Comics I Gave A Shit About: Wednesday, April 7th

codebreaker1bThere’s two kinds of people in this world. People who buy a stack of comic books every Wednesday and those that have respect for their own money.

Welcome to the financially irresponsible side of being a nerd.

This week saw the release of the usual slew of comics across the board. Except I only gave a shit about about a few. These few.

It’s rare that I stumble into the beginning of a series. I have a habit of waiting until there’s this minor buzz in the world of comics before I bother to crack open an issue. I’m probably not alone here. Most only get into a series somewhere around the tenth issue. This is probably why the beginning issues of series that take off are so popular and hard-to-find. Because no one buys one. Well, not this week. Don’t let me down, Carey Malloy. I want to be a millionare seventeen years from now.

In the world of comics, the spy genre isn’t necessarily a huge portion of the comic market, but comics about cops chasing criminals certainly is. Codebreakers is kind of both, with a touch of nerd. Computer nerd. The story, as the name suggests, revolves around a branch of government codebreakers who are given various complex decryption to break down. As to what the code is hiding and why is kind of vague. We’re not talking WWII transmissions from the Japanese, but lengthy blocks of encrypted text in emails and documents. This isn’t exactly edge-of-your-seat material. And it doesn’t help that Malloy’s characters aren’t busting out of any molds. There’s a young, scruffy, just out-of-college genius who dresses like he’s still living in the dorms. There’s a sterotypical, tight-assed, no nonsense female government agent. And let’s not forget the older, gruff, veteran male field agent. If your characters are starting to feel like an A-Team spin-off, something is not quite right.

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But, still, the dialog manages to stay crisp, despite coming from the mouths of rather stock characters. And after some heavy-handed computer talk for a portion of the book, it sets off on a rather interesting tangent. Taking the story away from the already well-tread world of police investigation and into something more complex.

I’m interested, for sure, but I’m not convinced how code and decryption is going to play into story with any decent relevance. But the art is quite sharp, easy to see details and strongly drawn facial expressions, and remains consistently vibrant and efficient.

And the fact that it happens to be twice as thick as any usual issue helps me give more of a shit.

InvincibleReturns1And speaking of long issues, the nerds of the world are treated to a surprisingly lengthy catch-up and reset of the Invincible series with Invincible Returns #1. In the simplest of terms, this is a comic version of the this-is-what’s-been-going-on clip montage that long-running TV shows throw at you before the opening credits. For part of the comic, you can almost hear On the last episode of Invincible…

But thankfully, this comes off naturally in the narrative as the character relive the chaotic events of the series in the past issues. This could have been done in a very Hey, remember that one time we battled that dragon from space?-sort of way. Instead, we get a solid breakdown of the current state of the world after all the recent chaos. It’s a lull in the drama, surely, but a lot of loose ends are tied up while simultaneously prepping the reader for some upcoming disaster. Also, there is a dragon somewhere in there. Not a space dragon, sadly. Just the boring regular kind.

There’s no real need to talk about the art. If you’ve been a reader of the series previously, you know it’s solid shit. The second half seems somehow different, as Eve looks like someone held her down and gave her a back-alley collagen injection right into her face. But, the art is otherwise at it’s usual impeccable nature. Plus, Invincible gets a costume change in a very blatant attempt to indicate his change of character.
It’s unnecessary to say if you read this issue, but I’ll say it anyhow. There’s a lot that’s coming up that I quite intend to give a shit about.

issue 8Finally, we’ve got my favorite thing to grace my nerdy fingers. Sweet Tooth #8 hit shelves, from one of my all-time favorite guys climbing into the scene, Jeff Leimre. Jeff is solely responsible, as one of those all-in-one writer/artists we sometimes jealously witness, for the critically acclaimed Essex County trilogy. If you haven’t read this, do it. And do it only if you’re comfortable with how long it’s been since you last teared up when no one was looking. Because you will.

follows the innocent and bizarre character Gus, who is a young boy afflicted with a bizzare condition wherein antlers grow from his fucking head. He’s innocent, naive, and confused, having grown up in near-solitude with his father in their cabin in the woods. The story follows both his journey into the real world since a somewhat apocalypse has struck the rest of the planet and, Jepperd, the man who found and vowed to protect him.

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The art is something that can really be conversed about. Jeff Lemire is one of those artists whose work is immediately recognizable after you’ve read a single panel. His characters have powerful expressions, defined by detailed and (coincidentally) doe-like eyes. He takes specific time to draw aging lines and drooping eyes to define older, weathered characters like Jepperd. At the same time, he is able to draw innocent characters like Gus with constant surprise and confusion. Lemire draws in such an impressionable way, he could just forgo dialog all together and you’d still follow the story. But I’m glad he doesn’t, because his penchant for writing interesting stories is equally successful.

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Basically, if you skipped ahead, just read this line:
JEFF LEMIRE IS BETTER THAN YOU.

So read his shit.

That’s about all I gave a shit about this week.

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