BEST OF WEEK: CASANOVA: AVARITIA #4—Fraction, Bá, Peter, and Dharbin keep the pedal all the way down on this one, and the result is a magnificent, furious ride that it is much easier to experience than fully understand. I reread all 96 pages of AVARITIA right before hitting this one for the first time and the experience kind of made me lose my mind. Not sure how rational I can make any sort of critical analysis of this monster. Um. My favorite page was when Cass got all meta- and mentioned the fact that they’re on their second publisher and then the next panel was Charles Dickens providing context and four out of the five panels had the words “fuck,” “fucking,” or "motherfucker" in them. And then Newman Xeno just disappeared when he got unwrapped while plummeting from the sky over the city? And Kaito shot Cornelius Quinn in the head, even though the narrator told us in #1 that he dies from cancer sometime after this series? And Cass escaped to otherwhen in some kind of futureship? And but Sabine inverted this volume’s opening mission and set about killing all the Casanovas? Only one Casanova, “ours,” the one from Earth-919 or was it 909? made it through and crashed somewhere where there’s a guy who’s maybe another Kaito and has my friend Paul’s Nirvana shirt? I think that’s what happened? This book is what it’s like inside of me and I just want to hold it close and keep it safe from all the world.
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6—Man, all right, now this is how you do it. Coipel’s presence makes all the difference, this suddenly this feels like the monumental thing that it always should have. The Phoenix-Men are going all Super-Authority on the world, fixing shit right up! The last line is priceless and confirms my dearest hopes that this entire thing is just going to eat itself backwards all the way to the start of Bendis’s run. We’ve got Wanda on hand, did the FEAR ITSELF thing last issue and but skipped the Skrull action to jump right back to the inversion of the end of HOUSE OF M. Here’s hoping Cap is a Skrull, I guess.
THE NEW AVENGERS #28—The flashback resolves into the present and Bendis drops in the Marvel character that he arguably writes best out of nowhere, and it is a perfect fit. Would love a whole arc with these two, but bet we’ll just see them pal around next issue. Oh, what quips they’ll thwip!
DAREDEVIL #14—This Paolo Rivera cover is a bitter pill to swallow in light of his recent announcement that he’s walking away. This book just keeps chugging right along, though, Chris Samnee’s second issue is as strong as the first. Another perfectly compelling done-in-one with high stakes, a forehead-slappingly obvious threat (sense-devouring nanites!) and a cliffhanger that has us all balled up, worried about What Happens Next. Waid can apparently do no wrong.
SAGA #4—All right, the born-and-raised-in-the-20th-century slang is REALLY getting to me. For all the sweeping space opera drama, BKV is displaying no range whatsoever in terms of characterization through dialogue. Marco & Alana are barely distinguishable from Yorick & 355. Or not at all. I can almost let the little ghost girl slide for sounding like a mallrat, but when that The Will fellow walks into a room and drops a BKV-trademark, “The hell are we?” dropping the opening interrogative, it really really grates. EX MACHINA didn’t sound just exactly like Y THE LAST MAN. Staples is still tearing it up, killer colors on Sextillion in particular, this issue. And of course, I totally screwed it up, immediately put down #2 and jammed out answers to that entire survey, but since it was supposed to be sent to an actual real-life in the physical world address address, I never printed it up and made it happen and now I will never achieve letter-column immortality in this title. Or at least this issue.
GLORY #27—A fast but ferocious read, Campbell continues to absolutely burn it down, what a lunatic. Great flip, of course Glory’s the monster. I wonder how the little girl can possibly stop her without getting her face eated off.
WONDER WOMAN #10—Paging Cliff Chiang. Paging Cliff Chiang.
FABLES #118—Ready for this arc to be over, feels like we’ve been coasting for a bit too long now. With DC’s reboot and Marvel’s compulsive title cancellation/renumbering, this is suddenly the run that I’ve been picking up for the longest time, which gives it a bit more slack and generosity than it might otherwise have earned, but it feels like Willingham’s been spending a little bit too long polishing his Eisners or sharpening his prose to fully dial in, here. Or, hey, maybe he didn’t have but nine years of thunder in him, which would be understandable. But we need to crank this one up, treading all kinds of water, I’ve been bored for longer than I think I realized.
THE UNWRITTEN #38—This one too, man, just coasting after all that alternating .1 destruction in the fist half of the 30s. Let’s get the next arc going, power up for the homestretch, yah?
COMEDIAN #1—I couldn’t believe how great this was, it actually took the reread to fully process exactly how much razor-sharp dialogue action Azzarello has going on in these pages. He completely subverts expectations by making a couple of really quite brilliant choices that make the book so much more enjoyable than I would have thought possible. If Moore really and truly meant for that aside about no one asking where Blake was the day Kennedy was shot as definitive explicit canon, not just braggadocio, then you know what, strike me dead, but I far far prefer this version. I mean, the one thing anybody’s looking for is for Blake to rape somebody before the issue’s over, and it’s pretty apparent that we did get that one out of the way with Norma Jean off-panel, but that last page is so out-of-left-field and perfect, it, well, it certainly doesn’t redeem the character, but when taken with all that jocularity, Blake as the fourth Kennedy brother (and out-ranking Teddy, at that), it’s powerful powerful stuff. I am concerned that of all the series, this one’s six not four issues. You could argue that old J.G. Jones has plenty of lead-time and won’t need a fill-in, but they announced FINAL CRISIS ten months before the first issue hit the stands and seems like he needed Pachecho and Mahnke to start pitching in on #5. Here’s hoping he makes it all the way down the stretch. Without CASANOVA, this would have been my Best of Week, no problem, a stunning 3 for 3 these past weeks that I never could have predicted in a thousand years. Though JMS is all but certain to knock that average down next week. We live in hope!