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That’s what I’m talkin ’bout!

18 Jul

By Ayo

Cable and X-Force, no. 11
by: Dennis Hopeless & Salvador Larocca
with: Frank D’Armata & Joe Sabino
$3.99, Marvel Entertainment
July, 2013

I was born in Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Thirty years later, I had my eyes checked out there (all good). A year and a half after that, X-Force saved the hospital from blowing up!

1. What it is.

Cable and X-Force is a comic about a new version of the original X-Force. The main X-Force comic is a derivative of the version that Craig Kyle and Chris Yost and Rick Remender spearheaded on recent years. Cable and X-Force is the “heroes branded as outlaws, on the run from the law” kind of comic. I’m into this.

2. Larroca.

As an indie comics guy, I’m supposed to loathe Salvador Larroca. His work on Invincible Iron Man should be an abomination to me, made by computers, aided by photographs, driven by photoshop, et cetera. Well, eat dirt, indie comics. I like Larroca’s work.

Frank D’Armata is no small part of this. His limited palate (grey) and silvery sheen probably turn off a lot of old school art-likers. But he and Larroca have slid into a rhythm where their work seems made to be together. It’s just a grey world and that brings me to…

3. Boom Boom.

The character Boom Boom is all pink and yellow. The proverbial ray of sunshine in this world that is so steely that her opposite character is literally black and white (Domino). Aesthetically, they look good together. They make an idea team-up because even their colors are coding their outlooks on life, particularly when contrasted with one another.

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4 Domino effect.

In a Domino/Boom Boom stealth mission, Domino is the one who goes undercover. And nobody blinks at this Obvious Mutant carting a patient out of the hospital!

Points for not being racist, Mount Sinai Hospital!
Demerits for terrible security, Mount Sinai Hospital.

5. Structure: parallel; asymmetrical

In this comic, we actually never see the lead title character, Cable, but we see his daughter, Hope Summers. She is in the future, teaming up with Blaquesmith fighting Warlocks. I ain’t even mad!

When I was a boy, Original X-Force was my favorite comic. While the X-Force gang was running around and rescuing their friends, Domino was hunting down mercenaries and searching for X-Force. That was the era of issues #20-24, especially issue 23 “Domino Triumphant.” Today the tables are flipped and Domino is rescuing mutants (and civilians) while some OTHER estranged member is taking the Long Way Home.

Hope’s mission is long. It began before this issue and it continues past this issue. Domino and Boom Boom’s mission is immediate. It begins and ends in this current episode.

THIS.

IS.

WHAT I KEEP TELLING YOU ABOUT!

A comic book issue should tell its own story while also providing seeds for future (no pun intended) stories to develop. That’s what this comic book issue does and I will support Hopeless and Larroca in their mission if this is what they plan to do.

I call this “polyrhythmic storytelling.” One story arc moves at a certain pace and the other hand (I took piano lessons as a boy) moves at a different pace. Yet both hands compliment the work as a whole.

In comics, what you want to do is have your dominant storyline take up the majority of an issue’s time/space (in comics, time and space are the same thing) and have the subplot move along at sparser, sharper beats to make for an interesting narrative “stab” of interest with each subplot interlude. The idea is that by the time the subplot becomes the dominant plot, the reader will have absorbed enough of that subplot’s world to become fully curious and engaged. And do remember: when the subplot eventually becomes the primary conflict, seeds should still be sewn for subplots even further down the road. That’s how it’s done!

6. Domino effect, part 2

This past weekend, I bought the 1996 Domino miniseries (so, so, so terrible) and the 2002 Brian Stelfreeze Domino miniseries (reading it soon). The day of this Cable and X-Force, I also bought Adam Warren’s A+X comic “Scarlet Witch+Domino.” I really like Domino. The Domino in the comic at hand is not the freewheeling, daredevil Domino but the original Too-Old-For-This-Shit Domino. I can’t complain, it’s just weird to see different comics slide the character back and forth between Stern School Marm and Reckless Trickster. The latter role in this story goes to Boom Boom who was an utterly joyless character until Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen put her in the comic Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

So I enjoy this comic for what it is presented as, not what any prior comic suggests that it might be. And shout out to Ellis and Immonen for supplying Boom Boom with an actual characterization.

7. The review of Cable and X-Force # 11.

Wasn’t the best comic book to come out this week (July 17, 2013), but it might have been the closest comic book to my heart. If you were a fan of Fabian Nicieza and Greg Capullo’s X-Force (twenty years ago), this is the comic for you, without a question. Antics, friendship and want an destruction. The X-Force Way.

@darrylayo

Pancakes

18 Jul

By Ayo

“Break-Fast Meet”
Young Avengers, no. 7
Marvel Comics, July 2013
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

When I was a little dude, twenty years ago, there lived a comic book called “X-Force” (by Fabian Nicieza and Greg Capullo) that I liked a lot. It wasn’t a perfect comic book but it was as close to perfect as I had personally seen at the time and thus, functionally perfect. The point in time when this comic existed as pure joy was in the brief period of its 20th through 24th issues. During this period, the teenaged cast of the comic had their own adventures, made their own decisions with absolutely no adult supervision, broke things, blew things up and ran from the law. They argued with each other and loved each other and beat opponents into submission to protect each other. Persuasion through muscle and victory through hardheadedness. It was 1993 and this was the best comic book in the world. It was everything that eleven-year-old Darryl wanted to see. More than wanted, it was everything that I needed to see.

Twenty years later, we have Young Avengers. It’s the same concept but put together a lot more adeptly.

1. Kirby Engine versus IPAC Unit.

Flying around the world (or galaxy) in a super-jet, beating up bad guys and having a good time with your friends–the only people who you can hold to since you’re on the run from authorities and wanton property damage is the X-Force way. The teen superhero team way. It’s the Darryl Ayo way. If you make a comic like this, you’re talking my language.

2. Through the eyes part 1

Jamie McKelvie is pulling a large portion of this story along on facial expressions, mostly. Body language, next. The conversation between Noh-Varr and Hulkling is conducted over two pages of both characters sitting down. Yet throughout, we see not only the subtle shifts in mood and emotion on both characters’ faces but we also see a consistent difference in personal disposition between the two.

The same thing happens between the unspoken disdain between Prodigy and Loki. Their dialogue says one thing but their eyes and facial moods say all of that and then some.

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3. These stories are long.

My initial complaint with this Young Avengers series seems harsh because it isn’t unique to Young Avengers but the first story arc was long. I didn’t have a problem with the pacing of the storytelling itself, I found the storytelling pitch-perfect. My difficulty was in the length of the overt-objective narrative. Five issues of the first story felt overly long to me.

Since then (issue six and the current issue, number seven), I feel that there has been a bit more containment of narrative beats in an issue which limits that sense of sprawl which I felt in the first arc.

I think that we’re seeing a return to polyrhythmic storytelling, where the overt objective brings the structure for an individual issue but the underlying emotional arcs keep readers coming back for more.

4. Miss America & Prodigy.

Two brown folks in the Young Avengers and they are pretty terrific to see on the page. Both are highly competent and casually cool (not “cool” meaning “likable,” but “cool” as in one’s demeanor).

Miss America is kind of a “you never asked” type of character which gets aggravating but it takes all types to run a successful ensemble cast. She’s mysterious and magical and likes to punch things, so therefore perfect for the role. Prodigy, on the other hand, is a new spin on the know-it-all character type. A genius with people-skills. He knows everything but has enough empathy not to lord it over people.

5. Through the eyes, part 2.

Prodigy’s point of view of tracking the Young Avengers is a lot of fun to read. Every issue of this series seems to have some sort of design trickery to it or some panel-border-breaking magic to it. This issue has both design trickery and panel-manipulation to denote magic. This comic is just a lot of fun to look at.

6. The review of “Break-Fast Meet,” Young Avengers # 7.

Good. Better. Best!

Young Avengers has been a high-quality superhero series since the first issue but the quality has just taken a dramatic upturn. Pop culture references in this series are sharp and trading on pop culture familiarity is dangerous ground for any storyteller. Most readers of this series seem devoted to the characters themselves and therefore this issue ratchets up the interpersonal antics.

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@darrylayo

Danger Grotto

25 Jun

By Ayo

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“Third Genesis,”
Generation X, no. 1
Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo
Marvel Comics, 1994

The title “Third Genesis” refers to the class of X-Men. The Xavier School started in X-Men number 1, the concept began again with The New Mutants number 1 and with 1994’s Generation X, we have begun again with the school concept. The school is in a different location this time but the concept is still classic X-Men.

1.

As usual, a template X-Men story begins in The Danger Room, the death trap/obstacle course that acts as the superhero classroom. The Danger Room is often more important to X-Men stories than the villains that are encountered. Because X-Men stories are about X-Men, not villains. These stories are less about saving the world or crowds of civilians and more about how the central cast members interact and play off of each other.

In “Third Genesis,” the early character conflict we see is between Husk and Jubilee. They share the most definitive character arc in the issue’s storyline. However, the Danger Room (apparently “Danger Grotto” now) aspect is handled by two different characters, Synch and Skin. There’s no real personality conflict between these two, just a difference in competency. Synch copies other people’s powers and it turns out that he’s better at Skin’s power than Skin is. Skin lacks confidence and Synch is nothing besides confidence.

AnyANYway, that’s all prologue: I just want to explain about the X-Men. The reason that I’m sharing these pages is that I love the fight scene design here.

2.

The first three pages of the scene contain a dominant, circular panel. “Enter: Synch!” Like an opening chord, all channels open. Then the progression breaks down into details, playing the notes of this guy, Synch, on his mission to find his opponent. The second page takes those musical notes and introduces the left hand, a second element until CHORD: Enter, Skin! The third page, the left hand and the right hand playing measures in turns, alternating melody and rhythm and of course a big action chord.

The fourth page introduces a secondary movement, quieter, slower but still moving. Then fifth page, BANG, CHORD from the original movement and the piece resolves with notes mixing the first and second movements, off to the ending.

I apologize for the musical analogy it’s pretty clumsy and awkwardly phrased. I took piano lessons as a child.

3.

It’s also important to note how completely physical and tactile the struggle between Synch and Skin is. By this time in history, superhero fights had devolved from Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko’s acrobatic roughhousing to an almost hands-off approach of later artists. In Chris Bachalo’s fight scene above, we see some genuine full-body tussling.

Maybe due to the density and complexity involved, comic artists in recent decades have shied away from more complex character interaction such as two characters interlocking for multiple panels in combat. For that reason, I consider it a rare treat when a comic book fight scene *looks* like a fight. Well, done, Bachalo.

@darrylayo

I used to think that his name was “Remainder”

20 Jun

By Darryl Ayo

Uncanny Avengers, number nine
Rick Remender and Daniel Acuña
Marvel Comics, June 2013

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At some point I was listening to a podcast featuring the comic book writer Matt Fraction. He mentioned his friend “Rick Remender” and I was super disappointed. I thought the guy’s name was “Remainder,” like a math problem. Fraction and Remainder, that’s a great set of names. In any case, Rick “Remainder” was writing Uncanny X-Force at the time which you may have heard about as “pretty good,” maybe even “great.”

Oddly enough, when Mr. Remender was finished writing that story, he was so attached to the adjective “Uncanny” that he named his next story “Uncanny Avengers.” The funnier still is that he secretly seems to have baited and switched that story into being a sequel to Uncanny X-Force.

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[“Let the Good Times Roll,” Uncanny Avengers # 5 art: Olivier Coipel]

A lot of readers (including me) read the fifth issue of Uncanny Avengers and were taken aback (offended) by a scene contained therein. Remender was dragged across the coals for writing the scene, oaths were sworn and time marched on. Currently, the ninth issue of this Uncanny Avengers is out and Remender has picked up the remainder of the previous controversy.

Notes: issue five took place after the first story arc but before the second story arc of the series. It was the first issue that I personally read. Apart from the offensive scene, I enjoyed the comic.

That.

Said.

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Issue number nine is a firmly entertaining and funny story. I will say that the sociopolitical debate between Avengers felt artificial or wedged in (to mitigate the damage caused by the prior controversy) but I don’t know that it is possible for the comic to have responded that quickly, from a production standpoint (Marvel Comics come out more frequently than monthly). It feels like a debate. I’ve heard it described as “Rick Remender versus the readers” (David Uzumeri? Joe Hughes?).

Reading through, even though the situation and dialogue feels a bit “message-y,” I appreciated it. How come? Because I appreciate controversy, particularly when it is about matters of social justice, minority rights and things of that nature. Even through the heavy filter of metaphor that “mutants” represent. I very much like that this is something which is talked about. I like that [the character named] Rogue gets to shout down points that were previously left unchallenged. I like that [the character named] Scarlet Witch got to expand upon the original points [delivered in issue five by the character named Alex].

Being heard is so important. When you’re a person who is discriminated against you learn that society as a whole simpy doesn’t care about you. Society will make its rules work against you, judge you as a person based on what other people in your large social group have done–society will damn you twice before you get out of bed in the morning. Worst of all, before you get back to bed, some of your peers will throw the rest of your race/sex/gender/religion under the bus to save their own skins. It’s nice to be heard. Even if minds aren’t changed, it is nice that society has to deal with having heard your perspective.

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The thing that works for me about Uncanny Avengers is that every issue is a fight. Not just with fists but with philosophies. [the character named] Janet brings a completely different view to the table than [the character named] Alex. Almost all of the characters stand apart from the others in some ways. Some characters are polar opposites, others are more closely matched but disagree about the fine details. It is a very good cast. History shows (Uncanny X-Force) that Rick Remender’s strongest talent is in balancing an ensemble cast. If you know me, you know that ensemble casts are my favorite story structure. From my perspective, most comics writers (whether superhero genre, crime genre or any other genre) seem more comfortable with single-protagonist storytelling. Nothing wrong with that! I keep an open mind to all sorts of storytelling and I’m sympathetic to what other writers want to do with their stories. But for me, if we take away my interest in comics as an art form, take away my desire to explore storytelling in general and just focus on what *I* like: give me a good ensemble cast and I’m good to go.

~Darryl Division

Influence of modern comics

16 Jun

By Ayo

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DeathZone!
By Michel Fiffe, after John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Luke McDonnell
DC Comics property, Fiffe tribute.
1988, DC; 2012, Fiffe
Essay by Tucker Stone

This sixteen-page comic is based on an old Suicide Squad comic that Michel Fiffe liked. This isn’t an homage, it’s a cover. Based on the description, it appears to be an abridged cover of the 1988 story–at sixteen pages, it’s much shorter than the three issue span that Fiffe’s notes cite. Anyway that’s technical.

The first thing that this comic does is introduce all of the characters from the story and indicate who created and co-created them. Shot one at DC Comics.

The last thing that the comic does is enlist critic Tucker Stone to write an essay about Suicide Squad that is both complimentary and condemnation.

Those are the inside covers. Now the meat of the comic is something special.

If you are familiar with Michel Fiffe’s comic Zegas, you will know his facility with multimedia. Fiffe combines traditionally inked line art with pencil pages and colored pages that appear to be watercolor. He also colors with colored pencil and computer programs. As the story’s location or tone shift, so do Fiffe’s working methods. The result is a visually lively sequence of images that avoids the appearance of arbitrary whimsy.

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This comic begins with two panels that I particularly like: Deadshot shooting Rustam with a ricochet shot. I like the first panel’s drawing of Deadshot and I like the scaly armor texture of Rustam’s leggings. That sort of texturing is something that I’m experimenting with in my own work and so it’s is fantastic to see it done in such a way by another artist.

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Another panel that makes me happy is Duchess machine-gunning Manticore on page 5. Fiffe’s confidence with that machine gun gives lie to most of the firearms that I see in comic book art. It’s a thing of beauty. Cartoonists tend to be unconfident about machines and so I have a lot of love for when someone pulls off a believable complex tool.

All in all, this comic works in the same way that indie bands doing covers of classic rock songs work. It showcases the quality of the less-known artist by showing audiences their take on something familiar. That DeathZone! goes a step further and hoists up the full list of creators in this tribute adds yet another layer: the original Suicide Squad influenced Fiffe but he doesn’t uncritically accept DC Comics’ treatment of the many creators.

It’s a good balance.

@darrylayo

Saving people by beating up people: the Carol Danvers story

14 Jun

By Ayo

Avengers: the enemy within, No. 1 (Captain Marvel)
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Scott Hepburn, Jordie Bellaire

~what is this~

Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers has a brain lesion that exacerbates whenever she flies. She is essentially in the position of Superman during the “Grounded” storyline except that not-flying isn’t her choice. Watching Captain Marvel struggle against her medical reality and her impulse to simply take to the skies is a wonderful tension.

Personally, I recently began wearing sunglasses because the direct sunlight has started to give me migraine-like symptoms. I know that feeling of suddenly needing some form of tool or technology to do what one used to do effortlessly.

Also, like Captain Marvel’s flying jet-sled, my sunglasses look cool. But I resent them. I just want to walk down the street in the day, not have a piece of breakable equipment on my face, filtering my world. I feel you, Carol Danvers.

The best part of this here comic book (Avengers: The Enemy Within) is that Carol Danvers’ buddies in the Avengers have been eager and happy to lend assistance to her, different from that old Avengers comic that I read in which Steve Rogers/Captain America was like “Carol Danvers, you are not on top of your game, YOU’RE OFF THE AVENGERS!!” Seriously, former Avengers writer Kurt Busiek, you really hung Carol Danvers out to dry that time! Rude.

~AnyANYway~

This comic, DeConnick and Hepburn and Bellaire with “The Enemy Within,” features the things that I love the most about superhero comic books:

1) took a while to read. I didn’t breeze through this in ten minutes, it lasted me for like twenty, which is half of my commute. I enjoy density in comic books.

2) Carol Danvers and Jess Drew (Spider-Woman) have a wonderful rapport and I just want them to be buddies forever. I’m a big fan of buddies and Carol & Jess: Super Friends is totally pressing all my buttons. It was also nice and considerate of Jess Drew not to fly. Like, in solidarity with Carol who medically can’t.

3) the fights were fun to read. A bunch of heavy hitters, hitting heavily. Hepburn’s twisty, bendy-limb style is well suited for kinetic scenes of people knocking each other around, particularly due to the lighthearted banter that accompanies these fights. These aren’t scary superhero fights, they’re funny superhero fights.

3a) dinosaurs!

4) that Carol Danvers is friends with her neighbors in her apartment building (what is with superheroes renting among civilians though) is charming and heartening. In my building, there are only ten apartment units and people still act like they don’t know me, slam the gate or door on me when I’m dragging in my groceries. There’s only two black people in my building, you can’t argue that they don’t recognize me… Okay, getting personal, moving along…

5) Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel has a definitive weakness (again, the flying) and has an irresponsible urge to exacerbate it time and again. As the title suggests, she is her own worst enemy.

5a) I like it when protagonists are the instruments of their own conflicts/downfalls. It is an appealing story dynamic that a person has control of his or her destiny and that their problems are at least partly their own doing (especially if not in a retributive sense).

6) Should have been number one to me, but: this comic was *funny* There was verbal humor, there were sight gags and physical comedy. I almost think that it is irresponsible for a comic about solving problems by hitting things to NOT be funny, at least sometimes. “The Enemy Within,” despite its ominous title and brooding cover (illustrated by Joe Quinones), was a charming and humorous issue to read.

7) I’m on a mission. A holy crusade, in fact. I really like when the characters in a scene are together inside the same panel and continue to coexist in panels as the scene progresses. This is an Eddie Campbell thing but it’s turning into a Darryl Ayo thing. Chris Samnee does it in his comics and I’m seeing a lot of it here with Scott Hepburn. He breaks from the patterns during various moments for fight purposes or to do closeups but mostly this comic hangs close to the principle. Thank you, Scott Hepburn.

All in all: I had a good time.

@darrylayo

5 things that I liked about this X-Men comic book that a lot of people recently read

2 Jun

By Ayo

“Primer” part 1 of 3
X-Men, no. 1
May 2013, Marvel Entertainment
Brian Wood & Olivier Coipel

1. Series wordsmith Brian Wood decided to eschew the embarrassing phonetic accents for “regional” characters such as Rogue. Shugah.

2. The action scene takes place on the Metro North Harlem Line. I took this train to school when I was a kid and I enjoy some real-world regional flavor to my comics. Superhero stories tend to revolve around New York City so let’s bring some of that NYC reality to the page.

3. Coipel’s drawing of Jubilation Lee is completely adorable. She’s got the most emotional range in her expressions and Coipel handles it all well.

4. Coipel’s drawing of the American flag on the “Grand Central Station” page. I like how he used black for the stripes and faded into red for the tips, which show…

5. Yo, on the real, I JUST crushed a NASTY insect with this thing. So. Thanks for being at hand, X-Men # 1.

@darrylayo

NSFW: Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski’s “SEX.”

24 May

By Ayo

Sex, numbers. 1-3
By: Joe Casey & Piotr Kowalski
With: Brad Simpson
Featuring: Rus Wooton
Image Comics, 2013

The comic is audaciously called “Sex.” But it really is just one of those “retired superheroes in a quasi-noir genre” pieces. There’s nothing at all extraordinary about Casey and Kowalski’s “Sex” except for… there’s more sex scenes in it than an average noir comic.
Continue reading

Riot Act, b/w Eaten From The Inside Out

24 May

By Ayo

“Riot Act”
The Green Team, no. 1
Art Baltazar, Franco, Ig Guara
DC Comics, May 2013

For purely selfish reasons, I’m going to lean in heavily on this comic book. Off-brand DC comic books have a poor success rate in the comic book marketplace and I want this series to live. To “go viral,” pun intended.

I like co-writer Art Baltazar and I’ve enjoyed his work since the mid-1990s when he was exhibiting self-published works in the church-basement show Big Apple Comic-Con. I like superhero comics, especially when I don’t need to keep up with sister series and related tie-ins. I like off-brand series that don’t rely on encyclopedic knowledge of ideas that are older than my lifespan. Heck, I like those type of comics as well but walk with me. What I’m saying is that I like this comic book. The Green Team is light in tone, confident in its own momentum and the entire enterprise is performed with one eyebrow arched.

I’m not saying that Green Team is the best comic. I would understand if you, my reader, were to dismiss it and scoff at my insistence of its attributes. You wouldn’t be wrong for that. There are plenty of comic books–superhero comic books–that are better than Green Team. Some of these came out this very week. But I enjoyed this comic. I was chuckling on the train this morning while all of the other commuters were frowning into their immediate futures of downtown offices. Now I sit in my own miserable downtown office but that’s okay because I had a nice ride.

Baltazar, Franco and Guara put together a fun little comic that has its own Instagram hashtag #GreenTeam

So as I said, I need your help.

I need anybody who is inclined to read a lighthearted, silly comic about rich kid superheroes to lace up their sneakers and go to their comic book store and buy this. Then I need you to talk to me about how much you like it. And don’t get me wrong, I fully intend to make fun of this comic and beat the stuffing out of it. But out of love.

#GreenTeam
@darrylayo

~the record is not over yet~

“Eaten From The Inside Out”
The Movement, no. 1
Gail Simone, Freddie Williams II
DC Comics, May 2013

The Green Team doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Though unrelated, #GreenTeam was marketed with another new comic book called The Movement. Where The Green Team is about super-rich-kids who are buying their way into superheroics, The Movement is about an underground network of vigilantes loosely based on the real world’s Anonymous group. Loosely.

Described in the book as a hacker group, “Channel M” is intimidating on the page. Their method for policing their neighborhood makes for good visuals. My regret as a reader is that there is also a superhero team inside this story that undercuts the creepy kids in masks surrounding crooked cops. See, I like both things: teenage superheroes and vast networks of hacker troublemakers. Twenty pages per month might not be enough space to get too deep into the regular-people-with-smartphones aspect of crime-fighting. We shall see.

#ChannelM
@darrylayo

I <3 Deadpool

24 May

By Ayo

“Eight Legs To Kick You”
Deadpool, no. 10
Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, Mike Hawthorne, Val Staples
Marvel Entertainment, May 2013

The cover of this comic book promises a wacky team up between The Amazing Spider-Man and “The Inferior” Deadpool. Spoiler: the contents of this comic book provide just that! Mission accomplished!!

When I began to reenter the world of superhero comic books in 2010, Deadpool was one of the titles that I sought out. I’ve loved Deadpool for twenty years, since 1993’s “The Circle Chase,” drawn by X-Men artist Joe Madureira. Deadpool is a fun character by concept and with the right team, the concept will always work.

This isn’t to diminish the specific good work of the current creative team. But these kinds of comics work like television works: you have an editorially decided concept and a group of writers and directors who put the product together according to editorial specifications. When all of the players are in position, you’ve got the makings of a solidly entertaining project.

Specifically, Posehn, Duggan & Hawthorne’s version: what stands out to me is that this iteration is funnier than Daniel Way and Carlo Barberi’s version. Based on just this one issue, I’m seeing more chances taken, higher joke density and a greater visual cohesion between thought and execution. I’m the one person on the internet who enjoyed Way and Barberi on Deadpool but I recognize where the results could have been better, particularly as a work of serialized comedy. The difference between the previous Deadpool series and what I’ve seen of the current one is the difference between smiling and laughing.

Now me, I know a comic book is working when I’m laughing on the train. And with “Eight Legs To Kick You,” I was laughing from first page to last.

Mission accomplished. Job well done.

@darrylayo