If you haven't been past your comic shop yet, or you might be heading back soon, I wanted to pitch two comics to you. One is a brand new series, the other one of Marvel's oldest mainstay characters, and so it gives me two very different things to discuss and recommend for different reasons.
written by Chris Roberson, art by Rick Ellis and colors by Grace Allison
I have a feeling that if issue #2 continues on from where issue #1 started, and this thing expands the way I think it could, we're going to be looking at one of the "next big things" for comics fans.
In TV and comics, there are ways to lay groundwork while laying out tantalizing bits of "what's really happening" or setting up a mythology, and its difficult to pinpoint how a series on TV like Lost can do this so well, and then the reboot of V comes along, and it has all the fun of solving a big book of word problems.
It has to do, of course, with clearly defined (and new but readily understood) characters, buy-able circumstances for characters that set an internal logic from the beginning, what was presented as hints about what's happening without being unnecessarily oblique.
If this were a TV series, I think we just saw the first half-hour of the 90 minute pilot, and it was very promising. We get a lovely tabula rasa set up for our start, that we know we'll populate with backstory, despotic fairytale queens, and plenty of hints about who our villains are, and the circumstances that led them to villainy. Its a compelling soup of familiar and unfamiliar, and I am very curious to see where it heads.
Mostly, unlike so many #1's I've read in the DCU relaunch, this didn't have me wanting to know more to guess how they would do this, or fix it, or how this compared to my expectations. This was starting fresh, and it felt fresh and absolutely necessary against the backdrop of the state of the industry.
Give it a shot. You can find Memorial #1 from IDW out as of Wednesday, Dec. 21 at your local shop, and online at comixology.
Recommended for fans of Sandman, Fables, Unwritten and Books of Magic.
by Mark Waid, Paulo Rivera and Joe Rivera with colorist Javier Rodriguez
The constant push to write for the trade and the industry's devotion to the 6 issue storyline has meant that we've all but lost a vestige of the 80's on most of superherodom in comics. When writers like Claremont were on books like X-Men, as powerful as a multi-issue story-arc could be (and how that was handled differently them plotting out over years sometimes), often it was the stand-alone story between stories that worked as a short story, and revealed character in the way day-in-the-life or short-form stories can.
Waid has always been talented, but of late, the man has been firing on all cylinders on all of his projects. On Daredevil, he's rescued the character from a whirlpool of negativity that started in the 1980's with Miller's work, was used to excellent effect in some of Bendis's run on the character, built upon by Brubaker, but essentially left Matt Murdock with nowhere to go.
Waid continues to play off this problem in this issue, as the mission of this run has been to make Matt Murdock a character whose stories people might want to read for enjoyment, not endure out of duty. Matt Murdock, the character, has reclaimed life, and as readers, we get to enjoy that, too.
This issue follows Murdock in a set of unfortunate circumstances leading kids to safety through a snowstorm. the subject material shouldn't feel like an 80's throwback, but I simply can't point to enough periods in the past 20 years when a writer was offered the opportunity to tell this kind of revealing story in a mainstream book, or saw the potential in such "ordinary" circumstances.
Its a straight up amazing read, and shows not just why Daredevil works as a character, but why Waid's understanding of character and what real drama can look like in a comic about men in tights, keeps the whole thing engaging and reminds readers how this medium and this genre can work on a very good day.