There is a lot to cover on Wednesdays. We should know, as collectively, we read an insane amount of comics. Even with a large review staff, it’s hard to get to everything. With that in mind, we’re back with Wrapping Wednesday, where we look at some of the books we missed in what was another great week of comics.
Let’s get this party started.
Written by Bill Willingham
Illustrated by Mark Buckingham
Reviewed by David Harper
This is the first issue of the final ten-part arc that will close Willingham and Buckingham’s legendary Vertigo series, and after a very hot stretch, “Fables” fell back a bit with a recent, middling two-issue arc. Did it pick back up here?
While there were good elements, like Medea and Snow’s conversation about how Fabletown’s fate holds in the balance, the collection of witches and mages of Fabletown discussing why they all don’t simply go back home, and everything Bucky (what I call Mark Buckingham) related. It was a decent table setter of an issue, but there were many elements that either felt a little deus ex machina-y or just plain thin. The explanation of Rose Red’s current mental state, the weird tieback to the boxes, and EVERYTHING BIGBY RELATED just kind of made me scrunch my face and say, “no.” Do I think Willingham and Buckingham are going to make this work? Definitely. We have way too much evidence of them doing that. But this felt less like organic storytelling and more like forced movement to start to get the pieces in the places they need to be in before the end.
On top of that, the rather unceremonious and incomplete nature of Flycatcher’s last story was hugely disappointing.
If it weren’t for Buckingham’s art and everything Medea, this would have been a hell of a bust. Here’s hoping everything gets back on track as we progress down the long road to closure.
Final Verdict: 6.0 – an inauspicious first step down the road to the finale
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Phillips and Bettie Breitweiser
Reviewed by Walter Richardson
If you were expecting a lull before the finale, then you have another thing coming. But that’s for the best! As “Fatale” comes to its close, there are still many dangling questions, and in this issue Brubaker sees fit to answer a couple of them. This issue is much more ethereal than previous ones, using a psychedelic frame to give us more of Jo’s history before the hazy dream becomes a nightmare from hell. Brubaker is much better than other writers when it comes to explaining things, as he knows how to not only weave it into the story, but actually make it engaging and exciting. The issue ends with one hell of a cliffhanger, one that makes me wish I had issue #24 in my hands right now.
What makes this issue incredible, though, is the work of Phillips and Breitweiser. Phillips has long been one of the best artists in the industry, and particularly one of my favorites, but this? This is something else. The frame of the issue allows Phillips to do things that otherwise wouldn’t fit into this Lovecraft-tainted noir, experimenting in a way that not only doesn’t detract, but makes the experience even more immersive. These larger panels and spreads allow the fantastic Breitweiser to show off, too, but again not to such a degree that it distracts. “Fatale” has always been impressive visually, but this may be the best looking issue yet.
Final Verdict: 9.0 – Here’s to the finale.
Sex Criminals #6
Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Tasked with an unenviable job – how to follow up that first arc? – Fraction and Zdarsky shift the focus of the series from exploration to domestication. The question of how to live a “normal” life with knowledge of and access to the Quiet/Cumworld is a really fun and unexpected place to take the series in its second arc.
Zdarsky’s art, as always, is totally fearless. This issue really highlights one of my favorite things about the series – Jon and Suzie aren’t gorgeous people. Jon’s got a big nose and Suzie is merely cute in a medium where most women start at beautiful and go from there. This issue deals with the banality of every day life in the afterglow of their time-stopping exploits, and Zdarsky’s art walks that line very well.Continued below
The story isn’t quite as instantly engaging as the first few issues, but now that the principles have been established and there’s some emotional skin in the game, an issue like this sets a nice tone and gives the reader a chance to invest ever further in the characters, as well as deal with the question that, I feel, will take up a good chunk of the arc – what if these two are totally wrong for each other?
Final Verdict: 8.3 – Buy
Silver Surfer #3
Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Michael Allred
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
I’ve been on a major Allred kick lately, so this book fell right into my sweetspot this week. There is a natural rapport between Slott and Allred – gentlemen of approximately the same generation, and so they have a lot of the same cultural touchstones. Take the Three Stooges gag in this issue – it was handled in such a way that could only be executed by two guys who unironically loved the Stooges in their youth, and wouldn’t work if half the team wasn’t into it.
This issue wraps up the first arc, and in doing so sets a tone for the rest of the series. Slott has injected a little levity into a character that can sometimes feel a little stiff, and Allred’s style, with its winks and nods to the Marvel comics of his youth, continues to bring a levity to the property. This book, operating as it is on the fringes of the Marvel U, can go anywhere and do anything it wants – and boy do I want it to do just that.
Everything about this issue works, and it has me counting the days until #4 drops.
Final Verdict: 9.0 – Buy