Runaways 29. I barely remember what happened since the last issue of this, which came out a long time ago I think. I am not optimistic about my abilities to remember this one when the next (and final) one comes out. For example, I do not remember if the kid and the miniature man are new to this issue, and brought in only to die, which is quite lame, but not as lame as the fact that I cannot remember. The art is dowdy and dull – check out panels two and three of page two for example: no backgrounds, exact same pose and expression. I was pleased that Whedon introduced a sympathetic character who is unable to transcend her culture and embrace interracial lesbianism; it at least avoids an easy out there. There is a dull romance plot, and an attempt to evolve Nico’s power, but none of this is keeping my attention. To cap the whole dumb thing Whedon, who usually is a MASTER of the final moment in an episode, totally fails to come up with something more interesting than a bomb. With time travelling mutant kids you have to end with something more imaginative than 24 would, especially if you are going to make everyone wait this long.
The Order 8. Knowing the Order is no more makes this a bitter-sweet read. Every issue I like this book more and it only has two more issues to go. In, perhaps, an effort to wrap the whole thing up quickly – or maybe it was always going to be like this – we get a big reveal about the man from SHADOW and the main threat. And hey, Whedon, THIS is how you do and ending beat.
The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death. This is all good fun, even though I feel like I have seen these “put the hero through various periods of comic book history” thing. Fraction and Co seem to be working out a new structure for monthly books. In an age where slow auteurs produce amazing work (All Star Superman), and bog-standard monthlies support the industry (Ultimate Spiderman) Fraction, possibly unconsciously, is building a third way: Have your auteur strand (the Aja pages) but keep the pace up through sidebars (fill in artists who handle subplots in the main story) and specials like the annual and this thing – specials that genuinely augment the main story. That way you have prestige work without the gaps. I am not saying this is exactly what is going on -- Chaykin and Fraction on a book may be as prestige as Faction and Aja on a book – I am just saying that this book implicitly suggests something to the industry. I would like to see more people work with it.
Angel 4. This book remains basically acceptable, but I feel like Joss putting out a series of e mail letting us know periodically where he was going to go next would suffice as well.
Umbrella Academy 6. This book continues to look great. The fight, especially the reds, are great; the little “BOOM” is a particular highlight. You rarely see that kind of understatement in a punch-em-up. But the end is little more than a blood-bath, a random solution, and an epilogue. I would get more of this book if Ba is on the art. If not, not so much.
In Comics News Newsarama has an interview with Grant Morrison about his Batman run. Basically he sees himself as trying to imagine all of Batman's history as taking place in fifteen years of Batman's life. I am still thinking through exactly what I think of that. I will get back to you.