by Robert Vendetti and Mike Huddleston; Top Shelf, $14.95
This sounds terrific. Robert Vendetti wrote The Surrogates, which I really enjoyed (never bothered with the movie), and Mike Huddleston is currently impressing me a lot with his work on Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker at Image. Huddleston has a style that is not dissimilar to Brett Weldele, who worked so well with Vendetti on the Surrogates.
This book is set in the present, and involves a researcher for the CDC who is framed for the murder of a colleague. The book is all about privacy, conspiracy, and the ways in which our present reality resembles Orwell’s vision in 1984. Vendetti writes intelligent thrillers, so I’m sure this will be very good.
The Books I Think You Should Buy:
by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Bá; Marvel/Icon, $14.99
Casanova is one of the best comics of the 21st century. It is easily the best work that Matt Fraction has ever done, and features fantastic artwork by Gabriel Bá, one of the best artists in the business. This is the second volume of the Casanova series, and it probably doesn’t stand up very well on its own, but I encourage anyone who likes insanely good, and really just insane, comics to read these books.
The title refers to Casanova Quinn, a scoundrel whose father is the head of a SHIELD-like spy organization. At the beginning of the series, Casanova ends up in a new alternate dimension, where his counterpart is a good guy, and his sister Zephyr is evil. It’s been a few years since I’ve read this, so I don’t exactly remember what happens (the series was originally printed by Image, in their slim-line ‘Fell’ format before being reprinted by Marvel/Icon, in full colour, compared to the original monochromatic look). What I do remember is that this series is full of interesting characters, and has more plot twists than anything else you’ve read in years.
This month’s issue of Previews shows that a new Casanova limited series, Avaritia, is beginning in September. This is fantastic news, as I was hoping to see more creator-owned work from Fraction, and any new work by Bá or his brother Fábio Moon is reason for celebration. I just bought the first trade of this series this week-end, and have 3/4 of the single issues in this volume. I can not recommend this book enough, even though it will create a sense of disappointment in the rest of Fraction’s Marvel work (with the possible exception of Iron Man, which has been very good).
Incognito Vol. 2 Bad Influences
by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips; Marvel/Icon, $17.99
Comics have a long tradition of creators who do their best work while working together. Siegel and Shuster, Lee and Kirby, Claremont and Byrne, Miller and Mazzucchelli,Morrison and Quitely, and, I would add, Brubaker and Phillips. On their own, both have done some amazing work, but when they are collaborating, there is a different level of quality.
Their best work is probably Sleeper or Criminal, but I do like Incognito as well. This is their tribute to the great pulp heroes of the early 20th century, but updated and written with a very modern sensibility. Incognito is the story of Zac Overkill, a career super-criminal and all around bad guy, who in the first volume, has been hiding from his former bosses in the witness protection program, until his cover is blown and his powers returned to him.
In this second volume, Zac is working for the SHIELD stand-in that runs things in his world, and is trying to track down another undercover agent who appears to have switched sides. Zac has to return to the world he’d left, and really wrestles with the fact that he likes being there. At the same time, it seems that an old hero, Lazarus, from who Zac was cloned, has returned and is hunting for him.
Brubaker provides a thoughtful and surprising plot, while Phillips shows once again why he’s one of the best there is, especially at noir-ish stories. This book is good.