Monday, May 22, 2017

What I Bought 5/20/2017 - Part 1

I did end up in Columbia, but at least it didn't storm. And I found three of the books from this month. Better than none. Start with the two that are still mid-storyarc.

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #8, by Jon Rivera (writer/story), Gerard Way (story), Michael Avon Oeming (artist), Nick Filardi (colorist), Clem Robins (letterer) - Those look like fingerprints on the rocks. Enormous fingerprints. I have no idea if that's what's intended, or what's signified by it.

The Whisperer and his followers are moving across universes, converting people to their cause (represented by the skin at eye level being torn away and glowing blue bone and eyes revealed below). Cave and the others are trying to keep up, but are outnumbered and hole up in a universe where they find Cave's old mentor alive (albeit giving lectures to dead students). After a lot of discussion about what the Whisperer is up to, they are attacked by it and its followers, though it doesn't seem interested in finishing them off, so Cave will have the chance to deal with it.

It seems likely, given that Cave's wife is not buried in this alternate universe where she was in Cave's, that she's still alive. That Cave so adamantly denies Chloe's suggestion that maybe she is alive here only cinches it in my mind. But the refusal to consider the possibility makes sense. Cave has seized on this adventure as a way of, at best, pulling himself out of the depression he'd sunk into by way of action. It's a distraction, and encountering a living reminder of what he's trying to ignore, would make that difficult. Especially since she wouldn't be his wife, similar looking and acting and thinking perhaps, maybe even married to the cave Carson that existed in that universe, but not the same woman. And Cave couldn't stay, so what would be the point?

Granting that I don't know much about Cave's original comic adventures, it almost feels as though Rivera and Way are moving him backwards for this battle. More assertive, butting heads with this Johnny fellow from his old crew, no cybernetic eye. Chloe and Wild Dog both seem to be receding into the background a bit (Wild Dog more than Chloe, but she was closer to being a part of all this than he was). Is this Cave's chance to conclude old business that he should have finished long ago? Dealing with the Borsteins and the damage they've caused? Was it all brought about by his original explorations, and then it's reached this point because he washed his hands of it and stopped paying attention? I'm just spitballing.

Page 19 is a pretty one. Cave almost seems to have lost it, trying to yell at the Whisperer and Borstein to come out and face him as the followers swarm towards them. The lower two-thirds are set with a couple of large blue panels mirroring the eye sockets of those followers. The bottom of the page, bathed it a reddish-orange that matches what's rising from a smoking crater in the upper left corner of the page show hordes of the zombified followers, and some of them are climbing up the space between the two blue panels, to the panel above, where Cave is trying to stave them off with a flamethrower while the disembodied voice of the Whisperer/Borstein taunts him, by telling him he wouldn't want to leave cave all alone. So as you read that, your eye follows the fire of the explosion down the page between the blue panels, to the army below. And the blue panels show Cave looking downward towards the army, refusing to leave, while Chloe tries to get him and a wounded Wild Dog the hell out of there.

The specific way 'We. Are. Leaving!' is written there makes me think it's a reference to 'Marines! We Are Leaving!' from Aliens, but maybe not. Not that uncommon of a thing to say. It would fit, in the sense Cave staying to try and get revenge or strike back somehow is futile and getting their wounded to safety and regrouping is the best option.

Still enjoying Filardi's colors and what they add to Oeming's art. The Whisperer being this mess of bright orange and maroon tentacles and shapes, the neon green of the Mole's cockpit. And in general, I think his use of color helps to guide the eye through some of the more unusual panel layouts. I'm sure that's a collaborative effort from all parties, but it wouldn't work if Filardi's colors didn't grab the eye and draw it where it needs to go.

Copperhead #13, by Jay Faerber (writer), Drew Moss (artist), Ron Riley (colorist), Thomas Mauer (letterer) - I bet that guy got those horns stuck on a lot of stuff when he was a kid. Unless they don't develop until his species hits maturity.

The sheriff didn't actually quit, because she's still investigating. The Mayor was sleeping in the guest room in his house, because he was carrying on an affair. By the time Clara tracks down the other woman, she's dead the same way as the former Mayor. Current Mayor Boo is trying to keep Mr. Hickory calmed down, as it's hard to tell which of them is successfully manipulating the other. The dangerous criminal guy is still trying to make it to Copperhead. I'm guessing he'll show up sometimes at the very end of next issue.

I kind of wish this felt like more of genuine mystery I could be trying to solve. Maybe it's supposed to be, but it seems more likely (and the cover for the next issue being on the back cover of this issue doesn't help) like Ishmael is going to show up with a name of a killer for the Sheriff, she's going to go find the killer, there'll be a fight, it'll end somehow, that's about it.

Also, having Clara do the big "I Quit!" at the end of last issue, then immediately opening this one with her still investigating and having very much not quit, feels cheap. I didn't expect she'd stop investigating, but why try for that as your cliffhanger, and then blow it to hell on page 2 of the next issue? It feels like Faerber wasn't even really trying to for any suspense himself, so what's the point?

That complaint aside, there are pieces moving here I find interesting. This interplay between Boo and Hickory (and how Clara's going to fit into it). The Sheriff now owing a favor to Madame Vega. It feels like this thread with the escaped con has been going on forever, but I am curious to see exactly what his backstory is with the Sheriff, since it doesn't feel as simple as her having arrested him, or him being her son's father. And this murder mystery could play out in a cool way, it just hasn't been great so far. No particular reason to care about the now former Mayor, since he hadn't appeared at all prior to his death.

The complaint I've had about Moss not giving Boo the proper size, well I'm still not sure about Boo, but he drew the head of the Mayor's security large enough. Properly conveying size, making Clara's complete indifference to his attempts at intimidation more effective. Sometimes Moss nails the body language; some of the panels of Clara glaring. The one where she mutters to herself about everyone making things difficult while she talks to Madame Vega. There was a certain tiredness to that one, maybe because vega and Clara's panels are drawn so the two are in opposition, and Vega is drawn standing ramrod straight, while Clara seems somewhat hunched over, actually probably leaning against the fish tank behind her). It's a less aggressive approach than with the security guard, but she was hoping things were going to go smoother here.

Moss does seem to struggle with lips. The Sheriff's lips sit really oddly on her face in a lot of panels, usually when Moss is going for some more quizzical or disgusted expression. He gives her fuller lips than Godlewski did, and the coloring of them is darker, makes them stand out more. There's just certain panels where it looks like some attached lips the way you do on a Mr. Potato Head which is not ideal.

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