Happy belated Valentines Day! Yesterday was a day to celebrate love and new comics and I hope you did one or both of these things. We’re back for another week of quick comic reviews and for the first time since doing the Pull, I had to write an unfavorable review, but that’s okay! We had a solid week with two of my favorite books and I picked up a newly launched Image graphic novel that was completely funded by Kickstarter last year. Lets put down the heart shaped chocolate and dive into some comics.
THERE ARE SPOILERS THIS WEEK.
TONS OF THEM. LOADS.
SPOILERS ALL DAY. BREAKFAST, MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT.
READ YOUR COMICS THEN COME BACK.
Captain America #698
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee
We’re only a few issues into the Waid and Samnee run on Captain America, but it hasn’t had a bad issue yet. At the end of #697 we see Cap being frozen in time, yet again, but in this issue we learn its for less than ten years. Ten years is all it took for the Rapids to overthrow the US Government and defeat the Avengers, Champions, and the Defenders while Cap was on ice. The world laid out for us is a dystopian wasteland overseen by a ruthless army that only knows how to shoot first and ask questions later. This is a slight shift in tone from what they’ve done on the last few issues. Samnee’s art takes on some dark tones and heavy shadows while Waid still maintains a strong hold on a traditional Cap, but puts him in a not so wholesome setting that forces him to make tough decisions. It’s a solid start to what I can assume is going to be another great arc in this story.
Kill or Be Killed #16
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Every single issue of this comic has a few key things that keep at the top: cliffhangers, well written inner monologue, and the art. All of these components make Kill or Be Killed the best comic to come out every month. I can’t speak highly enough of the writing in this. Ed Brubaker has hit his stride in this creator owned title and as a long time fan, I can say this is his best work to date. We’re still in the insane asylum with Dylan has he copes with knowing a copycat killer is keeping him from coming clean about his vigilante past. He’s heavily medicated and this gives artist Sean Phillips some time to shine by showing how well he can say so much with just his images. We see Dylan unable to focus during conversation and Phillips uses empty speech bubbles to convey the feeling of wanting to be present while under some intense medication. As the story progresses we’re starting to see a change in Dylan, and we’re starting to believe along with him that maybe the demon was just a part of his psychosis but even with the absence of the demon, Dylan is back to his old thoughts when he sees an orderly acting inappropriately with a patient. In true Brubaker fashion, we’re left with a cliffhanger as Dylan’s ex roommate finds his mask, bullets, and gun underneath his bed while they’re packing up his belongings. These issues are giving me heartburn from how intense they’re getting. If you aren’t picking up this comic, now is a good time to start tracking down those trade paperbacks.
Tee Franklin and Joy San
I want to preface this by saying that I really, really wanted to like this book. I did some research on its inception, listened to some interviews with the writer and checked into some advanced reviews and was very excited about it. I love when comics tell stories from a different perspective and put a unique spin on it. This had such promise and it fell short, to me at least. I recognize that I am not the target audience for this book, and that’s been cemented by the writer herself in a podcast interview earlier this year, but I still enjoy the medium of comics and hope to get something out of everything I pick up.
Bingo Love is the story of two young black girls who fall in love during their formative years and follows them during their blossoming relationship which is ultimately ended by their families. The passage of time and the pacing of this story are a major downfall because so much happens in these gaps but it’s never touched on for more than a brief moment. We see years and years go by before the two reconnect by chance at the same place they first met all those years ago, a bingo game. Once the end up seeing eachother again the story moves very abruptly and almost too quickly for such a heavy build up.
I enjoyed the art quite a bit, even though it was a little too all ages for me at times, but that isn’t where the story is lacking. Aside from the main characters there isn’t any development for either of their families, which play major roles in the story. I love that this particular story is being told but I wish it had been handled by someone with some more writing experience or someone who had a better understanding of story and character development. There’s parts of this that are enjoyable and it’s definitely a puffy feelgood piece with sprinkles of adversity in it but I think the book misses its own point. This could have been a major stepping stone in queer comic writing, especially being penned by the first openly queer, disabled, black woman in Image Comics history. Tee Franklin is announcing a new series this month at the Image Expo in Portland and I can only hope that whatever she tackles next will rectify any issues I had with Bingo Love.
That does it for another edition of the Pull. Come back next week and I’ll probably gush about how great Tom King is and how excited I am that the greatest creative team in comics is back with MOONSHINE.