Short reactions to recently read comics.
Johnny Hiro Vol. 1 - I bought all three issues of Fred Chao's justifiably well-praised book as they came out, but I planned on picking up the trade anyway to help support an artist (and book) I admire, and because I wanted to be able to easily grab this off the shelf whenever I wanted. Getting two entire issues' worth of new material, and several pages of new strips and chapter page art besides made the decision even easier. There's nothing I don't enjoy about Johnny Hiro - the everyman protagonist, the most endearing love interest in comics today (or maybe ever), extraordinary happenings treated as utterly mundane, pop cultural and mythological references handled with a subtle grace... this is my perfect comic book. Buy the living hell out of this one, people.
Runaways Vol. 8: Dead End Kids - I waited patiently for a few years for Marvel to finally get around to reprinting Joss Whedon's Runaways arc in the same digest format that they used for the the entire Brian K. Vaughn run, and thankfully I feel as if that patience was rewarded. While I didn't like the story quite as much as I did any of Vaughn's, it was still a very good read, and it went a long way towards assuring me this series could go on without the voice of its creator behind it. And seeing as "kids with powers" is one of Whedon's things, he was a logical - even good - choice to follow up, and seeing the characters out of their element in not only place, but time as well, threw an interesting wrinkle into the mix. There were a few pacing problems, and some conclusions were reached without much on-panel reasoning, but everything (and everyone) looked and sounded right, and it was a lot of fun (and surprisingly poignant at times). I definitely want to stay with this series. Let's keep those digests coming, Marvel!
Captain Britain and MI13 #14 and Annual #1 - Managed to read these in reverse order, but it really didn't matter too much. The story in the annual precedes #14, but it can be read just as well as a supplemental piece, too, I'm happy to report. Anyway, as I expected, the shocking ending to #13 was a swerve, but the expected undoing ended up being quite clever, and the story (and series... *sniff*) is building to an exciting conclusion. The Annual, overall, felt less important, but was at least a good companion piece to the main title, and Cornell's version of all those Claremont X-Men baseball stories - here, the MI13 crew play cricket - was fun, even though like most Americans I lack a working understanding of the game. And can someone explain what "Liberty Hall" means? I didn't understand it here, nor when Brigadier Lethbridge-Stuart said it all those years ago in "The Three Doctors."
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #6 - While I don't always think that this series captures all of the charm of the cartoon, it's still often quite good, and has an appeal all its own in that we get to see characters we'll probably never see on the show itself, like Sugar and Spike a little while back, and Kid Eternity in this issue (though I'd sure love to see the Kid or Captain Marvel or the Doom Patrol or ANYONE instead of yet another Red Tornado episode, for instance). And with the Kid's ability to call upon the aid of heroes of history and fiction, we get bonus characters besides (G.I. Robot, people!). Much like the still-missed-by-me JLU tie-in book, they've got a great opportunity to introduce kids to all manner of cool, obscure characters, and I love that they're taking advantage of it.