• August 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Jul    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

  • Advertisements

Zero Hour Revisited – Anima #7

90srevisited_zerohour

anima_0007Suddenly, Johnny Gets a Feeling

Writers: Elizabeth Hand & Paul Witcover
Guest Penciller: Brent Anderson
Inker: Will Blyberg
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Patricia Mulvihill
Assistant Editor: Chris Eades
Editor: Rob Simpson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

I recall Anima being one of the characters introduced during the Bloodlines Annuals event in 1993, and of course remember the character more than others as she (obviously) had her own series or a short time. That said, this is the first I can consciously remember actually reading of the character.

Reading this issue, though “only” 7 into its run, was not a fun thing out-of-context. I could recognize the main character and associates by context-clues and figure stuff out, but the story seemed (in part for my lack of familiarity with any of the characters or the full context of the continuity/situation at this point) to jump all over the place enough that I’m not even gonna try to summarize it. Suffice it to say that this felt like diving into a mid-season episode of some tv show and maybe not being disgusted or put off enough by it to turn it off, but it definitely was not the most engaging nor (detail-wise) memorable.

Essentially, there’s this girl, known as Anima, with a bond to some sort of demon named Animus. Animus is imprisoned by siblings/colleagues, as others conspire to do something nasty to the realm of Man, and Anima/Animus are key to stopping that, hence an adversarial situation.

Outside of Eliopoulos on lettering, I really don’t recognize the creative team. Then, the fact that outside of probably this issue (seeing it in the Zero Hour stack and as an issue coming up in the queue) I haven’t really even considered the series for years adds to this series’ isolation in history and continuity. This character came out of the DC Universe Bloodlines stuff; carries the standard DC logo, carries in this case the Zero Hour and DC Universe banner, so it was (at the time at least) certainly in-continuity and such (mid-1990s!). But you would hardly know it to look at any contemporary DC lineup, probably not SINCE the actual 1990s (1999/2000 or so).

That lack of recognition, memory, impact, lends to the weirdness of reading this…certainly refreshing in its way as one of those titles that I seriously doubt would even get a publishing chance nowadays, let alone an audience to go seven issues (let alone any further). The parts with Animus and siblings struck me as rather Hellblazer-esque (ok, perhaps this’d fit in with the new Hellblazer title in Rebirth?) and thus in continuity but tucked off into their own little separated section of continuity.

There’s an offhanded reference indicating Anima had gotten Superman’s message (from waaaaaayyyyy back at the start of Zero Hour!) but outside of that and the fade-to-white abruptness ending this issue, you wouldn’t know it had anything to do with a bigger crossover. This certainly fits the “red skies” designation of sorts…that is, there’s a passing shoe-horned-in reference for a panel or two, but otherwise the issue’s actual story is not impacted nor does it in turn impact, the main event story it supposedly ties in with.

I think this issue would probably fit pretty solidly in with its own series as a run–reading Anima from first issue to however long the series ran–but it’s not even really “fun” as an isolated, standalone issue; it does not advance Zero Hour itself, nor does it shed any real light on something that the main Zero Hour just didn’t have space to do. I would not recommend this outside of an Anima read-through; and given (if only) my own conscious lack of memory of anything impactful even from this series long-term, I certainly would not recommend paying more than 25-50 cents for this in a bargain-bin purchase.

Advertisements

Astro City (2013) #2 [Review]

Astro City (2013) #2Welcome to HumanoGlobal

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Brent Eric Anderson
Cover: Alex Ross
Lettering & Design: John G. Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Color art: Alex Sinclair
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Assistant Editor: Jessica Chen
Published by: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

$3.99 sucks. I’m really, really very tired of this price point. I think I’m going to keep making sure that’s extremely well-documented in these reviews and other blog posts until I eventually give up on new comics altogether.

That said, if you’re going to pay $3.99 for a single issue of a comic, there are few better series out there than Astro City. Even when you don’t know what the issue will be about or it deviates from the previous issue or whatever…it’s hard not to look back on a given issue without a bit of a smile and some disbelief at how much it was enjoyed and sheds different light on superhero stuff typically taken for granted or outright not often considered.

This issue focuses on a new employee of a hotline–said hotline turns out to be for a call center that weeds out the truly important calls for the Honor Guard, and in other cases outright makes connections allowing Honor Guard to be sent after villains/terrorists before they have a chance to enact plans that would otherwise leave the heroes reactive rather than proactive. We see bits of her training, the sorts of calls she takes, and the excitement with her teammates when they manage to catch a big call and be part of the overall “process” that leads to the saving of so many lives. Though they largely have to keep the true nature of their work secret from family and non-work friends, they find certain perks within their work…but also learn that one mistake can be very costly.

The art is strong as usual for an Astro City issue; everyone who should look familiar does, and those that don’t still look quite good. While the story itself isn’t your usual fare, the sequences with superhero action look as one might expect (if not a bit on the higher end quality-wise) while the normal people look…normal.

Story-wise, this is another great outing, showing that Busiek knows his stuff–and does very well giving us a look at the human side of things, as “normal humans” interact in a world filled with super-powered beings and threats, and how the culture itself is impacted by their very existence.

While I missed this issue on Wednesday and thought “oh well” I quickly realized that no, I actually really wanted to read this, and it became the entire reason of going back to a comic shop Friday rather than simply waiting and picking it up with next week’s books. There really aren’t many series that do that for me.

Provided you have any background at all with Astro City–I’d especially recommend the first TPB Life in the Big City (there’s even a new edition out now)–you’d actually be fine jumping in on this issue without even having read #1…which is another strength of this series: there are a lot of short arcs and done-in-one issues, rather than the “standard” fare from DC and Marvel necessitating 4-6 issues’ investment just for a single story.

I’d largely prefer to hold off for the collected volumes, but for now, this return of Astro City is such a welcome thing, I’m likely to keep going with the single issues for at least a few more months.

Astro City (2013) #1 [Review]

Astro City (2013) #1 [cover]Through Open Doors (Part One)

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Brent Eric Anderson
Cover: Alex Ross
Lettering & Design: John G. Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Color Art: Alex Sinclair
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Assistant Editor: Jessica Chen
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

I’m pretty sure it’s been a few years since I’ve read Astro City. The last I recall, I left off during the Dark Age saga: as I’m typing this, I don’t even recall why I never finished. Might be I’d grown bored; maybe I was “protesting” a cover price if they were $3.99, whatever.

This new #1 is $3.99, but since it seems EVERYTHING is $3.99…I’d really have to just give up comics entirely, now, to “protest” the price point (and I am a lot quicker to find any “excuse” to outright “drop” a title as a result).

But Astro City! The series is back–after awhile under Image/Homage, then the Wildstorm banner and limbo when Wildstorm was terminated, I’d wondered where we’d see the series pop up. And now it’s under Vertigo, which while I wouldn’t consider this a title exactly fitting with Vertigo (moreso that I wouldn’t limit this series to the older crowd) means it’s still under DC, which is what it is. And as a new #1…I’ll bite for the first issue…particularly given the nostalgia factor and that I’ve generally enjoyed Astro City stuff that I’ve read.

We open with a strange man speaking to us of some looming threat, and we’re introduced to American Chibi, a sort of “overlooked” heroine of Astro City (that when you focus on the big ones, obviously some are going to be missed). We’re re-introduced to some familiar faces as well as new; see the city introduced to some powerful new alien, and a “common citizen” chosen to befriend him and be his guide to understanding the Earth. And finally, against his protestations, we learn a potentially disturbing fact about our narrator that can cast the whole story in a new light.

The creative team behind this issue is quite familiar, lending a continued consistency to the title as it’s been bounced from imprint to imprint: the cover logos may change, but the story, the art, the characters–those remain constants, creatively.

As the art is “standard” Astro City art by Anderson, everyone who should look familiar does, and I had no trouble following along…and there was no weird anatomy to throw me off with anyone (well, no weird anatomy that shouldn’t be there), no weirdly constructed pages/panels to leave me scratching my head. Basically, the visual side was a smooth ride all the way through the issue, with nice detail and all the right “touches” I expect of an Astro City comic.

The story left me a bit hesitant at first, but quickly drew me in. I quickly found myself first thinking of this narrator in terms of Doctor Who, which (to me) was rather amusing in a way, and then another sort of familiarity set in, and just when I felt I was getting to “know” the him, the end of the issue changes things rather dramatically.

Overall, the issue does what I’d want in a first issue, especially one like this where it’s an older, continuing property, but the RETURN of that property after several years’ hiatus. We get new characters and old; and we get the details pertaining to the story, that we need, in the story. Having a “history” with Astro City, I pick up on allusions to other stuff, other characters–but even so, I haven’t read any of those in years myself, so I’m foggy on details. But that in no way hinders this story; if anything it just makes me want to go back and re-read some older Astro City stories.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a great return to the series’ existence. I’d originally thought to just try this first issue, “for old time’s sake,” and let that be that…but I’m pretty likely to actually go ahead and snag the next issue.

%d bloggers like this: