For the first time in a long time I didn’t do any work on the house yesterday evening, and instead sat back with a glass or two of wine to enjoy a nice (virtual) stack of new comics.
This was fun, and better than the first issue, I think. I always enjoy these kinds of stories - involving powerful, apparently-benevolent outsiders coming to change the world - and it’s fun to see Hitch play with some of the tropes.
Despite this being a team book, I also appreciated the focus on a relatively small core cast of characters, with Wonder Woman and Aquaman getting just short appearances, and Hal and Barry more or less out of the picture altogether. Hitch writes a good Batman (although a bit too cold and vicious at one point), and Superman’s reaction to Rao, and their conversations together, made for some of the most interesting parts of the issue.
I also enjoyed Aquaman’s views on theology, and the various scenes that showed the world’s reaction to the presence of a god among them (and how this would be viewed as different to the superheroes that they’re familiar with).
Oh, and the art was lovely. I’m really warming to Hitch’s designs for the team - which fall somewhere between the classic and modern - and I love the design of Rao’s spacecraft, which got some of the standout images of the issue. The colouring on the sunset splashpage in particular was amazing. Even with relatively little in the way of big action setpieces, things felt dynamic and exciting.
After the first issue, I wasn’t sure whether to buy this monthly or wait for the collection. But for now I think I’ll keep following it in singles.
After the slow pace of the first issue, things… well, stay pretty slow here, as Moore gradually builds towards revealing some of the slightly more fantastical elements of his story.
I appreciated the character focus of the opening section (which gets fleshed out even more in the backmatter), and the way that tension is built towards the end of the issue works very well - partly through the smart use of different panel grids to the rest of the story, as things start to become more unhinged.
But there’s still nothing here to quite match the satisfyingly disturbing weirdness of Neonomicon, and I’m starting to find the literary references and historical discussion a bit overwhelming of the story (there’s a sense at times that the characters are mouthpieces for literature lectures rather than distinct personalities in their own right). And the backmatter gets even more deeply into this stuff, after what I thought was some great character development in the first issue’s diary excerpts.
In the end, I wonder whether this may end up being similar to Promethea: as much a forum for Moore’s musings on philosophy, history, literature and the supernatural as a story in its own right. While that’s not a terrible thing (I loved Promethea), it wasn’t quite what I expected from the follow-up to Neonomicon.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2:
Can we just have Slott on a married-Spider-Man book permanently? I love the family dynamics of this story, and the plot is a bit tighter and more focused here than the first issue (despite still fitting in plenty of nods to the wider MU).
I’m glad that they’re immediately dealing with the fallout from the first issue’s story rather than leaving it brewing in the background for too long, and I’m interested to see where the story goes next. Peter has been involved in stories like this before - including some fairly similar developments here to some of the things we saw circa Civil War - but the new family setup adds a distinctive flavour to this one. And Kubert’s art is very solid throughout, with lots of great double-page layouts that make good use of the wider ratios.
A strangely anticlimactic conclusion to this arc separates some characters and reunites others, in the traditional Saga style, while throwing up some new developments for others. It’s still a fun book on a moment-to-moment basis, but I’m feeling a bit of a lag in the overall momentum of the story, and I have to confess that I feel totally indifferent to the ‘cliffhanger’ of this issue.
This is a good time for the book to have a hiatus, I think - we’ve talked before about some of the audience getting burned-out on the series, and while I think it’s still enjoyable, I think a break will help it to feel fresher again when it comes back.