Thursday, November 27, 2014

Graphic Novel Mini-reviews #28

The Wicked and the Divine: The Faust Act (Volume 1)

Written by: Kieron Gillen; Illustrated by: Matt Wilson, Jamie McKelvie

Published: 2014

My Thoughts: I've been reading this since the first issue was released a few months ago and now that the first volume has been released I can finally review it! This is a really interesting series, it uses various mythologies to comment on modern celebrity status and popular culture. The basic concept is that the every 90 years the pantheon of 12 gods are reincarnated and given another 2 years on earth before they die again. During that time they inspire hatred and adoration in equal quanities and are credited with being the trendsetters and muses that push humanity forward. This iteration takes place now and most of the gods are on Earth as rockstars. There's the David Bowie-esque gender bent Lucifer, the Kanye West inspired Baal and my personal favourite, the triplet Morrigan who is a little bit Florence Welch, a little Sinead O'Conner and a whole lot awesome. As much as I enjoy the series, I found reading it as each issue came out a little disjointed, especially in the earliest issues. I think this is the kind of narrative that it helps to give your full attention to from start to finish. And while I'm not really sure where the narrative is headed, I am loving the journey. The art, by the way, is flawless. Really vibrant and clean. And the gods are iconic and completely individual, while also beautifully tying into the symbols and iconography of the gods they represent. I have so much wardrobe, make-up and hair envy - those gods sure know how to put together a look.

Hellblazer: The Devil You Know (Volume 2)

Written by:Jamie Delano; Illustrated by:  David Lloyd

Published: 2014 (original comics from the late 1980s)

My Thoughts: While I'm still really enjoying Constantine as a character, this volume was all over the place. In the first volume I really enjoyed how segmented the issues seemed to be but this time it seemed like a fault rather than a positive. The first couple of issues resolved the primary arc from volume 1, but after that they seemed to hop and skip backwards and forwards in time - at one point he mentions being 30 while he was set up as 35 in volume 1 and another story seems to be set in the late 1990s instead of the 1980s - not completely unexpected since this volume is made up from different arcs. My main issue is that there are vague mentions to haunted pasts and demons hunting him, but because of the time shifts it's hard to work out if it's a threat we've met before or just the kind of hazard most magicians would face. Couple that with some non-traditional panel layouts and I just felt off-centre as I read through. The stories themselves were pretty solid outside this confusion though, there's one in particular "Antarctica" which just kind of blew my mind. So while this one didn't hit the same exact heights as the first, I'm still eager to move on with the series to see where it goes.

Suicide Squad: Kicked in the Teeth (Volume 1)

Written by: Adam Glass; illustrated by: Ryan Benjamin

Published; 2012

My Thoughts: Suicide Squad was a pretty creative way to reintegrate a bunch of out of work villains back into the DC world. Some you'll have heard of (Harley Quinn and Deadshot) while others (King Shark and yo-yo) are probably absent from your memory for a reason. But the rag-taggyness of the group is kind of the point. The higher-ups consider them to be fully expendable, worthless criminals who are only useful as cannon fodder. It's not surprising then that the turn over is pretty high. New villains join the squad only to die five panels over, and unless they're literally falling apart they're not going to see a hospital bed any time soon. One of the things that I really enjoyed in this comic is that the missions rely on the villains acting villainous. They're not jobs Superman or Batman could take on because they have morals. They want to save lives and they're always looking for a way to avoid sacrificing a life to achieve a result. These guys are ruthless. They want to save their own skin and they aren't ashamed of it. At the same time some of the team are vigilantes rather than villains (think Black Spider) and have to wrestle with the moral compass while trying to stay alive. It's not always elegantly depicted, but it's interesting and action-packed nonetheless.


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