The Weekly Round-Up #102 With Blue Estate, Morning Glories, Walking Dead & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Blue Estate #7

Written by Viktor Kalvachev, Kosta Yenev, and Andrew Osborne
Art by Viktor Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, and Tomm Coker

I was pretty surprised, looking through the credits of this issue to see that Tomm Coker was joining the Blue Estate team.  Previous regulars like Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, and Paul Maybury have a more similar visual aesthetic than Coker, whose work is more realistic.  A big part of the fun of this comic has always been trying to figure out who drew which page (although I think I’m usually wrong).

Anyway, Coker’s art fits surprisingly well with this particular issue’s content.  The story of Blue Estate has moved from sprawling and random to being very interconnected and tight, as characters who we previously thought had nothing to do with one another are getting tied together in multiple ways.  Bruce Maddox, the film star, and his bodyguard/lover Marcellus have decided to finally deal with what they’ve called ‘The Rachel Situation’ once and for all, by planning to kill her and set up a PI as a dupe to take the fall.  What they don’t know is that a mobster has hired Clarence, who is also Rachel’s secret friend and AA sponsor, to kill Bruce.

This leads to a spectacular action sequence (mostly drawn by Coker), which ends a little unexpectedly for everyone.  I love how so many plot threads are coming together, and can’t wait to see how the next issue plays out.  This is a book that rewards careful reading and attention to detail (like the fact that Clarence had to borrow someone’s car to get to his hit), and it’s never dull.  I do hate this month’s cover though…

Other Notable Comics:

Elephantmen #36

Written by Richard Starkings
Art by Axel Medellin and Rob Steen

First, I want to mention how Richard Starkings makes sure that his readers get their money’s worth with this comic.  For $4, there are 35 pages of comics in here, spread across the main story, and two back-ups:  one a Mappo story set in the past, and (finally), a new chapter of the very cute Charley Loves Robots series.

The main story starts a new four part arc called ‘The Killing Season’.  In typical Elephantmen fashion, this story is set before the story that Shaky Kane drew a couple of issues back, and it concerns Hip’s investigation into the killings of Elephantmen for their ivory, which led to his bizarre visit to the plastic surgeon in the aforementioned issue.

Starkings uses this issue to check in with almost all of the cast.  Miki wakes up in Hip’s bed (alone), and goes to work on Tiny’s first day back.  Mr. Apostrophe takes a dip in a familiar canal, and finds the bodies dumped by the assassin who keeps showing up in this series.  Later, Trench oversees the recovery of all these bodies.  While all this is happening, Sahara and Ebony Hide have a visit from a Buddhist Elephantman, who has a long (and wordy) talk with Sahara about his religion.

In all, this is a decent issue, although it requires a better memory than mine to put all of the scenes in the correct context.  While I admire the complexity of Starkings vision for this comic, I do find it hard to pick up on all the subtle references to former issues that he makes, and I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge at hand that this comic sometimes needs.  Still, I don’t want to fault someone for vision.  I just can’t imagine picking up a random issue for the first time and understanding it at all.

Medellin continues to grow as an artist, putting ever more detail into his backgrounds, while making his central figures look terrific.  I don’t think he can get much better than this, but then each month, he proves me wrong.

iZombie #19

Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Michael Allred

iZombie has never been your typical zombie comic, but now that there has been an outbreak of the typical, shambolic zombie in the city of Eugene, Chris Roberson is getting the chance to play with some of the scenes we never see in the movies, aside from Shaun of the Dead.  We are in that special time where the outbreak hasn’t spread much, and so people are still going about their usual lives, although danger could lurk around every corner.  The National Guard is in town, under the command of the Dead Presidents.

This makes it hard for the cast of this book.  Gwen is going to ground (literally), staying in her tomb in order to avoid detection.  Spot is also a little nervous about being out and around, especially since he has his first date with Gavin (which doesn’t go all that well, but has lots of interesting implications for their future).

Every issue of this comic takes the time to check in on most of its cast, which gives each character only a small amount of screen time.  This works well, but also limits how much can happen in each issue.  This month’s chapter is no different, but continues to be a strong mix of intelligent writing and fantastic Allred art.

Morning Glories #14

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Joe Eisma

Ah, Morning Glories, what are we to do with you?  With each issue, I expect to finally get some clues as to what is going on in this comic, but by the end of it, I’m always more confused and lost (perhaps I should say Lost).  This issue runs simultaneously with the previous issue, which showed us some of the ‘Woodrun’, a school-wide event about which we knew no more than the name.

This issue is focused on Hunter, Zoe, and Jun, who are put on a team for the run.  We still don’t know the rules of the game, but we do know that the prize is ‘stuff’ that Zoe wants, and so she forces the others into being involved.  There are plenty of great moments between Hunter and Zoe, whose animosity towards each other has reached new levels.

While this is going on, we see more of the growing tensions between the senior staff at the Morning Glories Academy, but still learn very little about their true purposes.  There’s also a strange flashback set in late 17th century New England that doesn’t explain anything, but instead opens up even more questions.

This comic is a really fun read.  I think I’m getting past caring about how little information we really have, and prefer to read each issue looking for clues, knowing that I’m either a) never going to find out the whole story, or b) be totally disappointed in the ending.  Either way, when the book is this good, I’m just enjoying the ride.

Northlanders #46

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Declan Shalvey

I’m going to miss this comic when it’s gone.  Wood has consistently given us a fascinating look into Viking culture, and this Icelandic Trilogy has been one of the best arcs of the title yet.

In this issue, Brida Hauksson, leader of her clan in her brother’s continued absence, has to respond to the provocations of the rival Belgarsson clan, and to their new relationship with the Christian church, who previously had very little hold on Icelandic society.  Wood has often made good use of this period between paganism and monotheism, as some members of the society have embraced the new approach to life, while others have clung to the old ways.

The character of Brida is fascinating.  She is not constrained by the usual roles of women, yet cannot be completely in charge either.  Wood shows her frustration with her limitations, but also shows her as a strong and proactive leader.

Declan Shalvey’s work on this book is great.  He’s using a much cleaner approach than he has when working on Marvel’s Thunderbolts, with the effect that his work fits within what could be considered the Vertigo ‘house style’.

Severed #4

Written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Art by Attila Futaki

Severed continues to be an excellent Depression-era coming of age horror comic, with a strong focus on character.  This issue hinges on an event that I don’t really understand though, and that caused me to be thrown out of the story completely.

To begin with the positive, I’ve really enjoyed reading about the friendship between Jack and Sam.  They’ve become a good team, looking out for one another on the road, and finding in the other a loyal companion.  They have a pretty big fight this issue, over the entrance of Alan Fisher, who claims to be a Victrola salesman, although we readers know he’s a predatory cannibal.

This leads to my problems with this issue.  Previously, Sam had stolen Fisher’s business card, which we saw him take from the real Alan Fisher a couple of issues back.  She calls the number, and speaks to someone at RCA Victor, who suggests he meet her at a diner in a remote setting.  In typical horror comic fashion, she agrees, and doesn’t seem to find anything strange about a completely abandoned restaurant in the middle of nowhere, where she discovers that the RCA guy she spoke to is really…. (I’m sure you can guess).

This doesn’t work.  If he altered the phone number so it would be his own, why bother using the card in the first place?  Also, it’s the Depression and we’ve established that the guy is living in a rooming house.  He wouldn’t have his own phone, so the fact that he answered when Sam called doesn’t make sense.  I understand that something like this would need to happen to continue the plot, but it just doesn’t work for me.

I’ll look past this though, as the rest of the comic works very well.

’68: Hardship

Written by Mark Kidwell
Art by Jeff Zornow

The high water mark of Vietnam War comics has to be Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart’s Vertigo book The Other Side. It is a brilliant examination of the war, told from the perspectives of two reluctant combatants – one an American GI, the other a VC peasant.  I found the Vietnamese guy much more sympathetic, especially after the American started cracking up.

Why am I talking about that book when reviewing this first ’68 one-shot since the title became an on-going series?  Basically, if the soldier from The Other Side had come back to a zombie-infested America, that series’s epilogue would have been this comic.

Teddy Calhoun has completed two tours in ‘Nam, and has come home on a hardship exemption because his mother was dying.  The thing is, the hardship request came at on opportune time, since his commanding officer would probably have to have given him a Section 8 designation – period Army code for a psychological disorder.  Teddy’s lost it, but back home in the fields of Nebraska, it’s easy for him to give in to his paranoia and delusions.  Especially after the zombies start showing up.

This is a pretty classic horror story, following some rather predictable patterns (at least until the tornado shows up), but it’s still pretty interesting.  Kidwell builds up the characters quickly, and makes the story compelling.  Zornow’s art works, and he has the opportunity to really cut loose (both claymores and a wheat combine get used rather novelly).  Zombies and war – the concept is so good it has to work.

The Walking Dead #91

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

Some time has passed since the last issue, and the Community, under Rick’s leadership, has continued to make preparations for the coming winter.  Glenn, Maggie, and some others have gone on a scrounging trip for a couple of weeks, while the rest of the town has gone on with their life as usual.  It looks like the trenches have been dug, the fences have been buttressed with vehicles, and Rick has been having regular meetings with his ‘inner circle’ to discuss matters like small-scale farming and food supply.

On the surface, this doesn’t sound like the most exciting comic, but it continues to work very well.  It’s rare in zombie comics and movies to see any attention paid to the mechanics of rebuilding, and I for one find that to be a fascinating topic.  Of course, it also gives Kirkman the chance to check in on a number of characters.  Sophia is slowly becoming less crazy as she gets older, finally admitting that she knows that Maggie and Glen are not her parents.  Carl and Rick are continuing to have problems, as Carl adjusts to life after his injury, and appears to suffer a very normal amount of anger and self-pity.  And then there’s the blossoming relationship between Rick and Andrea, which is handled exceptionally well.

And, of course, just as we begin to wonder if there is going to be less action in this comic as it becomes more about making the Community a permanent settlement, Kirkman tosses in the uncertainty of the last two pages, promising exciting things to come.  I love this comic.

Xenoholics #2

Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Seth Damoose

Where the first issue was kind of fun, and showed some good potential, this second issue really shifts into a higher gear, and proves that everyone comparing this title to Chew is probably correct.  Xenoholics is about an AA-style group for people who are alien abduction survivors.  In the first issue, we learned who the various members of the group are, and some of their secrets (one of them is a reporter looking to earn their trust for an article he’s writing).  Things take a sudden turn though when crop circles appear in the pavement of Times Square, and the kindly professor who runs the group goes missing.

Now, with this second issue, the group members go to the Professor’s apartment to investigate, and conclude from the hole in the wall, that he’s been abducted.  Their investigation is quickly interrupted by the mysterious Agent Wax, who claims to be from the FBI (and is probably of no relation to the Agent Wax who was in Wildcats 3.0).

That meeting doesn’t go well, and one of the group, a famous boxer, knocks him out.  Our heroes take refuge in a cosplay sci-fi sex fetish club that they discover the Professor frequents, and set about planning their next move.  The club scenes are really pretty funny, and have backgrounds worthy of study (although I don’t want to know what that Yeti was doing).

I like the way Williamson has set up this story, with plenty of intrigue and shadowy cabals, coupled with the fact that just about every cast member in this book is lying about something.  Much like Chew, this looks to be a series with some legs, and enough story potential to last a while.  Damoose’s art is really growing on me too.

Quick Takes:

Avengers #19 – Once again, not a whole lot happens here, but we do get a few new team members who are favourites of mine (I’m most excited about the character from Secret Warriors who joins up), but I’m very sick of the glacial pace of this comic.  Also, if both Avengers books are just about Norman Osborn again, how are they not more closely tied together?  I feel like Bendis is out of ideas, and just running on fumes here.

Avengers Academy #22 – Usually this is a book that I praise to no end, but I feel like this issue is a bit of a misstep.  While investigating the ‘murder’ of Jocasta, whose death goes strangely unmourned by the students, Pym discovers electromagnetic energy, which becomes an excuse to call in Magneto and the X-Men.  Predictably, this leads to a fight between the students and the X-Men, in a scene which feels familiar, because it happened last issue when the kids attacked the senior Avengers.  It’s too soon for another issue like this, and we’ve now gone two issues without introducing the other new students in any meaningful way.  There are still a couple good moments though, such as when Hazmat calls Julie Power out for being gay.

Batman #3 – There can not be any doubt that Scott Snyder is writing some of the best Batman comics of recent years, giving us a run that is standing up to some of the best of Grant Morrison’s work in terms of concept, and being much more approachable and digestible.  He’s choosing to make this Bat-title stand out from the rest by focusing on the city of Gotham, allowing it to be a character in the story in ways that we haven’t seen before.  This issue reveals some cool secrets about the Court of Owls that really appeal to me.  I’m also finding myself beginning to like Greg Capullo’s art, which is the biggest surprise this month.  I’d still much rather see what someone like Francesco Francavilla (Snyder’s sometime collaborator on Detective Comics before the relaunch) would have done with this, but Capullo’s work is becoming more acceptable.

Blue Beetle #3 – There’s an improvement this month, as this title starts to move into new territory with Jaime and the Scarab not getting along, but the story is still way too close to that of the previous Blue Beetle run for my liking.  Also, I’m questioning why, with almost all other characters redesigned for the relaunch, and updated, the people at DC didn’t just retire the Brotherhood of Ugly Villains.  Has Warp ever been cool, in even one comic?  Adding a 90s-weaponed giant gorilla named Silverback doesn’t help matters.

Captain America #4 – This issue is neither bad nor good.  I feel like this arc should have been an Astonishing Captain America mini-series in that it has no ties to recent continuity, and is so stand-alone as to have rendered itself completely disposable.  More and more I’m looking forward to Brubaker and Guice working on the Winter Soldier series, since the Bucky Cap series was so much more interesting than this.

Fear Itself #7.3 – I can understand the impulse to make a cross-over ‘event’ book huge by really mucking around with a shared fictional world.  To make an event seem huge, the urge to do something like destroy a city must be great – let’s say by doing something like having an anti-Asgardian power-infused B-list super-villain turn everyone in a city like Paris to stone.  Cool visuals, a horrific concept to consider, and perhaps a bit of anti-French sentiment left over from the last decade, all accomplished in one move.  Now that the event is over though, there’s the problem that the Marvel universe must always reflect our own world, where Paris is still standing and fully populated.  So, what is a writer to do?  Oh, here’s a thought, maybe he should invent some reason why the patriarch of a race of gods who has just left the Earth would come back, and fix everything to teach another character a lesson.  But you know, not also bring his son back to life at the same time.  Between this, and the sudden resurrection of Bucky Barnes some three minutes after Marvel killed him off, Marvel proves that event comics are even less relevant than they used to be.  That’s cool, because I don’t think I want to buy them anymore.  Thanks for helping with that decision Marvel.  (For the record, I usually love Fraction and Larroca on Iron Man, and hope that now that Fear Itself is over, I will love that again).

Mudman #1 – I’ve liked Paul Grist’s work since he did a Grendel Tales story way back in the day, but I’ve always been a little intimidated by Jack Staff and its long history, and haven’t liked the format of the first stories in that series (the ones that are in 4 or 6-page chapters).  With Mudman, we’re given the chance to start a new Grist series at the ground floor, and it’s a very good superhero comic.  A British teenager exploring a supposedly-abandoned house ends up with some strange mud-based abilities.  Not much is clear in this issue story-wise, except that this is the beginning of what promises to be an exceptional new series.

New Mutants #34 – I find I’m really enjoying this new direction for New Mutants, as the team moves into their new digs, and try to adjust to living like ‘regular folks’ (albeit ones who apparently have a Blackbird stashed somewhere close-by, which isn’t explained).  I worry about the reliance of tracking down 90s characters as a plot device, and have never had any love for Blink, but the story still seems like it’s going to be interesting.  I like Lopez’s art on this title.

Planet of the Apes #8 – I’m still stunned by how much I’m enjoying this comic.  I think it’s getting better each month (definitely the art is, and it was great at the beginning).  This issue is a pretty action-filled one, as last minute negotiations between the humans and the apes fail, leading to a massive ape invasion of Skintown.  The pacing and structure of this story has been wonderful.

Thunderbolts #165 – More WWII Thunderbolts fun (Namor and Satanna have the best time) in this conclusion to the Invaders’ guest appearance.  I’m not sure where this book is headed next – if we’re going to continue to stay on the escaped in time Tbolts, or if we’ll be returning to the present, but I am enjoying the sense of fun that Jeff Parker is bringing to the title.

Venom #9 – This works as a nice epilogue to Spider-Island, showing us where Flash’s mind is in the wake of his father’s death, as he Venoms out to deal with a guy in an unstoppable tank who is taking advantage of the chaos in Manhattan to rob banks.  I’m not clear how, if his army bosses are watching him on satellite, they don’t deal with him letting the suit take over, or insist that he come back to base to get rid of the suit later.  It feels like some of the constraints Remender put on this character are slipping.

Wonder Woman #3 – Azzarello and Chiang are killing it on this book, and have made one of the largest changes to a character to happen in the DC Relaunch.  Really, I’m surprised that no one has ever wanted to tackle the question of Diana’s mythic birth in this manner before, and it does make have a lot of interesting implications for this character.  This issue also answers another question I’ve had about Azzarello’s work on 100 Bullets.  Throughout the scenes on the beach of Paradise Island, the panels include, and often even focus on, two crabs who are fighting amid the Amazonian funeral.  100 Bullets is full of odd visual choices like this, but I always assume that they were unscripted and added by artist Eduardo Risso.  Now, I’m not so sure.

X-Factor #227 – This is a pretty standard issue of X-Factor.  There’s some jokes, perhaps a little more fighting than usual, followed by some quips.  Peter David tacks on a predictable ending, and then gives us a very bizarre twist on the last page that has me curious for the next issue.  This title really just chugs along on its own steam quite nicely.

Comics I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4:

Amazing Spider-Man #674

Incredible Hulk #2

Key of Z #2

Legion of Monsters #2

Ultimate Comics X-Men #3

X-Men #21

Bargain Comics:

Avengers Solo #1 – I used to love Solo Avengers back in the day, but having Hawkeye work a mystery case doesn’t really fit well with his character.  Also, with some thousand Avengers around, why give the back-up in this book to a team that already has its own book?  I mean, a story about the Avengers Academy, spotlighting at least three characters, doesn’t fit my definition of ‘solo’.  There is nothing here that makes me want to get the second issue.

Batwing #2 & 3 – I find myself enjoying this book much more than I did with the first issue.  Judd Winnick is remembering that this book is set in Africa, even if it is just the civil war-ridden and child soldier plagued Africa that is all we usually see in the West, and I’m curious to learn more about The Kingdom, a defunct African Justice League.  Ben Oliver’s art is bothering me though – too few backgrounds and too many silhouettes.

Birds of Prey #2 – I wasn’t all that impressed with the first issue, but I thought I’d give the series a second chance.  There’s nothing really wrong with this book, but there’s also nothing about it that I find all that interesting.  Starling has some potential as a character, replacing some of the skill sets that Oracle had in the first version of this comic, but without the strong friendship between Barbara and Dinah, this title feels as generic as the stealth suit bad guys.

Fear Itself: The Fearless #2 – I think this book is doing a good job of showing us why Valkyrie never got her own title, as a trio of usually decent writers can think of nothing better to do with this hammer-quest snorefest than to toss vampires into the mix.  Because putting vampires in comics is cool…

Irredeemable #27 & 28 – So now the Plutonian is back on Earth, trashing cities again, and for no reason?  Didn’t we read that already?  I’m not sure how much life is left in this title; it seems to be turning back on itself, and I’m losing interest.

Legion of Super-Heroes #2 – I imagine I’m going to keep returning to this book, despite the fact that it never quite rises above mediocre.  I love the Legion, but find that what Paul Levitz is doing with it is not very interesting right now.  Shunting a bunch of characters into the past hasn’t helped trim the fat in this book, which keeps much from happening in any given issue.  I do like Portela’s art, but I’m just not getting into the story.

Six Guns #1 – A while ago, I would have been excited at the thought of a modern day Western comic by Andy Diggle and Davide Gianfelice, but then they did Daredevil Reborn together, and it was incredibly lackluster.  In that sense, this comic was surprisingly good, although for a book about six guns, they probably should have introduced more than three of them in the first issue.  I imagine it’s going to be a very long time before we see another book like this from Marvel again, as they seem to be contracting rapidly, so I guess I should pick up the rest of this run.

Teen Titans #1 & 2 – I have to say that I’m a little pleasantly surprised by this book (I think that Scott Lobdell’s time away from the mainstream was good for him, as Superboy is pretty decent as well), and if I avoid all the logic bombs this incarnation of the TT is setting off across the DCnU, and that there is a main character named Skitter, I could see reading this comic again.  Booth’s art has not aged as well as Lobdell’s writing though.  Also, I don’t really understand where Red Robin stands in relation to the Bat-Family in this book.  He seems pretty free with taking his mask off…

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Echo Vol. 5: Black Hole

by Terry Moore

A few weeks ago when I wrote about Volume 4 of Echo, I commented that the story had taken a swing in a different direction.  Well, things are getting even stranger now that I’ve reached Volume 5.

Moore’s story is still firmly grounded in strong character work, but the villainy of the people at HeNRI, the company that has been pursuing Julie, is getting stranger and stranger, as the scientist Hong Liu captures Julie and Ivy, forcing Annie, the test pilot and scientist who created the alloy suit that Julie is now wearing, to take control of the situation.

There are other strange changes afoot as well.  To begin with, Julie’s entire body is changing as a result of her wearing the suit, and Ivy, the secret agent, is regressing in age.  All of these changes work within the context of the story, and help to build it towards its climax in the next volume, but the revelation that the crazy old guy who has also been chasing Julie may be a figure from the Old Testament rather stretches things too far.

Really, it’s a testament to Moore’s strong handle on these characters that I’m still so eager to see where this goes, when that particular turn of events hit.  Echo is a great comic, but I’m starting to wonder if all these new elements were in Moore’s original plan for the story, or if he was driving without a map at this point.


Written by David Axe
Art by Steven Olexa

War-Fix is the last of the books that I picked up when I went out west this summer (yes, I am that far behind on my reading). I grabbed it in a used bookstore in Vancouver because it looked interesting.  As anyone who has read my reviews know, I have a thing for war comics, and am always interested in contemporary interpretations of war in comics.  I hadn’t realized that the writer was the same person who wrote War is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World’s Worst War Zones, which I read about a year ago.

I quickly figured out that there was a relation here, as while I was reading this I was struck by some pretty strong comic book deja vu.  The two books are thematically very similar.  Axe’s contention is that war is addictive, and simultaneously very boring, and as a reporter, he finds himself highly motivated to seek out combat situations.

In this book, Axe talks his way to an embed in Iraq, where he plans to cover the war.  He sees some action, but also spends a lot of time sitting around thinking about things.  I felt like not much happens in this book – it really only comes alive when Axe is speaking to a journalist for the BBC, who has covered some twenty wars in twenty years, and was almost executed in Croatia.

A big part of the problem with this book was that Olexa’s page designs can be hard to follow.  This is a smaller, square-bound book, so double-page spreads have a habit of disappearing into the fold in the centre, making them difficult to recognize as double-page spreads.  And there really are a lot of double-page spreads.

This is an interesting book, but in the end not terribly memorable, and not as good as the more recent War is Boring.

Wet Moon Vol. 4: Drowned in Evil

by Ross Campbell

I’ll confess that I don’t even begin to understand the power that this comic has over me.  I’ve never been interested in punk, goth, emo anything, have never thought for a moment that piercings are cool (and only rarely have felt that way about tattoos), and usually would have little to no interest about the minutiae of the lives of a bunch of poly-sexual 18-21 year-olds attending college (occasionally) and hanging out with one another (unless the book is Scott Pilgrim).  And yet, this is the fourth time I’ve started a volume of Wet Moon and read it compulsively until it was finished.

Ross Campbell gets a lot of credit for creating such an interesting and compelling comic.  Really, very little happens in this issue – Cleo tells her friends that she is ‘with’ Myrtle, but then kisses Mara at a comics convention.  Mara sucks at babysitting monster children, the cat comes back, and Cleo starts her job.  That’s about it in terms of plot development.  Well, that and the appearance of a vigilante called The Unknown who stalks the campus parks keeping young women safe.

The strength of this comic lies in the steady succession of strong character moments.  Characters’ lives feel like real peoples’ lives (more or less), and watching them react to a number of both quotidian and strange events is fun, and vaguely voyeuristic.  This feeling is enhanced by the liberal use of Cleo’s journal, or Mara’s Livejournal to recap events and put a more personal spin on them.  While I don’t think I’d like many of these people in real life, I find that I do like reading about them.

The biggest strength of the book is of course Campbell’s art.  I’ve written before about how he draws real women with real women’s bodies, but also seems to enjoy indulging in an attraction for amputees, piercings, and tattoos.  This is a pretty sexy comic.

The best part about this volume though, has to be the cameo by Becky Cloonan.  She is immediately recognizable, and seeing her in the comics convention scene was a treat.

Album of the Week:

Zara McFarlane – Until Tomorrow

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