Archive for Brian Azzarello

Many issues in quick succession

Posted in Comics, Fantasy, Superhero with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by Cara Marie

The Flash

I find the speed force kind of bewildering. How does being able to go really fast result in all these different abilities?

Random bystander says, 'Thanks for thawing us out, Flash. How'd you ...?' 'Friction,' Flash says.

But, I find Barry kind of adorable and I really like the art. I never intended to read The Flash? But it was apparently my mother’s favourite when she was young, and the covers were pretty …

All the good characters are really decent people, which is a refreshing change. Particularly when some characters you don’t expect to have a nasty streak end up having one …

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman I have yet to get the latest issue. The first couple of issues were great but it’s rapidly gone meh for me. Also I expect Wonder Woman to be a superhero, not a Vertigo heroine. And I’m not opposed to Vertigo heroines, but Wonder Woman going to shows and smashing glasses into people’s hands (gods or no) and having an identity crisis is not really what I signed on for.

I’m just going to blame it on Brian Azzarello. It was his run I stopped reading Hellblazer the first time I was reading it. (Which I think is a pity now – because I was so close to Mike Carey’s run! Which I loved! But hey, the comics aren’t going anywhere.)

Demon Knights

Demon Knights is still fun. The dinosaurs are still wtf. I enjoy the tone of it, the mish-mash of high fantasy and all the things Paul Cornell thinks are awesome. I’d quite like to be consuming it in larger chunks.

Batwoman

Amy Reeder is good, but I feel a bit sorry for her, taking on Batwoman. Because she’s no JH Williams III. Some people might find the layouts easier to follow though! And Kate doesn’t look quite as anaemic.

Journey into Mystery

JiM is still charming. I like Hellstrom better here than anything else I’ve read him in.

'So,' Loki asks, 'Why the leather trousers and the lack of shirt?' And Leah says, 'I like the lack of shirt.' Me too, Leah.

Also, Leah has a lot of nice moments. Even the ones when she’s not there. ‘Even in a dream, Leah wouldn’t be nice!’ Loki says. Yup. Also, the bit where Thori’s  asking Hellstrom to be his master … it’s just great :D

Avengers Academy

I may be going off Avengers Academy. But then, I dislike time travel so it may just be this particular plotline. And Gage has a lot of characters to juggle now. (I just want my Finesse + Quicksilver bonding.) I’m not sure how well that’s going to work out? I would have preferred sticking to a smaller group. More time for character development. Less forgetting people exist (Sentinel boy).

Supergirl

I am a sucker for felt-tip colours at the moment. Still quite enjoying this, ignoring how on earth Kara managed to survive this issue (other than the power of love). There are some rather touching moments, where you see how young and on-the-verge-of-living Kara is.

Also, I have always been biased towards Supergirl :D

Reading DC for a change

Posted in Comics, Fantasy, Horror, Superhero with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by Cara Marie

So, I have read some of the new DC 52. Mostly because this digital comic thing makes it so easy. (Whereas during the first month, only one title actually made it through till Saturday at the comic store and I am not actually interested in Batman and Robin so that did me no good.)

Animal Man 1

Written by Jeff Lemire, pencils by Travel Foreman, inks by Travel Foreman and Dan Green, colours by Lovern Kindzierski

I had heard really good things about this one, and reading it was a disappointment. The art was a turn off for me, with an amateurish feel to it. And it wasn’t till the end that I actually felt intrigued by the story. I might check it out in trade, but I don’t immediately feel it’s a character I want to spend time with, and there’s not enough attractive in it to sweep me up.

I feel a bit harsh, judging something on a single issue. But! Then I read:

Demon Knights 1–2

Written by Paul Cornell, pencils by Diogenes Neves, inks by Oclair Albert, colours by Marcelo Maiolo

And I was immediately keen on this one. The little we’ve seen of the characters, I want to know more about them – the situation is almost tangential to that enjoyment. (And it’s not that I like fantasy more than horror, because I read and love my fair share of horror.)

Plus, at the start of the second issue, there’s this panel:

'Excellent,' he says, 'I haven't eaten one of these in centuries!'

Yup, that’s a guy all excited at the prospect of eating dinosaur. It’s pretty much awesome.

Justice League Dark 1

Written by Peter Milligan, art by Mikel Janin, colours by Ulises Arreola

I’m not sold on this yet … there’s just so much packed into this issue, so many introductions, that it all seems to go by in a rush, with nothing to hold onto. But I think once we’re past the set-up, I could enjoy it. It’s not like I’m going to miss a chance to see Constantine and Zatanna together.

And I’m quite keen to read more with Madame Xanadu – I find her interesting as a character, but was a bit ambivalent about what I read of her series (ie, it doesn’t make me think ‘epic romance/rivalry’ to have the Phantom Stranger in each story, it makes me think, what, her story’s not worth telling without him? She’s lived this incredible life, but only telling the parts he’s in makes it seem small.)

Maybe that’s why I liked Demon Knights so quickly, and not Justice League Dark – we don’t see our team interact in JLD, just the forces pulling them together. Whereas in Demon Knights we get just enough interaction to think, yeah, I’m interested in reading about these people’s wacky adventures. As opposed to being interested in theory, which is why I bought JLD.

But I’m willing to give it a chance, as long as Milligan keeps away from the sadism that put me off Shade.

Wonder Woman 1–2

Written by Brian Azzarello, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matthew Wilson

Because surely it makes me a bad feminist comics reader to have never read any Wonder Woman. The mythology did throw me a bit, because I’ve been reading The Incredible Hercules and the different interpretations get mixed up in my brain. But I quite like the art, and I’m intrigued by the set-up thus far.

Also, I like the conversation where Hermes asks Zola what Zeus came to her as.

'A truck driver,' Zola says. 'Or a pool hustler. He coulda been in a band … I hope he was that guy …' 'Apparently, Zeus didn't have to change his form too exotically to curry your favor,' Hermes says. And Zola looks at him and says, 'I like men, Hermes. And I'm not gonna apologize for that.'

And Hermes says, ‘As you shouldn’t. But on this island, you might want to keep the story to yourself.’ (They’re on the island of the Amazons.)

Which was a nice scene to read, after all the Starfire stuff.

Plus, you know, not a swan. Any human form Zeus seduces someone in is a step up from the other options.

I also really like Strife, just making things more difficult for Diana. So I’ll probably keep reading this, because I am a sucker for mythology in comics.

Supergirl 1–2

Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson, pencils and inks by Mahmud Asrar, inks by Dad Green, colours by Dave McCraig

I don’t have much to say about this – it’s paced quite differently from everything else, more like manga. Not much happens in a single issue, but it doesn’t happen slowly. I think it’s probably better suited to read in trade than as a serial.

I used to really love Supergirl the movie when I was little – because she had the same name as me! That’s pretty much all I remember.

I don’t really get a sense of what Kara is like from these two issues – other than very confused – nor of the direction it’s likely to go in. Fingers crossed for teenage hijinx.

Comics and communal storytelling

Posted in Comics, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2011 by Cara Marie

When I brought home the first volume of House of Mystery, I was asked if I thought the world really needed another Sandman spin-off. I say, why not? It’s just like folklore.

How many Arthur stories are there? I don’t just mean the ones about Arthur himself, I mean the ones about the other knights, the one where King Arthur has a daughter who crossdresses so she can run off and save the man she loves. I adore communal storytelling, another person running off with one of the characters, with a building, to tell a new story. Where no one person’s vision is the authoritative one. Maybe they contradict each other and maybe they don’t, but they’re all written out of love.

And that’s something I love about comics. Okay, so House of Mystery was underwhelming. There are other spin-offs that I love, maybe more than I love the ‘original’. Or maybe I don’t like one writer’s work with a character, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in the character anymore.

I’ve been thinking about this for two reasons. The first has been reading Hellblazer again. I began that series as a teenager, but somewhere during Brian Azzarello’s arc I lost interest. But I have been on a bit of a Mike Carey kick later, and having gone to read his work on Hellblazer, I discover that hey, it’s not that I didn’t want more Constantine stories. It’s just I didn’t like the ones Azzarello was telling.

The other reason was that I decided I wanted copies of The Books of Magic, which I haven’t read since I was in my early teens. Now, the only trade they’ve kept in print of this ‘series’ is the original four-issue miniseries written by Neil Gaiman. Which isn’t what I was after, and indeed I do not own. I was after John Ney Reiber’s work, which is The Books of Magic I fell in love with. Also I was after the rest of that series, which was written by other authors and never released in trade at all. Also I was after the ten issues of Books of Magick that were never released in trade, even though the first five were. And once I’ve finished getting those, there’s twenty-five issues of Hunter: The Age of Magic … and it’s only after that that I think, hey, maybe I should get the Gaiman miniseries. You know, for completeness’ sake.

I reread most of Books of Magick last night, which is written by Si Spencer and illustrated for the most part by the brilliantly disturbing Dean Ormston. It’s set when Tim Hunter is in his twenties, and only very briefly in our world: you could read most of it and think it was an AU version of Tim. And there is an AU version of Tim in it, but it’s not who you think. I always had the impression it wasn’t that popular (otherwise why wouldn’t they have released the rest as trades?) but I loved it. And part of that is the way it twists the original ‘verse in totally unexpected, awesome ways. Ways that other authors might never have gone for.

This next part is spoilery. But the awesome kind of spoilers.

So Tim Hunter has this owl called Yo-Yo, right? Because it used to be a yo-yo. Si Spencer looks at this and thinks, hey, you know what would be cool? To transform Yo-Yo into a person for a while. Oh, and while they’ve both lost their memories, we should give him a massive crush on Tim.

I say, Si Spencer, I like the way you think.

The series is mostly set in two worlds, one of which is a creation of Tim’s, and he’s about to go uncreate it. Which a few people, Yo-Yo included, think is a bad idea. Now, who does every world need in order to spit in the eye of the gods? Why, Constantine, of course.

Only in this world, Constantine is a sixteen-year-old girl. Not only that, Chaz is a fifteen-year-old girl and they totally fall in love. (I think I first read this series before Hellblazer, so I don’t think I knew exactly what he was doing there.)

And here’s what I love about comics: it’s canon. There is a world in which John Constantine is a teenage lesbian.

And if comics insisted ‘no spin-offs’, we never would have got it. Hell, we would never even have had the original miniseries, predicated as it was on bringing together a bunch of different DC characters. That seems to me like a sadder world. Because people want to tell new stories about characters they love. People want to read them. And there’s not just one person who can tell those stories right. And maybe I won’t like them all, but what does that matter? It doesn’t mean the stories I loved aren’t there any more, it doesn’t mean other people can’t tell them in the future.

I don’t think there can be too many spin-offs.