Spinner Rack: X-Factor 237, Bad Medicine 1-2, Castle Waiting 16, Back Issue 57

X-Factor #237

X-Factor #237 cover

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Neil Edwards
Inker: Karl Kesel
Marvel, $2.99

Wow, a combination of two of my favorite superhero comic things: the girls’ road trip and the uplifting message.

The wolfgirl Rahne has been indulging in a bout of depression after having, and hating, a baby god, so Banshee and Polaris take her on a road trip. There’s a convertible and gossip and creative use of powers, but what makes this story so surprising is the women’s destination. They wind up meeting of of my favorite weird supporting characters of the Marvel universe: John Maddox, one of Madrox’s duplicates who’s gone off on his own and gotten ordained as a minister. It makes for an odd but refreshing, even faithful, portrayal of religion, something we don’t often see. More importantly, Maddox’s little speech about forgiveness is actually touching and inspiring. I didn’t realize I needed to hear it until after I’d read it.

I like the illustrations of the various expressions of the characters, which cover a gamut of moods. They can be a bit static, but they give me a good idea of what they’re feeling. Since so many emotions are covered in this story, that’s a good thing.

(I appreciate the character listing on the story so far page, but since when do we call Layla Miller “Butterfly”?)

Back Issue #57

Back Issue #57 cover

TwoMorrows, $8.95

Most of this issue is taken up by a lengthy interview with former DC Comics president Jenette Kahn, conducted by Bob Greenberger, and it’s fascinating. I’ve only read about a third of it, and I’ve already learned so much about her career and how she came to DC. There are a lot of “I don’t remember” answers, as you might expect when talking about history from 25-35 years ago or so, but what is discussed is still worthwhile.

Backup article subjects include Dollar Comics, plans for a never-realized DC kids’ line in the early 80s, the short-lived Wonder Woman Foundation, PSA comics, and the birth of Vertigo. Overall, it’s a great issue that presents a lot of examples of some of the creative and outreach activities DC was once known for.

You can read a preview at the publisher’s website.

Bad Medicine #1-2

Bad Medicine #1 cover

Writers: Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Artist: Christopher Mitten
Oni Press, $3.99

The first two issues of this new series wrap up their medical mystery just as it’s getting interesting, which is a good thing. I was concerned that we were going to keep wandering through weird science pathology for much too long, but a simple setup/conclusion is nice to see.

Issue #1, which you might remember from this year’s Free Comic Book Day, introduces Detective Huffman, who winds up investigating a dead body with an invisible head. There’s a mystery involving a retrovirus, telekinesis, and an increasingly wacky gang of scientists.

The series reads so far like a blend of CSI and Law & Order, with more weirdness. It’s very dialogue-driven, but Mitten’s figures are nicely stylized, and he conveys the gritty feel of an urban environment. The art is something worth spending time with.

Like those procedural shows, I’m not sure the stories will be particularly memorable, but I’m curious to know more about the detective and Dr. Horne, who talks to a dead woman. Looks like the next story arc is a three-parter that involves either zombies or cannibalism.

Castle Waiting #16

Castle Waiting #16 cover

by Linda Medley
Fantagraphics, $3.95

After some uncertainty about the future of the series after the release of the second collection in 2010, I was thrilled to see Medley’s down-to-earth fantasy continue. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to pick up with all these characters, too.

This issue continues the celebration of everyday noble Jain and her baby’s move into new quarters. It’s also a callback to the original Castle Waiting story, The Curse of Brambly Hedge, as the original ladies-in-waiting to Sleeping Beauty go overboard with decorating. Patience, Plenty, and Prudence have furnished Jain’s new quarters in outrageous fashion, leading to an amazing two-page spread by Medley. But it’s her character work, the small bits of perfectly realized dialogue, that make this series so rewarding. Who else could spin a whole issue’s tale around a group of friends relaxing after a move? It’s fantastic, with her visually exaggerated characters, and yet so very realistic, in the warm feelings among the cast.

There are also plenty of hints as to what might happen in the remaining two issues of this storyline, with unusual creatures (who charmingly help watch the baby) plotting to save their space and hints as to the child’s heritage. Plus ghosts. It’ll all be beautifully cartooned, of course.

2 Responses to “Spinner Rack: X-Factor 237, Bad Medicine 1-2, Castle Waiting 16, Back Issue 57”

  1. John Fiala Says:

    New Castle Waiting?

    *runs off in joy*

    I like Castle Waiting so much I may buy the new print of Volume 2 with the new material. It’s really not that expensive, and it’s sooooo worth it.

  2. Suzene Says:

    I’ve enjoyed Bad Medicine so far, but I’m kind of a sucker for this writing team anyway, and Mitten does generally excellent work. Not a hard sell. ;)

    Also pleased to see more Castle Waiting, but it’s not a title I tend to double-dip on. Here’s hoping the next collection gets the same lovely treatment as the previous two.




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