October 16, 2016

The Pull List: 12 October 2016, Part 2

This week Marvel's ongoing comic series Darth Vader came to a close, after 25 issues tracking the character's transition from the disgraced lieutenant who got the Death Star destroyed at the climax of Star Wars to the all-powerful fleet commander seen at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. It has been a remarkably good series - not just great by the standards of a movie tie-in, but genuinely one of the best comics that Marvel has published over the last two years.

In this climactic issue Vader has his final showdown with Cylo, the treacherous scientist appointed by the Emperor as his replacement. At the same time there is also the matter of Dr Aphra, the renegade archaeologist that Vader hired to help track down Luke Skywalker - and who now knows far too much to survive. It is all wrapped up in the sensational art of Salvador Larroca and the colours of Edgar Delgado, the creative team that has worked on the entire 25-issue run with Gillen.

The key to this book's success is that Gillen has never lost sight of the fact that Darth Vader is a murderous villain. We root for him, and we enjoy watching him overthrow his enemies, but he never shows love or forgiveness and he will kill anyone in his way without hesitation. Gillen managed to tie in a lot of rich material from the film sequels, which surprised and delighted, but he never lost sight of what sort of character Vader was. That pretty much cemented the book's quality throughout. This is a great finale, and wraps up the title at a creative height: more comic books should do this. (5/5)

Darth Vader #25. Marvel. Written by Kieron Gillen. Art by Salvador Larroca and Max Fiumara. Colours by Edgar Delgado and Dave Stewart.

Under the cut: reviews of Descender, Doom Patrol and The Fuse.

Descender #15
Image. Written by Jeff Lemire. Art by Dustin Nguyen.
This one got delayed at my local comic shop by a few weeks. Each issue of this arc has focused on a sub-set of characters. This one turns its attention to Andy and Effie: they reunited somewhat acrimoniously a few issues ago, and now Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen fill in their mutual history beginning a decade earlier when both were children. It's illuminating and emotionally rich stuff, but like a lot of these backstory issues I feel I'd rather have had this material first and then the main storyline, rather than have me struggle through the book for a year before finally getting some context for the characters. Nguyen's artwork is distinctive, but story-wise this book does feel like it's struggling slightly. (3/5)

Doom Patrol #2
DC Comics. Written by Gerard Way. Art by Nick Derington. Colours by Tamra Bonvillain.
Gerard Way wants to be Grant Morrison so badly. There have been so many attempts to relaunch and revive Doom Patrol since its iconic Vertigo series wrapped up, and they have all failed to one degree or another. To Way's credit he does seem to be the first to simply try and emulate Morrison's surrealism in a new fashion. The result is that this new volume of Doom Patrol feels like a pastiche, but to its credit it's an entertaining pastiche. There are a lot of neat ideas being thrown around, and while it doesn't all appear to quite make sense yet it is a very delightful sort of nonsense. (3/5)

The Fuse #22
Image. Written by Anthony Johnston. Art by Justin Greenwood. Colours by Shari Chankhamma.
There's still a murderer on the loose, and a potential terrorist attack against the Fuse's mayor, and now Klem's partner Ralph is in custody after being found in bed with a terrorist leader. This is one of those issues that benefits from coming after all of the issues before it, since a lot of long-running story threads are beginning to pay off. There's an immense satisfaction in reading that. This is smart, fast-paced, and nicely snarky blend of science fiction and crime fiction, and this current arc (the fourth) has a strong sense of a series climax about it. Justin Greenwood's art is particularly impressive, using a non-realistic style that still manages to give the characters personality and heart. (5/5)

No comments:

Post a Comment