Here’s a bit of an experiment– a Twitter essay about the first issue of DKIII: The Master Race. [<a href=”//storify.com/scottced/the-dark-knight-reviewed-dkiii-1″ target=”_blank”>View the story “The Dark Knight Reviewed- DKIII #1” on Storify</a>]
…instead of exploring the dark, mean streets of Gotham City in Zero Year, Snyder and Capullo’s opening move is to show us a devastated, overgrown Gotham, one where the subway tunnels are flooded and where a young kid spear fishes for brightly colored fish on the city streets. Richmond Lewis’s rusty, urban colors have given way to FCO Plascencia’s vivid, lively natural colors. A story of the Batman who prowled by night is replaced by a Batman who exists and fights in daylight. Snyder and Capullo threw off the specter of the past and tried to create a Batman for 2014 in Zero Year.
In this third chapter, Gaiman and artist J.H. Williams III get lost in the story as the two Dreams continue their walk through the cosmos, picking up and orphaned child who is unironically named Hope. Along the way, Williams III gets to continue being one of the hardest working artists drawing comics right now. Every page is a medley of panels and styles as he crafts his images around the story. From Kirby gods to Moebius landscapes, Williams III uses style as any other tool in his toolbox. The decision of style is a decision of storytelling as he changes his layouts and lines to illustrate more than Gaiman’s words; he’s using style to tell you how you should be reading this comic.
As their characters perform their roles, Gillen and McKelvie, you’ve got to read The Wicked + The Divine #2 as you would any gossip rag or TMZ-like website. This is about celebrity, the people who have it and the people that want it. Godliness and worshippers are just another type of fame in Gillen and McKelvie’s world; it’s a fame that has all of the highs and lows of any fame that someone on the top of the charts right now has.
Gødland is the perfect Marvel legacy comic. More than just Tom Scioli’s clearly Kirbyesque artwork, Joe Casey and Scioli tap into the energy and excitement of those early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby comics. Gødland Volume 1: Hello Cosmic is the type of comic that so many creators in the 1970s tried to reverse engineer out of old Fantastic Four comics. Casey and Scioli focus squarely in on the spectacle of those comics but never lose sight of the inner humanity of their characters. Personal discord runs hot and heavy through these comics, recalling everything from the family dynamics of the FF to the youthful uncertainty of Peter Parker. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, we talked about how all of the mainstream artists were trying to be Jack Kirby but we never talked about how all of the mainstream writers wanted to be an updated Stan Lee. Look at the Wolfman/Perez The New Teen Titans; for as much as it was counter programming to the Claremont/Byrne The Uncanny X-Men, it’s written as a Stan Lee Marvel comic book, trying to overwrite the DC DNA with the Marvel formula.
On a still night in 1876, Seth Bullock executes a man. He hangs him out in front of his jail, from the rafters while a mob demands that the thief be handed over to them for their own version of justice and/or revenge. It’s Bullock’s job as the marshall to perform this act of justice but it’s one that he doesn’t want anymore. There are so many ways this night would be easier for Bullock; he could hand the man over to the mob or he could consider the thief’s propositions for his quick and speedy release with the promise of stolen riches on the way to their mutual destination of Deadwood, a small town well outside of the United States’ borders. Just like Bullock, the dead man’s plan was to head to Deadwood to meet his glorious future there. “No law at all… in Deadwood,” the man ponders, thinking about the promise of that place while realizing his own mortality awaits him. The horse thief doesn’t make it out alive of even the first 10 minutes of this series but he exists as a perfect little microcosm of the hope and reality of what Deadwood could and would be.
Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. What a minute, that’s the wrong opening. Instead of that, Chuck Dixon gets away with writing in Alien Legion: Uncivil War #1, “These are dark days for our friends the Harks” and the writing just gets sillier from there with made up slang like “Bospor,” “rammer,” and the lovely descriptive compound phrase “ramming’ Bospor!” Opening with a civil war in some alien galaxy, a group of soldiers called the Nomad Squad has to check all of the refugee ships to make sure that they actually contain refugees and nothing more sinisterly nefarious. Chuck Dixon, Larry Stroman and Carl Potts begin with that idea for a story and never get any farther than that in this first issue.
Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill have no time for a preamble or set up in Nemo: The Roses Of Berlin, the latest offshoot of their League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series. Within the first couple of pages, they dive right into the story of Janni Dakkar, the daughter of Nemo, and her husband Broad Arrow Jack invading 1940s Berlin to rescue their daughter. When their son-in-law’s airship is shot down over Germany with their daughter inside, Janni and Jack storm Berlin, finding a city that they didn’t expect. It’s not a Nazi driven Berlin (even though Nazis are there.) It’s the Berlin straight out of Metropolis and the imagination of Fritz Lang. Swiftly realizing that it’s all a trap for her and that her daughter is only being used as bait, Janni’s determination only strengthens as Moore and O’Neill show the resolve that the daughter of Nemo has for her family.
Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson one-shot featuring their four-legged supernatural crusaders is a welcomed but too brief visit to Burden Hill and its protectors. Full of a lot of different and unique animals and one hard to catch monster, Dorkin’s dialogue is distinct and perfectly reveals who the characters are. That’s one thing Dorkin is excellent at in all of his writing– using the characters own words and actions to reveal who they are.