November 11, 2016

The Pull List: 2 November 2016, Part 1

The Sheriff of Babylon comes to an end, and it's a short, blunt and thematically perfect conclusion. One of the real achievements of this 12-issue series has been how it started off feeling like a big political storyline about the United States military in occupied Iraq, but ultimately became a very personal story about three characters. The personal is always a more interesting angle to take, and writer Tom King based his well-plotted and intelligent story around three very interesting and realistic characters. It's interesting that, while Hollywood has struggled for some years to pin down a properly entertaining and dramatic story about post-war Iraq, King has perfected one right here in comic book form. I do wonder how long it will be before one of the studios comes knocking.

Mitch Gerads' art and colours have been a consistently perfect match throughout. They're starkly realistic, with beautifully under-saturated colours that make each scene feel as if it's been left out in the sun for too long and faded as a result. It looks sweaty and miserable. The panel layouts are wonderful as well, using clean geometric set-ups. Gerads' now iconic understated sound effect captions help to seal the deal. This book looks realistic and bleak. As I said: a perfect match.

Volume 1 of The Sheriff of Babylon is already out in trade paperback. Volume 2 drops early next year. If you like reading good comics, you need to grab a copy of this one. Now that it's complete, it really is the best American comic book of the year. (5/5)

Sheriff of Babylon #12. DC Vertigo. Written by Tom King. Art and colours by Mitch Gerads.

Under the cut: reviews of Animosity, Giant Days, Revival, and The Wicked + the Divine.

Animosity #3
Aftershock Comics.Written by Marguerite Bennett. Art by Rafael De Latorre. Colours by Rob Schwager.
The bloodhound Sandor continues to accompany Jesse on her long journey across the USA. Some unknown event has given all animals on the planet human-like intelligence and the ability to speak, and that has led to conflict and - some months later - a tenuous peace between the human and non-human population. On a page-to-page basis Bennett's script is solid enough, and De Latorre's artwork is excellent. Tonally it really does feel like something that DC Vertigo would have published 10 years ago. Despite its merits, I am still struggling with the underlying concept. It feels a bit silly, and it makes it difficult for me to fully engage with the story. (3/5)

Giant Days #20
Boom Studios. Written by John Allison. Art by Max Sarin and Liz Fleming. Colours by Whitney Cogar.
This issue is best summarised as 'the girls go to Ikea'. There are a lot of jokes, and they're pretty much all hilarious from the cover right on through. I've mentioned before how relatable this comic is to anybody who's lived the university experience, and that certainly is the case here. If you've ever moved into a share house with several other people, you will recognise things in this issue. The awful furniture that comes with pre-furnished apartments. That difficult new housemate that you actually kind of despise. The trips, indeed, to Ikea. This is great, funny stuff. (4/5)

Revival #44
Image. Written by Tim Seeley. Art by Mike Norton. Colours by Mark Englert.
The downhill rush to the climax continues. Dana escorts Lester Majak towards the police compound. Em and her father share a tender moment. Everything goes terribly, catastrophically wrong. It's so impressive that after about four years of story, Revival is pulling its various character arcs together in such a well-developed and readable manner. Each issue for the past year or so has contained a rising emotional momentum. At this stage, with just a few issues to go, it's getting so completely addictive. I'll be sorry to see it end, but at least it's ending on a high. (4/5)

The Wicked + the Divine #23
Image. Written by Kieron Gillen. Art by Kevin Wada and Jamie McKelvie.
The last issue of The Wicked + the Divine was a series-changing apocalypse for its characters, redirecting the entire course of the series in the most unexpected of ways. How on Earth do you follow that up? If you're Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, you rope in Kevin Wada to provide some awesome illustrations and you write an entire in-universe magazine about the Pantheon. This is such a brilliant idea for a one-off issue, and while some readers might get annoyed and essentially buying an issue entirely in prose I personally thought it was outstanding. (5/5)

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