One of the biggest benefits to reading comics in trade or graphic novel is that you get to choose how much time you devote to a story, and you get to be the one who picks the pace at which you work through the different chapters. Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto’s Infinite Horizon was a six-issue mini-series which took just under four years to be completed. It was well worth the wait though.
The story is a remake of Homer’s Odyssey, set a few years into the future. The unnamed Captain of an American military unit finds himself and his men stranded overseas when the US government can not even afford the cost and the fuel to bring its soldiers home after finishing off one of its questionable military actions in another land. The Captain does not find this to be acceptable, and makes a promise to return to his wife and son, and to bring his men home.
Like Odysseus’s journey, it takes him many years, and he loses many men along the way. He crosses paths with many of Homer’s threats, such as a Russian soldier who has an optical device hardwired to his head (a Cyclops), or a group of women who lure potential slaves to come work on their sailing ship and oil rig by promising them a trip to a safe country (Sirens).
The Captain’s story is paralleled by the problems that his wife is facing back home, as a landowner with a clean source of drinking water, who attracts the ire of the have-nots in her area, who decide to take over her farm.
Phil Noto’s art on this series is very nice, and Duggan, who I am otherwise unfamiliar with, tells a compelling story. I think, had this book come out alongside Image’s recent crop, it would have received a lot more attention than it did when it started back in 2007.
by Brian Michael Bendis; Icon, $24.99
I guess that Icon is publishing new editions of all of Brian Michael Bendis’s early graphic novels, which is great, because many of his Marvel fans are probably not aware of the days when he wrote and draw some excellent crime stories. I read Goldfish a few years back, and enjoyed it, but can’t exactly remember what it was about right now.
Turning to Wikipedia for help with a summary, we learn that the book:
tells the story of David Gold, a con man, who used the sobriquet “Goldfish”. Gold has returned to Cleveland, Ohio after a ten year absence in order to regain possession of his son, currently in the custody of the boy’s mother and Gold’s ex-girlfriend, crime boss Lauren Bacall (a reference to the well-known actress of the same name). Bacall is the owner of the Club Cinderella, a nightclub, casino and brothel, and scene for many sequences within the story.
The character of David Gold also turns up again in Bendis’s better-known book Jinx.
Early Bendis (this story was originally published starting in 1994) is interesting to read in light of his decade of being Marvel’s central writer. His ear for dialogue is apparent right from the beginning, and his stories are structured towards his strength much better than many of his Marvel stories have been. His art is stiff, and the pages are literally covered in black ink, and it’s not hard to understand why Marvel has never had him draw any of the titles he’s been writing, but again, in this type of book, it works.