perfect for this adult tale that has all of the best elements of a number of genres. Overall a great read.

Prodigy #1

Prodigy #1


To wrap up this blog I want to quickly mention a couple of books I have really enjoyed but I find I am in the minority in this. The first is Mark Millar’s Prodigy. I really like this book. It is a fun premise, and as with most of Millar’s work, he takes on an established concept, but adds his own unique twist to make the story enjoyable and feel original. Plus the art by Rafael Albuquerque is beautiful. Also, I really have enjoyed DC’s recently cancelled Damage. Damage is by no means high concept. It is about a young soldier who, for one hour a day, turns into a giant monster. Of course the Army wants to use him and he wants to be left alone, and there is a lot of the Hulk to be found here, but I still found this to be an action packed book with lots of great fight scenes and an easy read. It was written by Robert Venditti and drawn (at least the early issues) by Tony Daniels. These was part of DC’s New Age of Heroes that spun out of Metal, but as is the case most of the time, these launches from events do not work, and most of the New Age of Heroes titles have been cancelled. I for one, will miss Damage, if only for its simple non-stop action.

That is it for this time. There are other books that I am close to giving up on, but I do not want to dwell on the negative. To be fair, as I mentioned in the opening, there are a lot of great books every week, and every week I rediscover my love for comics. A bit like Groundhog Day. What books have you giving up on? Should I continue with The Green Lantern or Mr. and Mrs. X? And I missing something? Please let me know at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or at Facebook at Wayne Markley. All of the opinions expressed here are mine and do not reflect the thoughts of Westfield Comics or their employees. As always…

Thank you.

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