RandoMonday: Alpha Flight #27

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

alpha flight 27

 

Alpha Flight #27 by John Byrne, Keith Williams, Andy Yanchus, Rick, Parker, and Dennis O’Neil

The first 2+ years of Alpha Flight volume 1 was sooo good. It had great characters, stories, art, and superhero angst, which this issue delivered. We have already learned that that the just returned Guardian, whom we thought dead for the last year, is in fact Delphine Courtney, an android intent on destroying Alpha Flight. In the ruckus, “Guardian” takes Shaman’s medicine pouch and turns it inside out, unleashing the mysterious void inside. Nearly all of Alpha Flight is trapped inside, and it is up to Shaman and Talisman to save them. But tragedy strikes when Shaman is unable to help his daughter escape the void before it returns to the pouch, trapping his daughter inside.

Say what you will about Byrne as a person, he did a great job of producing comic books. This issue is very wordy, yet Byrne’s draftsmanship doesn’t make the pages feel overly crowded and the art doesn’t suffer for it either. His depiction of the void as it unleashed in our dimension is simple but interesting visually. Also, the look on Shaman’s face at the very end is soap operatic, but I still feel for the guy (and knowing what comes later makes it even more distressful). I stopped collecting this series with issue 30, so I don’t know if the book’s quality was maintained after Byrne left. Let me know if I should read more!

What do you think of this issue?

RandoMonday: Lazarus #24

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

lazarus 24

Lazarus #24 by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Tyler Boss, Santi Arcas, and Jodi Wynne

“Cull”, part 3. Corporal Casey Solomon is called up for Dagger duty to help the Carlyle family take out the Rausling family. Forever Carlyle confronts her “father” about knowing the truth of her situation: that she is not Carlyle’s biological daughter and that the family drugs her to keep her in line. Mr. Carlyle and the family discuss what to do about this, deciding to increase the drug regimen Forever will take in order to keep her loyal to the family. Her “sister”, Johanna, disagrees, wanting to tell Forever the truth, so against her father’s word, she takes Forever to a lab filled with vats full of body parts.

I recall that the “Cull” storyline was where things ramped up significantly plot-wise, and I quite enjoyed the new status quo, the effects of which are still being felt and dealt with now in Lazarus: Risen. This is also where I really doubted my presumptions about Johanna — was she using the truth with Forever just to gain and keep power in the family, or did she truly care about Forever, or perhaps it is both? I still don’t know the answer, and I love that! With family, things are rarely resolved, and we often just accept the situation and move on with our lives. This is one of the aspects of this title that I love so much.

What do you think of this issue?

RandoMonday: Astro City #47

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

astro city 47

Astro City #47 by Kurt Busiek, Mike Norton, John Roshnell, Sarah Jacobs, Peter Pantazis, and Alex Ross

I chose this story (issues 47-48) as one of my favorites for 2017. In fact, as I said in that podcast episode, this story made me cry. If you love dogs, and you read this story, you know what I’m talking about. Busiek really knows how to get you in the feels and to turn well-trodden tropes on their collective ears. Plus Mike Norton’s work for this story made me wish he did more with Mr. Busiek on this title. I would definitely buy an ongoing of the adventures of G-Dog!

Have you read this wonderful story? What do you think?

RandoMonday: Adventure Comics #369

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

 

Adventure Comics 369

Adventure Comics #369 by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan, Jack Abel, Gaspar Saladino, Charlotte Jetter, and Neal Adams

I first read this story in Limited Collectors’ Editions (the tabloid comics DC Comics put out in the mid to late 1970s) #C-49. It was probably one of the first Legion comics I read (after Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #254 and DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #8) and what a whopper! Mordru escapes his prison and some Legion members go on the run to the past, specifically Smallville in Superboy’s time. They take on alternate identities and even fight crime, all while trying to evade Mordru’s gaze, but the issue ends with their efforts foiled. What happens next?!

I like how the story starts in media res and then we get a flashback explaining what happened, along with nearly three pages of back story in case you didn’t know who Mordru is and his impact on the Legion (hint: he’s one bad mutha!). What I really enjoy about this issue is watching the Legionnaires infiltrate Smallville residents’ homes — it was a simpler time when someone’s word was enough for you to be welcome, even if they were lying to your face. There’s also Shadow Lass in white skin makeup again (I wonder if readers of this issue thought this is where she might perish?) and Duo Damsel flirting with Superboy (she really settled for Bouncing Boy, huh?). And it is Lana Lang who betrays them all!

If you haven’t read this story and you’re curious, you can find it in the aforementioned Limited Collectors’ Edition, in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8, or on the DC Universe app.

RandoMonday: Queen and Country v1

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

 

Queen and Country v1 by Rucka, Rolstan, Luth, Sakai, and Konot.

I love spy stories, whether it’s James Bond, Atomic Blonde, Red Sparrow, or Velvet. And if one of my favorite writers is involved, even better. I’ve had this digital trade for a while now and the randomizer got me to read this finally.

The story itself is simple: British SIS spy Tara Chace assassinates a retired Russian general, Odessa wants revenge and attacks the SIS HQ, killing a couple agents, SIS Director of Ops wants revenge and works against MI5’s operation to apprehend those responsible, and Chace is used as bait by MI5 to draw out the Odessa assassins.

I don’t know why, but I expected a grander story (I blame James Bonditis), but there’s certainly nothing wrong with what we got in this first trade, though I would have liked a bit more personality/characterization. Most of what we see is only in relation to the characters’ jobs, but maybe that was the point: their jobs are all-consuming.

Rolstan’s art also is fine, but the simple, almost cartoony quality of it, for me, detracts from the tone the story is trying to evoke. It doesn’t help when you see the Tim Sale covers–I would have loved to see this comic drawn by Sale.

The question for me now is do I buy the next collection?

What did you think of this comic book?