Friday, March 21, 2014

New Series Debuting in March

I forgot that I sometimes write about comics and science, and not just movies.

I didn't have much of a chance to write about Avengers Arena when it first came out and when it got really good, so it's good that Hopeless is starting a new series called Avengers Undercover, which I guess will have Avengers going undercover. Presumably.

It is a follow-up to AA, and I could not be happier about this. Dennis Hopeless' writing was perfect at taking several characters that I had never heard about or cared before, and, well, making me care about them. The concept of AA was simple, and actually, unabashedly plagiarized -- Put a bunch of teenagers in a pen, have them kill each other until there's only one left. The good thing about this story is that a lot of the characters are brand new (I think), some of them are relatively more well-known, and a lot were D-listers in the superhero world. Being new or not well-known, Hopeless could expand on their stories and fill in their personalities, and he did a great job of it. Moreover, he introduces the notion of "real death" into the story, which of course, adds a huge element of suspense, especially when you're just getting attached to a character. I've written about death in comics before and how hard it is to do. Hopeless was/is amazing about making me care when a character dies and making me worried that my favorite characters were going to die.

This scene, in addition to being tastefully and beautifully drawn, was horrifying and heartbreaking all at the same time. And it took place in the very first issue, the first time that I had ever read a story with this character in it.

In addition, he knew when to pull back. A lot of hack writers, when given the chance to start killing characters, get ridiculous with it, and just start offing people left and right, with no real emotional connection to the event. It's like murder porn. Hopeless treated all but the very first death with extreme reverence and severity, even when the "bad guy" dies, and -- in case you couldn't tell from the fact that a sequel series was made -- didn't let everybody die. Quality quality writing.

Also! The new Secret Avengers book came out. And if you get a chance to read it, I hope you walk straight on into I-Told-You-So Town, because I was expecting more books like Hawkeye and Superior Foes to start coming out. This is it: irreverent, quirky artwork, fast-paced cute story-telling...You can draw a straight line from Hawkeye to here.

Moon Knight also came out! ...again. I have no idea why this character has any kind of popularity. Maybe because he's like crazy Batman? I wonder if someone with a good idea could make this into a statement about superheroes in general, a post-post-modern Watchmen, if you will. But I doubt it. This is going to a "street-level hero" fighting crime, and they're going to use his split personalities to showcase some trippy art once in a while.

The new Moon Knight looks like it wants to be what the new Magneto is. In Magneto, Eric is just walking around being a tormented badass. It reminds me a lot about his character in First Class.

It's this kind of brutality that a juvenile book like Moon Knight wants to achieve, but doesn't have the grapes and the purpose that Magneto does. You see Eric doing some pretty morally ambiguous things, but you know why. You walk his path. Eric is doing what he set out to do in the first place: Protect mutants. He's just now doing it by himself, and with little concern for human life.

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