Sometimes I read or watch things quicker than I have time – or motivation, or perhaps even focus – to sit down and do a full blog post. Nothing against whatever those items are. I feel a compulsion to blog something for virtually everything, but I don't want this to turn into a barrage of short posts. Hence periodic “Quick Hits.”
This is a collection of various recent works for Marvel Comics done by Alan Davis, who is one of my favorite artists. His style I would characterize as a combination of Neal Adams and John Byrne, with a dash of elegant smoothness of line all his own. Here we find three annuals from 2012 – Fantastic Four Annual #33, Daredevil Annual #1, and Wolverine Annual #1, along with a Thor special from a few years back, Thor: Truth of History. The three annuals actually form a single story arc although each can be read on its own, and tie into one of my favorite properties created by Davis, ClanDestine, a half-djinn English family/reluctant super-team. I like team books; I like family sagas; I love England – ClanDestine is a natural for me. In these stories we learn more about the “black sheep” of the group, Vincent Destine, whose history and fate always hung over the original 1990s series and a subsequent 2000s mini-series like a pall. I'm not sure how the Thor special fits in, although there is one minor character who also appears in the Daredevil Annual. Probably it's more that it was another work by Davis that could be thrown in to make a decent-sized collection. I'm not complaining; anything by Davis is good with me, and this story has its own special charm, presenting a secret history of the Sphinx as well as hilarious miscommunications between Thor and the Warriors Three and denizens of ancient Egypt.
I picked this up on a whim on Free Comic Book Day, based largely on the overwhelmingly positive reception and sales it enjoyed when it was released the previous month. Again, it's a team book/intergenerational family saga, so in that respect it would seem a natural for me. Being from a second-tier publisher that I don't get a whole lot from, it didn't really hit my radar during solicitations/pre-ordering, and some of Mark Millar's work I find a bit obnoxious – in fact, not too long before I actually picked this up I was actually turned off by the solicitation text for issue #2, coming in June: “Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Superman this month by buying this frankly much-more interesting book by superstar creators Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.” (Perhaps that's not Millar's pitch, but I have a very easy time seeing it as his.) I'm quite impressed with this first issue, however, and will probably continue getting it if only in digital.
Valiant's string of hits revamping their early 1990s flash-in-the-pan universe continues with this tale of supernatural encroachment set in appropriately atmospheric New Orleans. Here are collected the first four issues. It's not my favorite of the new Valiant – that place is still held by Archer and Armstrong, but it is solid nonetheless and I'm staying with it in trade.
Not to be confused with the upcoming new Superman title, Superman Unchained (which title I hate, by the way). Here is about an hour-and-a-quarter animated adaptation of Geoff Johns' and Gary Frank's story arc collected as Superman: Brainiac – which of course led directly into the year-long 2009-2010 New Krypton event. This story ends quite differently than the source, however – Kandor is not restored to full-size on Earth, nor does Pa Kent die. Lacking that emotional punch in the gut at the end, this movie is good nonetheless, if only for hearing Stana Katic and Molly Quinn (Kate Becket and Alexis Castle from Castle) voicing Lois Lane and Supergirl. The most unexpected moment came soon after Brainiac had shrunk Metropolis, and stood gazing down into the now-bottled city:
Cheers! -- and Thanks for reading!