Wolverine and Jubilee #1 Review – Stutter Step to a Swan.

Often the emotional impact of a story balances on a single element.  This is especially true of comic book serials.  It’s easy to digest the minutia of a 22 page issue, which is one of the many reasons we love the medium.  We pore over the dialogue, the layouts, the pencils, the inks and the colors, and we come away either engaged and excited or apathethic and unimpressed.  In all of this there is one factor that stands above all others in regards to how I feel after I turn over the final page.

Pacing.

Because everything, the comedy, the pathos, the suspense, relies on matching tempo with a beat that we unconsciously associate with an analogous situation or emotion.  Miss the timing and you blow the joke, you spoil the scare, you rudely sever the impact from between the story’s legs with a pair of rusty garden shears.

Wolverine and Jubilee #1 - Cover

Alright, those are great "look tough" poses, how 'bout you guys do "big arms" next.

Wolverine and Jubilee #1 is a good book.  Olivier Coipel’s cover knocks it out of the park and Phil Noto follows up with art that finds a great balance between authenticity and style.  While the idea of Wolverine fulfilling an avuncular role to Jubilee isn’t exactly fresh it has always been one of the most endearing aspects of the character, and it’s clear that Jubilee needs a mentor more than ever.  Though the nature of her powers hadn’t been fully explored, it’s pretty clear that the world isn’t disposed to treat teenage mutant mall-rat vampires kind.  All of this culminates as the springboard for a coming of age story that’s less Twilight and more Dexter.

But the pacing.

Alternatively halting and frantic and always a bit awkward, from the layout devoted entirely to sexually suggestive weight lifting to the desultory reaction panels in the climax, the pacing is jarring in a manner that seems quite calculated.  My sense is that this awkward pacing aims to communicate Jubilee’s sense of detachment and disorientation.  That’s great, but it has the unfortunate side effect of occasionally knocking me off the narrative flow and leaving me, agape, scrutinizing the artistic composition rather than reading the story.  This isn’t something I would mind were it deft and spare, but the climax, which is otherwise rather ghastly, trips over itself just enough to lose most of its impact.

I’m going to pick up #2 this afternoon.  I didn’t expect to be doing that when I filed this book in the review docket and I think that’s a positive commentary in and of itself, but I’m reserving my recommendation until Imonnen and Noto can find a cogent stride that delivers the type of impact that this team is capable of.

-Leland

VFcast Episode 2 – The One Without A Witty Title AKA Ed Brubaker

The Vestrymen, in their very-not-first-podcast

In which we discuss:

Next week:

Feature Images:

Review Images:

Quick Review Images

Foundational Comics: Cabel

This blog/podcast is still quite new, and I thought it might be reasonable for you to ask me what comics I remember/thought where awesome. It’s a reasonable question, hypothetical reader/listener, so I thought I’d answer you by telling the internet what I thought. So without further ado, some comics that made a big impact on me… Don’t expect too much groundbreaking stuff folks!

The Dark Knight Returns

Thinking back on it I might have lied to you all. It’s possible that I read DKR in High School. Upon being told I could write a paper about ANYTHING the fourth time in two years I’d used up the high-minded, pretentious things a High Schooler likes to write about. I decided to write about comics. It took me about 10 minutes to ask my mom to buy me a copy of this book. It blew my mind. Even in High School I knew that this book had way more going on than most of the comics I’d grown up on. Also it had this radness:

Use the Sonics!

Batman punching superman in the face!

Daredevil 283

This book is awesome for many reasons. I’m very political and seeing political themes treated seriously and with at least a bit of complexity is always appreciated. Seeing people taking politics very seriously inside a great comic was a huge deal when I read this book in the late 80s as my political life was just starting. It’s admittedly true that I had, long before, forced my sisters to listen to NPR in the mornings instead of  pop music. I had some context to understand what was going on, but hearing Cap complain about American Imperialism is foundation of my appreciation for that character; He is one of my favorites.

The Long Halloween

I do not know why this book made such an impact on me. Its well written for sure, and nicely drawn and well plotted, but none of those things add up to a groundbreaking or revelatory book. It might be that I was reading Sandman at the time, and had just read DKR and Year One and I was starting to lean towards believing that mainstream, n continuity comics could not be any good. Perhaps its just that I realized that NEW comics where coming out that where interesting and well read. All I can say is that over 6 years from the time I originally read the book many of the scenes and the mood still stick with me.

That’s all I can think of for now but I reserve the right to do Part two of this post…

Neil Adams A Badass: 5 Reasons

Our first Podcast was fairly brutal towards someone I really think is likely a very rad person, Neil Adams. So, as an attempt to make up for a few slights we may have given away I’ve decided to dedicate this post to why no only I like Neal Adams, but why you should too! Without further ado, the top 5 reason Neil Adams is Rad!

REASON 1: He just looks like a nice guy.

I love the hanging sideways name tag

Doesn’t he just look like your friend’s grandfather that’s just about to force you to go to dinner with his whole family?

His looks of course are the smallest of his BADASSERY!

REASON 2: Creator rights

Adams is widely recognized as one of the loudest advocates of creator rights in the industry. His pioneering industry activist has benefited many many other artists. Before the move in the 70s and 80s towards creator rights comic publishers made tons and tons of money and the creators of the characters fought to survive. It was not just the little guys that had a hard time making due. Adams was the loudest voice for securing the financial future of Superman’s co-creators, the founders of the Superhero genre,  Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

REASON 3: He is redonklusly good at his job.

Let off the fact that he and Dennis O’Neil double handedly saved Batman from being a campy, derivative mess, again. Adam’s Batman is dark and gritty, but he clearly loves his job. So, so many of his shots have him just hiding a smile.

It was the easy choice, yes

Adams manages to draw a Batman that is both human and exceptional, both driven and light hearted, both gritty and kind. He strikes the balance between the Morrison “I am the living embodiment of the underworld” and the 60s “I am a crazy doopey looser” and finds a believable man, driven to better the world with a deep love for that world. He is a pleasure to see in action.

REASON 4: “Relevant” comics

Now at some point I may force Lee to do a Podcast just on my Green Lantern/Green Arrow is an over-hyped piece of garbage and why the Longbow Hunters should, in any just world hold the place of GL/GA in the Geek Consciousness, but until that happens let me say this:

Flawed, silly, overwritten, ham-fisted and meandering,  Green Lantern/Green Arrow pushed the edges of what a comic could be. It starred hero who acted a lot like people. It asked us to take a moment while reading a comic book to think about making the world a slightly better place. It critiqued unearned power. Along the side of those social goals it made a lot of fundamental, and on balance good, changes to the Green Lantern Mythos.

Also its the spiritual predecessor to the Rise of Arsenal, so it has that to answer for…

I loved that arm! It was my favorite arm!

REASON 5: He created and owns Miss Mystic!

Wolverine 5.1 – Why Cabel is Wrong, and Why That’s Okay.

I had a chance to check out Wolverine 5.1, which Cabel mentioned on last week’s cast.  Specifically, Cabel suggested that it was better than Iron Man 500.1, which piqued my interest.  Piqued it hard.  Like a bullet made out of some poor sucker’s molar.

Why?  Mostly because the last time I followed super hero stories with any real commitment was back in the day when Professor X aired his differences with Magneto on Fox Kids Saturday.  I liked Wolverine because he was an outsider, a bad mother and the kind of guy I wanted to be if I couldn’t be Gambit.  So call me whatever you like, I dig the sentiment behind the point one issues that Marvel is releasing even if I’m not always turned on by the execution.

Wolverine's Birthday Party - Sans Wolverine

All of Logan's most important character traits are highlighted!

So Cabel felt that Wolverine 5.1 did a better job of re-introducing its character than Iron Man 500.1 had. Since I’d just finished catching up on a good-sized chunk of Wolverine: Origins I decided to give it a read while we’re still having timely discourse about Marvel: Point One.  It’s a pretty good Wolverine story, imagine Silence of the Lambs rebooted as a pop-up book. The camp factor is pretty high, but we get a good look at what sort of stories Marvel is going to be telling with Logan, and that’s cool.

Cannibals with their captive. Spooky!

I thought grass-fed steaks were supposed to be superior!

There is, in all of this wholesome cannibal goodness, one glaring omission. There just isn’t much here to help “seamlessly introduce new readers into the dynamic Marvel Universe and its popular super heroes.” If Iron Man 500.1 had too much explication and too little story, Wolverine 5.1 suffers from the opposite problem. The book is really more like a No. 1 than a point one, which is, as it turns out, exactly what the Vestrymen want these sorts of things to be.

-Leland

VFcast Episode 1 – Captain Galactic and the Victory Mystics: Origins

The Vestrymen, in their inaugural podcast…

In which we discuss:

  • Ourselves, but only a little, I promise.
  • Our plans for THE FUTURE (of this episode).
  • Tony Stark’s abject doucheyness in Iron Man 500.1
  • The worst A-Team.
  • The worst A-Team’s clown car van.
  • Lighsaber wielding, antenna sprouting, energy ball throwing, reality bending ladies.
  • All that and more in Miss Mystic #1.

Next Week:

  • The BEST PANTS IN COMICS!
  • Sherlock Holmes: Year One!

Cover - Ms. Mystic 1Pollution is ruining everything.Unicycle robot bitch slap.