Monday, 14 September 2015

Atoll Comics Round 22

Or changes to my Top-Ten comics

Due to having an entertainment budget and an urge to buy better comics, I have decided to be 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 Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra and dropping Black Widow.

Why Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra: Background characters are one of my favourite things about fiction. I mean, you never get to see it, but you can imagine that despite their shallow portrayal they must have complex lives beyond their role in the story. This is especially true of henchmen, those anonymous people who join nefarious organizations and are just endlessly beaten or killed. It's just such a hapless role that picturing these minions as well rounded people is ridiculous and existentially kind of poignant. Hank Johnson, AOH, mines this comedic tension to make what is so far a really fun sitcom comic that explores the friction between a blue collar Hydra henchman's work and personal life. The first issue is a super tight issue that delivers a comic packed with wonderfully constructed jokes built deployed by Team Hydra (Mandel, Walsh, and Wilson) with impeccable timing. I am not sure the premise necessarily has the legs to be a comic I read indefinitely, but for now HJAOH is one of those rare gems of a genuinely funny action comic.

Why not Black Widow: Black Widow is a comic that has run out of premise. The main arch of the comic told a story, wrapped it up, and now it is living on in an unnecessary Secret Wars after life and... I've just run out of interest with it. Early issues of Black Widow presented a slick, espionage comic that existed in the world of Marvel with an interesting take on it's title character. Unfortunately, I never felt the series really changed gears into a wholly satisfying story beyond the initial exploration of the premise. The quality of the artwork -Phil Noto was great- kept me going on the title much longer than I would have based on the story alone and kept me reading the book to it's natural conclusion. Now that the issue is tying-in and seemingly killing time until the post event world or whatever (Marvel, I don't even know anymore...) I'm just not interested in reading more of this comic. And so it's time to move on to the next thing.


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