Antonio’s Top 5 Comics of the Week – 03.20.2013

Published on March 26th, 2013

Hey Comic Impact! It’s a Brian K. Vaughan one two combo this week. Read on to find out why.

1.The Private Eye #1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente [PanelSyndicate.com]

privateeyeSo last Monday there were teases for a new project from Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. Over the course of that day images were released from this project that had words like “follow”, “share”, and “like” which we associate with social media like Twitter and Facebook and other things. (The words were in Spanish on some of the teases) These images and words gave us a very small idea when as to what the project was going to be about. It was all very mysterious because we didn’t even get that detailed of a plot synopsis and there was no information on a release date and what company would be releasing it. I thought the long rumored project was just announced and though I found those lacking details strange, I didn’t care because it was a new BKV book.

The following day, Tuesday, I wake up and see all over my Facebook, Twitter, and comic book news sites that the new Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin comic book that was teased the day before is out for digital download right now. No major comic book label, no Comixology, no application to download, just go to the website and buy it directly from the creators, the creators would get the money and you could pay whatever you wanted for the comic. That’s right, brand new material from some of the best in comics and you could pay as little or as much as you wanted. (This guy paid the standard three bucks.) Now we can and probably will talk the implications of these actions at some point in the future because it’s something that needs to be talked about but for right now I’m going to tell you about the comic and why I loved it so much.

The premise of The Private Eye is that in the future there is no internet and that privacy is of the highest importance for the population of the world. Privacy is so important that people aren’t even themselves when they go outside; they wear masks that range from typical masks to animal masks like fish or tigers. In the future there was an event that caused the cloud (not sky clouds) to release all the information people stored on in so that every private or not so private picture, note, indiscretion, became public hence the importance of privacy. It’s a great commentary at our culture right because of how much we put of ourselves on the internet without thinking. (I recently read something where one third of all divorces from last year contained the word “Facebook.”) That’s the idea floating around that will come into play throughout the series. But that is just concept hiding in the true story about what this comic book is actually about, and that it’s a just what the title refers to, a private eye story.

The title works on two levels, one is the obvious, it refers to what kind of story we are going to get, a straight up mystery story with everything that makes these stories classic and worth reading, murder, betrayal, damsels in distress, revenge, all under this cloak of privacy in this futuristic but recognizable world. The second is that it refers to our main character’s job, that he’s a paparazzi and a private investigator. In a world that hides its true face, this is the man that has the skills to seek out information and pictures from people that don’t want that kind of information release, he’s a very small version of big brother, keeping an eye on people that other people pay him for.

I’m going to point out a few more things about what I liked about this comic but I’m going to remain spoiler free on the story itself. The art my Marcos Martin is amazing and very dynamic. The action scenes are filled with excitement and unpredictability which are then enhanced by the gorgeous colors of Muntsa Vicente. Vicente’s colors are what make this book. since this is a digital only comic and I don’t have an iPad, I have to read it on my laptop screen so the comic looks more clean and sharp than it would in print and the colors really pop. They set the atmosphere of this futuristic but not too futuristic world. It reminded me of the reds from Blade Runner but minus the dark noir elements of the film. This world is bright and colorful, no apocalypse here, no depression here, the cloud event ruined lives but like everything that happens, we get past it. My favorite scene was where our main character is talking to a potential client. The back and forth is great dialogue wise, I’m a huge Brian K. Vaughan fan so this was awesome to read, I love that he’s back in comics and he’s trying something new with this book. I loved the scene too because of how it was drawn my Marcos Martin, there is a lot about the office that it’s set in to tell you about this world without having to spell it out for you, there’s a sort of tic for tac in the dialogue that also comes through in the art, and when you read this comic you can totally tell that it’s made for the digital age.

I loved this comic book and I love how I was able to just wake up and buy it the day after it was announced. I’m looking forward to the next chapter and wish it well on its success so that maybe other creators can do something like this. If you’re a fan of either creators it’s worth your time to check this book out because, as for now, digitally might be the only way to get it, and when you can name your own price, how can you pass that up.

 2. Saga #11 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples [Image] 

Saga11This comic book hurt. It hurt because of the things it reminded me of and the things it made me think about. One of the most important things in my life is family. I was born in Chile but left with my family when I was 3, I barely remember it and in the 24 since I’ve left I’ve only gone back twice, and the last time was when I was a senior in high school. Now what I’m going to talk about this issue is a pretty huge spoiler in the comic so if you don’t want to get spoiled, well, you know what to do. This issue continues from last where out group of survivors are trying to escape from The Will. The tree house rocket ship is falling apart and they need to keep it together so they don’t all die. Marko feeds the tree energy to escape and Markos’ father, Barr, uses magic to hold the ship together stressing him out to the point where as soon as they’ve escaped his heart finally gives out. As he was holding the ship together he let loose some regrets that he was holding in because he knew he was going to die.

Marcos and his mother comeback from the engine room and they see Barr on the floor where Alana is trying to give him CPR, to no avail. The next few pages are what get to me and make it such an emotional scene. After Alana says that Barr is dead and she looks up to Marko, Marko is stone faced and we see a flashback of him and his father from when Marko was a little boy. We get a scene of a frustrated Marko falling off a giant cricket and wanting to give up riding it but being encouraged by his father to try again. Basically this is the equivalent of learning how to ride a bike. We’ve all been there and whether it was our father or our mother who taught us, those moments in life when you’re able to accomplish something in front of your parents and they are as happy for you and for being able to teach you and you are happy for doing the task and learning from them, is such an amazing feeling. Fiona Staples captures this moment beautifully, mostly because she’s not making the scene feel forced to try to get you to feel emotional. It’s not made to important to the overall story but made important to Marko who just lost his father. The best part about this scene is that the dialogue in it is Marko’s native language, so unless you’ve cracked that language the dialogue might as well be gibberish, but the brilliance of the scene is that it isn’t gibberish because by the body language and the facial expressions who can make up the dialogue yourself and put yourself into the comic in a way, because most if not all of us have that moment of learning how to ride a bike. It’s one of the most beautiful and emotional scenes I’ve ever seen in a comic book.

3.Nightwing #18 by Kyle Higgins, Juan Jose Ryp, Roger Bonet, and Juan Albarrran [DC]

Nightwing18This is another great issue in a series of great issues where the Batman Family deals with the death of Damian Wayne. There are a few things to mention here so SPOILERS. Besides the big spoiler in that Damian is dead, this issue shows Dick Grayson dealing with the aftermath of Damian’s death by showing Dick talking to him at his grave. What’s most important about this issue is that Higgins is slowing down to take a moment as opposed to what has been happening since the beginning of the book. Higgins has made Dick this guy who jumps around from situation to situation, always looking forward, never looking back kind of attitude, they’ve mentioned this in the comic a few times, and though by then end of the issue there’s another situation to jump into head first there’s at least an issue where he just takes it slow and deals with the situation at hand instead of running.

One of my favorite things about Higgin’s run on the title so far is how he’s been able to incorporate elements, characters, and story lines from Scott Snyder’s Detective run that was done before the New 52 launched. I actually find it strange that DC is letting him use that continuity but I don’t think about it too much because I liked that stuff a lot. I like that Sonia Branch is a supporting character in the book, she’s a great character that has a shared history with Dick Grayson, being the daughter of the man who killed Dick’s parents makes for a sometimes strained relationship. Another big issue that Dick is dealing with right now is aftermath from Death of the Family. Besides the fire that took out the circus there’s another strained relationship when it comes to Batman. They meet up in this issue but it’s strictly business, they don’t talk about Damian and Dick is actually being antagonistic towards Bruce, which I don’t blame him for, but in true Bruce fashion he doesn’t talk about it and just walks away, so swings away. Higgins brings in The Dealer, who auctions off memorabilia, for lack of a better word, from villains and heroes from Gotham City. This character was introduced in Snyder’s Detective run and I found him completely fiendish and I’m glad he’s back to make a small appearance.

Though Dick is dealing with himself and the death of Damian that attitude he has of just looking forward and not back comes to him at the end of the issue. But before I get to that I just want to point this out, Dick is a character that been made to jump from situation to situation without really dealing with the consequences of those situations and it might be his fault and it might not, it depends of the reader. I just know that when I read Nightwing I read it because it’s a good comic but also because I know that it’s different from Batman. Dick is a better person than Bruce, he jumps into things head first because that’s the kind of person he is, he cares about people and puts himself before them so that they don’t get hurt. He’d rather get hurt than see anyone else get hurt, and that’s the difference between Bruce and Dick. Dick is a good person and though it may seem that he doesn’t have time to deal with the fire that took the circus or Damian’s death because there’s always something else that Dick has to do, and that’s his way of dealing with things, just keep looking forward. What he has to look forward to next is pretty exciting and I can’t wait to see what Higgins does with this story. At the end of the issue Dick meets up with Sonia and she shows him an email that she got, in the email we find out that Tony Zucco, Sonia’s father who killed Dick’s parents, is still alive. Yeah. What the fuck!

4.Daredevil #24 by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Javier Rodriguez [Marvel]

dd24The best part of Mark Waid’s Daredevil is how he incorporates Matt’s past and the history of the character into the current version we see today. We see Matt take on a bunch of different roles in this issue, from best and caring friend to Foggy, to charming swash buckling flirty type, to talking science with Hank Pym, to lawyer, to the badass Daredevil can be. And that’s why I enjoyed this issue so much.

We get a glimpse in the first few pages to the villain behind all of Matt’s and Daredevil’s troubles. We don’t get to find out who he is because he’s in what looks like an iron casket but I have my suspicions. I’m not spoiling anything but I’m speculating that it’s Bullseye. We haven’t seen him in a long time, at least not since Daredevil killed him off in Shadowland. The reason I think it’s Bullseye is because of a line of dialogue from Matt where he’s trying to figure out who could be doing this to him, he says “Who have I ticked off enough in my career to come at me this methodically? I start to go down the list. By the time I hit the “B”s…” Yeah, I know it could be a tip of the hat or just a coincidence but I have more. I just want to point out that he used the word methodically, which means precise and who is Bullseye if not precise. Waid has done a great job of taking old and silly characters into complete and total badasses that are a forced to be reckoned with, and why couldn’t he turn Bullseye into this master planner, especially if he’s in that iron casket waiting to heal and be 100% when he finally does go after Daredevil. My last bit of evidence is the tack board that the man in the iron casket is looking at. In the middle of the board is a circle picture of Daredevil and surrounding the pictures are more pictures and newspaper articles that take the shape of a target, with daredevil in the crosshairs. I might be stretching but who knows. One more thing to point out is the way Samnee drew the guy in the iron casket’s eyes. They are dead and they are colored blue. Bullseye has blue eyes, and him having dead eyes is just something that the character has, but also, because he was dead, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m having a lot of fun reading this book and thinking about it. I can’t wait to see the reveal and I know it’s not going to disappoint.

5.Superior Spider-Man #6 by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, and Edgar Delgado  [Marvel]

TheSuperiorSpider-Man6Finally someone has taken noticed of the actions of Doc Spidey. It’s been six issues so far and I think that this is a great time to have some other people, people with weight in the world of super heroics take notice of the changing attitude of Spider-Man. There’s a scene in this comic where the Avengers are talking about him and how much he’s changed and this is what I’m probably going to focus on the most. The Avengers are acknowledging that Spider-Man is changing. He’s more brutal and it’s been confirmed that he did actually kill Massacre in the last issue, I’m about to go on a tangent here. This has nothing to do with Dan Slott’s writing or story on this book because I love it and have been defending it since the start. But how in the hell are the Avengers not more concerned over the fact that Spider-Man killed a guy, we know it’s Doc Ock in there but they don’t. The man that says killing is never the answer, the man who’d rather die than let anyone else die, the man who decreed that no one else is going to die, how does he just kill someone and people not act more concerned over what is happening to him or suspect that something is going on. The point is that Spider-Man would never kill, no matter what good someone’s death will do, he doesn’t kill. That scene in the last issue where Massacre is feeling again and is crying at that moment Spider-Man would have captured him and turned him in and tried to get him help, not kill him. That’s the difference right there.

Thor makes points that Spider-Man is erratic and arrogant and Widow agrees with him but it’s Wolverine who says “Who here doesn’t have blood on their hands?” and is willing to take a wait and see approach to the whole situation. I know that Wolverine is an Avenger and there isn’t much to go on because it’s just a change in attitude but Wolverine pissed me off because he’s assuming everyone is like him when that’s not the case and it’s something that’s been brought up between the two characters in issues past.

The issue does a great job of how slowly but surely Doc Ock is taking over the body of Peter Parker. We are seeing less and less of Blue Peter and more and more of the arrogant, angry, bullied man coming out. He’s acting out on someone for making fun of one of his friends who happens to be a little person, in an over the top sort of way or for taking down The Jester in a brutal way just for humiliating him. He beats on Jester to the point where at the end of the issue we don’t know if he’s alive or not. And hopefully this is where someone takes notice. Peter would never beat on someone to the point of beating them to death just because he got hit in the nuts and humiliated. He would have brushed it off, but this brutal beating is something new and people will take notice.

Antonio Cuneo
Antonio@ComicImpact.com