Welcome back! This week I’ve got a nice mix of familiar titles and new to talk about. No fooling, these are the best comics I read this week!
Young Avengers #3
As for the plot, the magic alien monster or whatever that has invaded and mind-controlled Wiccan’s parents continues to hunt down our young heroes, and has expanded her reach to include the frost giant Laffey (Loki’s biological father in the Marvel universe), and as we learn, Miss America’s two mother figures. The fights bookend the issue, but the real meat is the kids talking and trying to come up with a plan, but mostly having delightful character interactions.
What really makes this work is – well, I’m just going to quote Keiron Gillen from the letter column. “Probably the easiest way to respond to your concern is picking up on something you said: “I don’t care that this is how the majority of young people act in modern society.” This is where we differ. I do. If I’m going to do a book about being late-teenage, I feel it is vital to do a book about being late teenage. This includes variable expressions of sexuality and romance. To be honest, I think the book is perhaps too coy if anything. Teenagers aren’t rated Teen.”
That really neatly sums up why this is a stand-out book.
Angel and Faith #20
Angel and Faith ties in, unsurprisingly, with Buffy Season Nine. Due to reasons (ie, I’m not going to summarize all of Buffy Season 8), Giles is dead, Angel feels guilty (because that’s his real superpower), and Angel has teamed up with Faith to try and bring him back.
Most of this issue, though, as you might guess from the cover, is the Spike Show. Just like when he shows up in the series, he has a tendency to steal the scene. And between hunting for magical McGuffins (which they do) and fighting horrible hell beasts (which they do), Spike tries to pretend he’s over Buffy (which he isn’t) and ultimately starts to deal with the truth.
Overall, I think Christos Gage has a strong sense of the character voices, and this title feels more genuine to me than the Buffy title, though they’re both good. It’s unclear the degree to which Joss Whedon is involved, though you can see his name on the cover over there. It’s not the heyday of evil mayors and Wolfram & Hart and all that, but it’s still a fun and solid ride with these familiar characters, in new stories.
We’re coming into a new story arc which promises to be the last of the ‘season’, so should be climactic. Not a terrible jumping on point for new readers at all, who miss Sunnydale’s Finest.
Rachel Rising #15
Terry Moore is best known for his epic comic Strangers in Paradise. It’s a little hard to categorize. One could call it ‘Romance’, and it is that at it’s heart, but not the sappy literary sub-genre. It’s more following the lives of the protagonists, which involves romance and intrigue and crime and art and life and death. It’s a legitimate masterpiece.
Rachel Rising is, then, very different. It’s much easier to describe – it’s horror. In the first issue, the protagonist, Rachel, basically crawls out of her own grave, with a hideous scar across her neck. She has no idea where she is, what’s going on, why she was buried in the woods. And strange things are happening.
By now, we’ve revealed much of the mystery. Which I’m going to spoil, so stop reading here if you want to go back and read the series from the beginning.
It involves witches, and hundreds of years ago a coven being brutally murdered by the townsfolk of this small town. Only now, they’ve been reincarnated and are out seeking revenge. Which they really get going on in a serious way in this issue. It’s intensely creepy, and involves Rats in places there should not be Rats.
Terry Moore has a unique, expressive art style, and is particularly good at drawing body types that are diverse. Strangers in Paradise had a comical bent, but had a serious side as well. Rachel Rising is much more serious of a comic, being horror, and it works well. The pacing was a little slow in the middle, but all the players are on stage now and things are starting to happen. It’s a great time to jump on this indy gem from one of the great writer/artist creators around.