Sunday, October 10, 2010

2 Weeks On The Road...

Work took me to Las Vegas and then on to Albuquerque over the last two weeks, and when I spend that much time traveling I inevitably do some reading and get caught up on things I wouldn't otherwise have time to read. I thought I'd share a little bit of what I read with you guys, because in all honesty I read some really, really good stuff!

Scalped: Dead Mothers - Mixed into the great $1 graphic novels I bought while at the con in August was a Vertigo title I had heard literally nothing about. I can't help but wonder if that's a reflection of the circles I run in, or a general apathy by the public to books that center around native reservations. In either case, I freely admit that I've been missing out. On the cover of the Dead Mothers (the third Scalped collection) is a quote from Garth Ennis giving it solid reviews and suggesting that we "Spread the word. Tell your friends. Talk about it. Blog about it."  Well Garth.....mission accomplished.

The story is an exciting mix of corruption, law enforcement and the difficult and disgusting politics of an Indian Reservation, and centers around an alienated man being played on all sides, and trying to decide which side he's really on. It's described as a 'Saga of Native American noir' and I doubt I could give it a more appropriate description. It is a refreshing, if depressing, change from the ordinary diet of books I read, and I'll be actively searching out collections #1 & #2 to add to my catalog of books.

The Death-Defying Devil, Black Terror & Project Superpowers: Chapter Two - Alex Ross works with Jim Krueger and Joe Casey on these Dynamite Entertainment titles, all of which are part of the universe resurrected from the land of the forgotten in recent years by Ross and Krueger. After having enjoyed the stage that was set in Project Superpowers: Chapter One, I jumped into these three books with great anticipation, and I wasn't disappointed. I read them in the order outlined above, and got some interesting glimpses into storylines that went beyond the simple expectations I had.

Going in I thought the series focusing on the individual characters from the core book would be typical character introductions in which we would rehash the histories of these golden age characters with a fresh coat of paint designed to make them edgier and more interesting to the modern reader. I cannot deny that some of that was going on, but more importantly I found the books to be supplemental and full of plot devices that expanded my interest in both the characters and the universe in general. I can't complain either, since I got all three for the grand total of $10.

When I finally got around to reading Chapter Two (Book 1) I had little difficulty following the twists and turns of the story and trying to get my head around this complex, globe-spanning super-hero revolution. The book could still use a little more subtlety in terms of the global political reaction to the White House coming under the control of the Superpowers (I find the reactions very overt and large, showing little of the cunning and subtlety that would have been required to create a shadow cabinet to rule the world.)

All in all, I eagerly anticipate reading more from this universe. I think the thing I like most is not having the burden of history to sort through that I deal with in most DC or Marvel stories. It makes the read entertaining when I don't have to wonder if they did a retcon to make this story possible.

DMZ: Collections 3 - 5 - We've talked about this. If you're not reading DMZ you're making a mistake. Life inside the demilitarized zone of the second American civil war is difficult at the best of times, but for Matt Roth it can be absolute hell. Still, as the only reporter alive inside the ZONE, he has access to stories that can and will change the way the world at large understands what's going on.


Universe X - I finally finished this massive tale, and while I'm not sure I loved it as much as Earth X, it was still a sensationally deep read, with an incredible number of plot twists and story arcs all taking place at the same time. It is a thinking book that requires you not only to be reading, but to be paying attention to every detail as the story unwinds. Mar-Vell returns to the Marvel Universe to launch an unprecedented war on DEATH, and when the dust settles he makes a spectacular announcement that sets the stage for the third book in this opus; Paradise X. When I find a copy of that I'll give you a rundown on how this epic finishes.

If you have time to invest, this is a place you can invest it, and be paid back with interest.

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted - The first story arc written by Joss Whedon upon his assumption of duties on the X-Men, this book opens with news that rocks the mutant world; somebody has found a cure. The implication that the mutant strain is a virus and not an evolutionary transition shatters some mutants, and elates others. But is there a sinister goal behind the news?

The premise is solid, and sticks to the core concepts that all of the best X-Men books are built on. Better still, it brings back one of the most likable X-Men of them all; Colossus. How? Read it to find out. It's been years since I was a big follower of the X-Men and the 72 books they put out every month in an effort to steal every cent from my pocket, but after reading this book I'm sorely tempted to buy the rest of Whedon's run on the series and at least spend a little bit of time with Cyclops and the team.

It's a terrific read, and it doesn't demand to much mental energies.

X-Men good. Everyone else bad. What else do you need to know?

That's it for my GN reading while I traveled. When I get some time tomorrow I'll tell you about some of the monthly issues I read, and maybe we can talk about whether or not Brightest Day is working for DC.

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