Friday, August 5, 2011

Comic Books of the Week (8/3/11) part 1

Comic Books of the Week (8/3/11)

As we move into August and what is looking like my final month of collecting new comics (due to the relaunch of the line in September), my issue reviews might run a little longer. Allow me the space to wax poetically on these final issues.

Adventure Comics #529 - this issue marks the final issue of the run of a title that started out in the Golden Age of comics.

Adventure Comics was one of the first titles I picked up regularly when I started getting DC super-hero books in the 70's. Back then, Aquaman was headlining the anthology title though I remember seeing a few earlier issues that featured Black Orchid and the Spectre.

When Aquaman got his own solo title, Adventure Comics became the home once more for Superboy, then the book expanded with a number of features when it joined the Dollar Comics format. Remember when one dollar could get you 80 pages and no ads? I do. It was great!

And that's when I subscribed to the title - getting copies mailed to me flat with that brown wrapper for protection. I had a subscription to the title from the Dollar days to the Plastic Man/Starman/Aquaman run, followed by the Dial H For Hero run. Then the book moved to a digest format, mixing a healthy dose of reprints with pages of new material.

When Adventure Comics was relaunched a few years back, I was ecstatic. And old friend was back. And it went back to its roots of an anthology - with Superboy (Kon-El) in the lead and Legion backups. The Legion moved to the front and got the Atom for backups. It ended the run with the recent Legion Academy series taking over the whole issues.

I really enjoyed the Academy tales and issue #529 was a nice ending to that chapter. There was plenty of action in this issue and it felt like a full issue. The art was solid too. As expected, it managed to tie things up fairly well with the promise of the remaining Academy cast rolling into the new Legion title come September. I wish the new recruits well. With Paul Levitz writing the book in the new DCU, I am sure they'll be in good hands. This is one I will miss reading each month.

Secret Six #36 - Gail Simone managed to do something pretty rare - she wrote one of the longest running DC villain-team book and did it with a cast of lesser known characters, plenty of violence, a little perversion and a whole lot of heart.

She did what a writer is supposed to do - make you care about the characters. The fact that these were some of the vilest criminals didn't matter. As a reader, I cared. This was a book I welcomed every month. You never knew what was going to happen. You could predict the strangest circumstances and Gail would likely top it. That's how fun this book was.

Unfortunately, not enough people got it. Sales were surprisingly lower on the monthly title though the trades sold quite well. And when the book didn't make the cut for the September relaunch, DC at least gave Gail a chance to go out with a bang.

These last two issues managed to tie-up (rather quickly) the plot lines of the major cast as best she could in the space allowed. This issue felt like a proper ending. The villains, with their backs against the wall and surrounded by a plethora of heroes, went out in a blaze of glory. It spoke to these characters' natures and personalities. It did not feel like a compromise at all. They went out as any true villains should - fighting.

This is another book I am going to miss reading. I know Gail will be doing Batgirl and Fury of Firestorm come September, but those books won't be the same as this one. I don't think DC will have another great villain team book like this again. When they made Secret Six they broke the mold.

No comments: