COMICS: John’s Wednesday Winners for 5/13/09

This week boasts a slam dunk from legendary comics duo Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, the final issues of Super Human Resources and The Umbrella Academy, and a touch of class from Jane Austen by way of Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus.  Let’s begin!

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century - 1910 (a.k.a. vol. 3 #1)

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century - 1910 (a.k.a. vol. 3 #1)

I must confess that even though I’ve been poring over it for two days now, I’ve barely scratched the surface of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s latest entry in the fantastic League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series.  It’s jam-packed with all kinds of allusions, references and in-jokes, mostly to things I’ve only heard of but never read/seen/heard for myself.  It is arguably the best fan fiction I’ve ever read, and certainly the most spectacularly illustrated.  Kevin O’Neill’s work shines even brighter now that he is turned loose from the shackles of DC/WildStorm/ABC, and while there is slightly more objectionable material (including an off-panel rape scene and several murder scenes) the real benefit is that the tone and general style seem to be less commercially oriented.  If you’re going to pick this issue up (and I highly recommend that you do,) be sure to familiarize yourself with the other League volumes (including the companion/graphic novel, The Black Dossier) and The Threepenny Opera, as it is the basis for most of the story this time around.  Moore even reworks several of the most popular songs into the scenes, sung by Mack the Knife, Suki and Pirate Jenny.

Pride and Prejudice #2 (of 5)

Pride and Prejudice #2 (of 5)

The parade of characters from classical Literature continues with Marvel’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (#2), which continues to read much quicker and easier than its source material.  Some may argue that the subtlety and nuance of Austen’s prose are decidedly lacking in this medium, but I think it accomplishes its task just as well as any other graphic adaptation of classic literature, no better and no worse.  I still wish that this had been out when the orignal was on my reading list for Readings in the Humanities a few years ago.

Super Human Resources #4

Super Human Resources #4

The arrival of Ken Marcus and Justin Bleep’s Super Human Resources #4 is a time for both sadness and joy: Joy because this issue stands out head and shoulders above its already-exceptional predecessors, and sadness because it marks the end of this iteration of the series.  Remember how in the reviews of each previous issue of the series, I said that the over-arching plot was far less interesting than the Dilbert-esque jokes?  This issue was like stepping into a parallel, opposite universe.  The plot finally kicked into gear and kept me engaged from cover to cover (it’s up to Tim and the now-unemployed superheroes to uncover Gordon’s evil plot and save SCI from bankruptcy,) while most of the office jokes fell flat.  If only Ken Marcus could strike some sort of balance, he would have one of the best slice-of-life superhero stories in the history of comics!  As it stands, the collection is coming in a few months, and well worth the time of anyone who enjoys superhero or office humor, but missed the single issues.  Also, fans of this series may enjoy a webcomic strip by Zack Finfrock and Atomic Robo‘s Brian Clevinger called Warbot in Accounting.

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #6

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #6

SHR wasn’t the only series to end this week.  The all-star team of Gabriel Ba, Dave Stewart, Nate Piekos and Gerard Way released their final chapter of The Umbrella Academy: Dallas (#6), concluding the series’s second arc with a very important and memorable bang.  Unfortunately, the rest of the story falls flat after the big climax, and the ending is even more unsatisfying than that of the previous volume.  It just kind of … stops.  Thankfully, Gabriel Ba and Dave Stewart continue to make this one of the best-looking comics on shelves this year, and they can make even the most lackluster scenes a joy to view.  I’m not sure how this will read when it’s all collected, but on the whole I would say that Dallas is weaker than its predecessor (and not just because it lacked James Jean’s beautiful covers.)


One Response

  1. Thanks so much for the great reviews and coverage John.

    Our trade will be in next month’s Previews for under 13 bucks! So tell your retailer to order up. Thanks folks,

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