Wednesday Comments – I Want More Ivan Brandon

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I dig the DC Comics Relaunch, I really do. Wonder Woman and Batwoman are two new books that I love, while Batman & Robin and Green Lantern didn’t lose any momentum with the relaunch. Action Comics and Batman also impress. I could go on, but it’s kind of late and I’d like to get to bed at a decent hour.

But there are some things that I miss about the Pre-Flashpoint DCU. Obviously I’m sad at the devastation of the Flash Family. Wally West was one of my favorite characters and the fact that he’s never existed causes my blood to boil, if I choose to dwell on it. I also miss Max Mercury, Jay Garrick and Jesse Quick.

However there are smaller joys that I’m missing. One such joy is Ivan Brandon’s work with Tom Tresser.

It started with Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape which featured Tom Tresser aka Nemesis trapped in Electric City a prisoner of the Global Peace Agency. It was a riddle of a mini that was so enjoyable to read. Not only was the art, by Cliff Richards and Marco Rudy perfectly crafted, but the story was mind-bending full of twists and turns. In fact some of the dialogue was even redacted, which added to the perplexing nature of the mini.

Escape would have been cool enough with that, but it also had Captain Vertigo and Cameron Chase along for the ride with was really just dipping the thing in awesomeness.

Escape was also a pretty divisive book; either you loved it or you hated. I happened to be a huge fan, so when the follow up, Nemesis: The Impostors, was announced I was totally onboard from jump.

While The Imposters was another enjoyable ride full of mistrust and instability, It was very much a follow up and continuation of the story that Brandon had begun with Escape. And it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, which gave everyone who read it high hopes that we’d get another sequel and perhaps some closure.

But then the DC Comics Relaunch happened. I’m pretty sure that Nemesis hasn’t been seen since.

Brandon’s work with Nemesis was some of the most bold and inventive comic work that I’ve seen in quite awhile. I’m a dude who used to write a Q&A column on the trivia and minutia of the DCU and both Escape and The Imposters had me befuddled, in the most entertaining way. I couldn’t wait for things to be unraveled. And apparently they’ll never fully be unraveled.

So, while the DC Comics Relaunch may have reinvigorate the line and perhaps the entire industry, it also very likely scuttled one the rare gems that DC had published in the past few years.

But that’s not the only work of Brandon’s that I’m sorely missing.

I remember reading a blub for Viking where Brandon referenced Deadwood. Now, as someone who loved Deadwood, watched every episode and purchased the complete series on dvd, I was interested in this book.

So I picked it up and was smitten. Nic Klein’s art was arresting and Brandon’s story and characters were so well crafted that I wondered why everyone wasn’t in love with the book. I also loved that the book was presented in the Golden Age format, with bigger pages. It was just a fine example of Image Comics at their best.

Of course when Brandon got more gigs at DC, and brought Klein along with him, Viking never returned for a second arc. I was heartbroken.

Since then I’ve enjoyed Brandon’s work on the First Wave. I tried out his Men of War, but the art really did nothing for me. Maybe I’ll give it a second chance around con time. I’m almost certainly going to get my Brandon fix via Cross Bronx trades in the near future.

It’s just that the two stories I want Brandon to return to, Nemesis and Viking, don’t seem to be anywhere on his horizon. And that makes me sad. Hopefully, one day, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Well, since it’s Wednesday, I suggest you visit your local comic shop and buy some fresh comics.