We’re back this week with another look at what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately; we’ve been sheltering in place with several vigilantes, some sci fi characters and a girl that talks to squirrels. Now that’s a party …
One of the best things I like about Daredevil is that the character is so versatile. You can have the hard boiled Frank Miller version, the devil with a smile Joe Kelly version, the meet-in-the-middle version full of confidence from Mark Waid, the current full-of-doubt version that Zdarsky is writing now. Which is why I really enjoyed my reading this past week.
I read all of Charles Soule and Ron Garney’s run on the character, as well as most of Waid’s runs with both Samnee and the tag team of Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin. Two different runs and two different takes, but they all fit. Of particular interest during these runs is Soule and Garney’s crossover with the Inhumans, how they investigate crime and the dealings between NY and Attilan. Soule and Garney made a deeply disturbing villain in the middle of their arc with Muse, a serial killer that makes art from his victims. Reading both of these runs had me itching for more so I’m revisiting Bendis’, Brubaker’s, and Diggle’s runs as well. No matter what version of Daredevil you read, it’s become one of Marvel’s most inventive books, always worth picking up.
This week I finished the final collection of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, written by Ryan North, drawn by Derek Charm and Erica Henderson, and colored by Rico Renzi. The last four issues are a sort of big-event-in-a-nutshell (not sorry) involving a team of mega-baddies against Doreen Green and pals. This means evil genius Melissa Morbeck pulling together Doctor Doom, Fin Fang Foom, Dormammu (not to be confused with Dorm Ammu, who hangs out in on-campus housing), et al., throwing down with Team Squirrel in Central Park. As usual, the climax features talking through one’s feelings; and the power of friendship is celebrated more than it is mocked. This is only fitting for a series which doubled down on genuine human emotions and treating people like people, even when they’re trying to kill you and/or take over and/or eat the Earth and/or other planets. Funny, moving, and thrilling in equal measure.
Next I read a whole bunch of Mister Miracle comics from the end of Jack Kirby’s original series (issues #10-18) to get ready for the Mister Miracle revival hardcover I got a couple of weeks ago. Said hardcover begins with three Bob Haney/Jim Aparo issues of Brave and the Bold which team up Scott Free and Batman (issues #112, #128 and #138). These were some fast reads, perhaps because they focused so much on him being trapped and then, inevitably, escaping. Not much room for contemplation there, because it’s not like he’s being buried alive for three days – more like “OH NO WALL OF FLAMES” and then “oh hey, he’s there across the room.” Also, is it wrong to say that I got about as much energy from the Haney/Aparo issues as I did from Kirby? Anyway, still very entertaining, and I am looking forward to seeing what the revival’s creative folks did with the Fourth World.
It was a pretty busy week, so I didn’t get near as much reading done as I usually do, but I did get through several single issues that were sitting on the “to read” pile.
First up was the first two issues of Batman: The Adventure Continues, the new digital-first series by Paul Dini, Alan Burnett and Ty Templeton. I was a big fan of all the various cartoons that sprung from the original Batman: The Animated Series, and it’s been fun to revisit that world again. These first two issues involve Batman, a giant robot and Lex Luthor, and they don’t disappoint. These guys haven’t lost a step on this rendition of the character.
I also grabbed the first issue of Lost on Planet Earth, the new comiXology Originals series from Magdalene Visaggio, Claudia Aguirre and Zakk Saam. Not only have they done a great bit of world-building here in creating this futuristic version of Earth and its version of Starfleet, but they’ve also given us a compelling lead character, Basil, whose anxiety over her future feels real and relatable. I felt relief myself when she finally made her big decision, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads. The other thing I liked about this was that it felt like a complete story onto itself; if the last page was the end of Basil’s story, I’d feel satisfied … which is saying a lot for the first issue of a five-issue series.