Monday, 6 August 2012

Atoll Comics: Round 2

Or Changes to My Top-Ten Comics

Due to poverty and an urge to buy better comics, I have decided to be super-selective about which superhero comics I read. Harnessing the Awesome Power of Maths, I have determined that I can afford to read 10 ongoing titles. So I get to read 10, and only 10, titles published by either Marvel or DC as well as one trade paperback a week of my choosing.

A complication of this is that I am forced to drop an on-going title if I want to try reading a new on-going title, an act of very tough love. Being financially responsible is the worst.

I will be adding Hawkeye to my ten comic list and dropping The Flash.

Why after the cut:

Why Hawkeye?

Two words: Fraction. Aja.

Seriously, those names sum up why I NEED to read this book. David Aja is on of those rare artist whose work I will just buy: his style, design, and layouts are astounding. For my moneyhe is easily one of the best comicbook artists alive. Matt Fraction is also easily one of my favourite writers: Casanova melts my brain,2 Invincible Ironman is fantastic, and The Order is one of my all time favourite comics. Even his titles I didn't love like Mighty Thor (got bogged down in Fear Itself) and The Defenders (a little too craaaazy for my tastes) are still really great comics that I would be reading if I had more money. Put the two of these fantastic creators together (along with Ed Brubaker) and, well, you get The Immortal Ironfist which was an absolutely incredible comic book; easily one of the best I've read. 

Having read the first issue of Hawkeye, it really looks like a return to The Immortal Ironfist level of quality. The book has a great hook in "the Avenger who is also a dude" having absurd misadventures when he isn't Avenging. The script just breathes with energy in that way Fraction does when he really gets into a concept and the artwork is as amazing as anything Aja has produced. If the first issue is any indication this is a MUST READ comic.

Why not The Flash?

Let me first say, dropping this book is in no way an indictment of the overall quality of it. It's more a case of changing environment and Darwinian comic collecting. Essentially, a new title I desperately want to read started and so I had to drop a book (because Rules) and sadly this book is it.

But why The Flash? Well, there are a couple reasons. The first is that books read primarily for their artist REALLY suffer when a fill in artist has to step in, and the flash without Francis Manapul on pencils goes from a great comic to a good comic. The second reason for dropping this book is that, sort of ironically for a book about a super-speedster, the book kind of lacks momentum. While individual stories are all fun enough, and there clearly is a building plot, it just lacks the urgency needed to keep me around (not that urgency is the only thing that can ensure my interest, but a-by-the-numbers superhero book needs a compelling plot).

Actually, the generic superhero-iness of the book is another issue with The Flash, since it's lack of originality doesn't do it any favours when I'm only reading ten ongoing titles. Comics that standout thematically (like Hawkeye) really improve a comics survivability.

That said, depending on how marvel NOW shakes out, I may come back to The Flash.

1: Which  is kind of the point of all this.

2: Reviews pending.

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