Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

In a perfect world I would have plenty of time to read all my Wednesday purchases that night and give a brief recap the next morning. However, this is far from a perfect world. I mean, really, HBO makes it impossible to watch Game of Thrones online without subscribing to their network. Does that sound like a perfect world to you?

Sorry. That was a tangent. Anyway, these are the books that came out yesterday and that I read last night. I may not be able to do this every Thursday. Honestly, look at my track record for posting things consistently and on time. It's not very good. But we'll give it a shot.

Also, this doesn't mean these titles are full of theological insight. Most of them aren't, but I feel it might be nice to offer a snapshot of what I'm reading for fun. Also, these are really, really good books.

Trillium #7
Trillium by Jeff Lemire is fantastic. It is a love story about two people separated by a millennium. There's aliens, Amazons, and wormhole Temples. The way Lemire crafts this books makes it really standout. As the time travel gets topsy-turvy, so does the book. Literally. It happened in previous issues, yet I still get surprised when I turn the page and everything is suddenly upside down. Some may find it cumbersome, but I find it delightfully engaging when I have to turn the book over or spin it around in order to read the next page as it occurs in the past or future. And when the two time periods collide, things get really amazing. If someone now were to ask me why we still need print comics instead of making everything digital, I will point straight to Trillium.

Drumhellar #5
I'll be honest, half the time I don't have any idea what is going on in Drumhellar. The book, as far as I can tell, is about a guy that does drugs/magic/both and solves supernatural crimes in rural South Dakota. Plus, it has a herd of ghost Triceratops. And a Velociraptor that wears a cowboy hat and rides a slightly larger Velocirpator. And both of those raptors are also ghosts. Drumhellar is amusing, enjoyable, and the art can get crazy awesome. Even if I'm not exactly clear on the plot, I still love a comic that makes me yell "What?!" from time to time as I read it.

Secret #6
Secret is written by Jonathan Hickman, so you know it's good. The main problem with it is the schedule has been pretty rocky. At one point I believe over a year had passed between issues. So my biggest problem with the book is I don't really remember what all is going on and who all the characters are. I could easily rectify that by rereading earlier issues. So what is Secret all about? Spies. But, like, corporate spies. It's smart, it's intriguing, and, especially in this issue, it has some really good action sequences. I feel like after six issues Secret is hitting its climax. When it's complete, I think I'll go back and read through all the issues again in quick succession and see if it's more coherent.

Starlight #1
Starlight is a new series by writer Mark Millar and artist Goran Parlov. Millar has a reputation for over-hyped sensationalism and for going for shock value. His comics have a tendency to include over the top violence and vulgarity. Some people enjoy that. Sometimes I enjoy that. Nemesis was that type of Millar book and I enjoyed it. So far, Starlight is not that type of book. While Millar is known for violence, he is at his best when he writes quiet moments. Starlight tells the tale of a pilot who goes through a wormhole, saves an alien race on a distant planet, and then returns home. This issue takes place forty years after those events. The pilot's wife has just died and it follows his somber motions as he attends her funeral. Again, it's quiet, yet poignant. It reminded me that this is the guy who once wrote American Jesus. I was unsure about even picking up this title, but I'm glad I did. If ensuing issues are as good as this, I will definitely continue to get it.

Jupiter's Legacy #4
Another Mark Millar book, Jupiter's Legacy follows a family with superpowers and how they deal with the fame and political possibilities those powers bring. The artist is Frank Quitely, so that alone should compel you to get it. However, this title suffers from similar problems as Secret, though not as severe. There's at least two months between issues, so that's a lot of time to forget what happened. But this issue jumps ahead a decade and almost reintroduces the main plot points again. Like Starlight, this book is filled mostly with quiet moments as a couple interacts with their superpowered son. The world doesn't know he exists, and the parents encourage him to keep it that way. It is reminiscent of The Incredibles where the parents encourage their kids to succeed, but not succeed too much so their powers won't be noticed. Again, when it's all over it will be interesting to read Jupiter's Legacy as one unit.
Hinterkind #6
Like Drumhellar, I'm not entirely clear what is going on in Hinterkind. An apocalypse of sorts occurred, but instead of the world being overrun with zombies, the land has been retaken by the creatures of myths and fables that humans drove out long ago. I almost dropped this after the first issue. The art was amazing but the writing didn't grab me and the dialogue was stilted and pretty poor in parts. This issue doesn't have those dialogue problems. It flows naturally and the characters are charming, especially when quoting Indiana Jones. I'm still unsure about this title, but this issue persuaded me to check out the next one when it comes out.

Velvet #4
Velvet is another spy comic and it is good. Think of it as James Bond, but the title character is a middle-aged Moneypenny who can do all the fancy spy things that Bond could. While the story, written by Ed Brubaker, is solid, the main draw for me is Steve Epting's art. It is simply astounding and nails the dark, espionage noir atmosphere perfectly. Velvet is simply a beautiful book.

The Walking Dead #122
This came out last week, but my comic shop was out. They had it in stock yesterday. As for my thoughts? It's The Walking Dead. Go read it.

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