Comic Recommendations: November 25, 2015

DC published Frank Miller’s most recent homage to his own previous Batman work with Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1; IDW delivered another solid build-up issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; as if Thanksgiving weren’t enough of a holiday, this week was the return of Saga (Image Comics); and Marvel hit hard with Guardians of the Galaxy #2, Silver Surfer #15, and the continuation of “Vader Down” in Darth Vader #13.

UNSPOILED

  1. Silver Surfer #15 (Marvel Comics), Unspoiled Edition.

Silver Surfer 15 01

It is difficult to bid farewell to Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer, but much less difficult knowing that a new volume is starting in 2016. Norrin Radd, Dawn Greenwood, and Toomie have survived the end of the Multiverse at the hands of Dr. Doom. Now, they are faced with an even more complex problem — deciding between an ideal universe and a real universe. This may sound a little heady, but trust me, Slott’s Silver Surfer #15 promotes just as many feels as it does thoughts.

SPOILED

  1. Silver Surfer #15 (Marvel Comics), Spoiled Edition.

Silver Surfer 15 02

All-New, All-Different Marvel has been the standard for a few weeks now, but we still know very little about what exactly this new universe is and how it has come about. Silver Surfer #15 gives us a rare glimpse into the construction of the new universe when it refers to the consequences of Secret Wars #9. To give you perspective, Secret Wars #8 will be released — AT THE EARLIEST — two weeks from now, with an optimistic estimate of December 23 for the event’s conclusion. Considering the first issue came out in May, this means that we have waited over six months for the conclusion of Marvel’s summer event!

Silver Surfer 15 03

What does Silver Surfer #15 tell us about the future of Marvel’s continuity? The universe is largely the same as it was before Secret Wars began, but there are small differences.

One small difference is that series like Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer were forced to halt their forward momentum in order to deal with this new universe. Slott’s decision to have Norrin and Dawn witness the end of the multiverse and have the choice to create a brand new universe was an interesting offshoot of this decision, but the comic started taking longer and longer to come out. From the publication of Silver Surfer #1 in March of 2014 to the publication of Silver Surfer #13 in July of this year, the comic averaged 40 days between issues, or just over five weeks. Considering the fact that Slott was putting out two issues of Amazing Spider-man during this entire time and plotting Marvel’s most successful crossover events at the same time, one week over the monthly comic release can be excused. However, after the release of Secret Wars, the release dates got more and more spaced out. There was 35 days between #12 and #13, 49 days between #13 and #14, and a whopping 84 days between #14 and #15. Compared to the previous average of 40 days between issues from Silver Surfer #1-13, issues #13-15 averaged 67 days between issues. In other words, there was approximately four weeks between the expected release date and the actual release date.

I don’t think this is the fault of Slott and Allred. I think there is a basic fundamental error with these giant, multiverse-encompassing event comics. Personally, I would rather see smaller events that encompass a handful of titles and doubling down on support for Marvel’s TV shows and movies. I think this is a good intermediary that satisfies the long time fans who HATE these giant events while exciting younger crowds who use Marvel’s multimedia empire as a gateway to its comics. Whenever these two crowds are happy, Marvel makes money. Perhaps more important, though, is the fact that this decision will give creators more freedom to tell longer, uninterrupted stories with fewer gimmicks or scheduling problems. The stock shares can keep going up while preserving the integrity of the stories being told.

Silver Surfer 15 04

Silver Surfer returns in 2016. I am looking forward to it.

* * *

After a few weeks of intensive reading, I have finally caught up with Tim Seeley’s Revival (Image Comics). The story takes place in the Wausau environs of Wisconsin, a completely believeable snapshot of the Great Lakes states. The community is plagued by an unsurprising lack of diversity, a seemingly everlasting winter, and dead who come back to life. When I say “come back to life,” I mean life in its fullest sense, or at least moreso than the shambling beasts of most zombies stories. “Revivers,” as they are called, are almost indistinguishable from the living, but nobody knows why they have returned. Our main characters are Officer Dana Cypress and her younger sister Martha, who goes by the nickname “Em.” One of the more memorable moments in recent comics happens when Dana takes her sister along to investigate an incident and Em takes a sickle to the chest… LIKE A PRO, revealing that she too is a Reviver.

Revival 01 01

Because this is a comic book about zombies, we have to ask ourselves the obvious questions: Why should I read this comic book? Why not just read The Walking Dead again? The only things that Revival and The Walking Dead have in common are zombies, intensely human drama, and Image Comics. Revival has much more in common with David Lynch’s Twin Peaks or the Coen Brothers film (and later FX series) Fargo. Seeley describes the series as rural noir, and as much as I love a good noir story, I think Revival is a little too big for this description. It may be what Seeley imagined, but it is not what he delivered. As I mentioned earlier, Seeley’s zombies are almost indistinguishable from living humans. They may be slightly uncoordinated, but not in any major way — one of the more entertaining Revivers is a fairly skilled skateboarder. Whenever a Reviver is injured, even by a classic shotgun to the brain, they are able to regenerate completely. They are also described as fearless, but that is only in reference to physical harm. The unique contribution of Tim Seeley’s Revival is that we actually learn more about ourselves as humans from the perspective of the zombies themselves. This stands in stark opposition to the traditional zombie setup, best represented by the mall setting of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, where we learn just how mindless we can be from living characters who witness the mindless activities of zombies.

In previous recaps of comics that I overlooked, I have written quite a bit about series that haven’t even started a second story arc. I could certainly recap every issue of Revival and have a blast going through it once again, but in this circumstance I think brevity might be better. Revival #35 should be coming out next week if I’m not mistaken, and if it is as good as some of these issues have been we’ll spend a lot more time with it. Despite the fact that I have rarely read a solo Iron Man comic that I have enjoyed, I should have something to say about the most recent volume of Invincible Iron Man next week.  At the rate I readRevival, it shouldn’t be too hard to get through the four issues of the series that will have been released byDecember 2. Until then, please hit me up with any questions or comments you have. We can talk about the comics I have written about or we can talk about the comics that are on your mind. Whatever we do, let’s just talk about comic books.

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