Good Superhero Comics: Week of Jan 10

Some slim pickings this week.

Wonder Man #2 cover
Wonder Man #2

I’m still not sure what I think about Wonder Man #2. The opening, with an immortal Wonder Man pondering the disappearance of everything he’s known, seems better suited for something goth-like from Vertigo of Slave Labor. The character of “Ladykiller” is much too grim for me to enjoy — she’s a Batgirl-like antihero raised to be an assassin, which is why Wonder Man and Hank McCoy (and Carol, whose superhero name I’ve forgotten) are trying to redeem her.

The art, by Andrew Currie and Drew Hennessy, is better left untalked about. It’s too cartoony, in my opinion, for the dark content, and the exaggerated style doesn’t work for me. So why am I talking about it? Because upon reflection, I think Ladykiller is perhaps the most honest portrayal of adolescence I’ve ever seen in superhero comics. She’s all questions and attitude, grumpy and lashing out and resentful.

The adults set up little traps for her. They’re almost Warner Bros-level, suited for Wil E. Coyote (an odd touch of humor, the funnier for being inappropriate to the rest of the story), and they show her how predictable her rebellion is, until she finally outsmarts herself.

Welcome to Tranquility #2 cover
Welcome to Tranquility #2

I can’t help wondering if writer Peter David is satirizing the current fad for dark, depressing, excessively morbid and violent superhero comics. Wonder Man and McCoy are going to redeem this rebellious teenager through checkers and caring, showing her a better, more mature way. Maybe Ladykiller is a stand-in for 52 and Civil War and all the others. Or maybe I’m just wishing hard for someone to make something sensible and meaningful out of that garbage.

Welcome to Tranquility #2 continues investigating last issue’s murder. I don’t have the attention span for comics like this, because I can’t remember enough of the details from last month. Really, all I remember is the dotty old lady pilot sadly wandering off after crashing her plane. Nice character bits, that’s what stick with me.

Tales of the Unexpected #4 cover
Tales of the Unexpected #4

Writer Gail Simone provides more of them this issue, with a throwback introduction of a character that’s later acknowledged in a completely different way. It’s a nice bit of synergy, with each piece doing what they need to and then providing even more taken together. The book’s appeal is character bits, really, with so many cameo characters and a whole town full of oddballs. Artist Neil Googe keeps up with the variety of people and periods and styles admirably.

I don’t read the lead story in Tales of the Unexpected #4, but I try to keep up with the backup because much as I want to ignore anything Brian Azzarello does, I do love Cliff Chiang’s artwork. So I’m reading about Dr. 13 trying to keep from having a nervous breakdown while fighting Nazi gorillas accompanied by a vampire and a Confederate ghost and a flying pirate ship… which I admit, is pretty amusing… and then…

Spoilers…

Infectious Lass shows up! She’s always been one of my favorites, because she so nicely breaks the mold of girls having quiet and polite powers, like telepathy. She has a messy ability with immense potential scope.

I also liked the way that the daughter, once rescued and untied, rips up her gown to make a headband to keep her hair out of her eyes. Chiang’s panel, with her hands pulling back her hair and her blazing eyes, is masterful.


2 Responses to “Good Superhero Comics: Week of Jan 10”

  1. Antione Says:

    Well can’t say too much, you covered it all. How ever I must agree that the cartoony art has got to go on books that are trying to be dark or vicous. It works for Spiderman for some reason. maybe cuase he jokes alot. I would be honored if you wanted to rate my self published book. let me know and I’ll send you one for free. I understand you may blast it to oblivion though, but my work has begun to get better. So issue one can be the guinnee pig so to speak.

  2. Tales of the Unexpected #5 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] reading this comic only for the backup story, starring Dr. Thirteen, the professional skeptic. Last issue, I was loving it just because it features Captain Fear (the accent-spouting ghost pirate), Andrew […]




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