My reading as of late has fallen into two categories: comics and books about musicians. While I can write well once a quarter, I can’t draw or play an instrument. Yet, I find myself drawn to books that display those talents. I will talk about my music books in my music podcast. Today, I want to do a write up of a few comics that I have enjoyed lately.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Years One to Three: This book is the prequel to the hit video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. In the game, Superman has forgotten about truth, justice, and the American way and instills his own justice. In other words, he stops trying to be one of us and decides he knows what his best for us. These books explain how we get to that state. Written by Tom Taylor and with art by Mike S. Miller, Bruno Redondo, Tom Derenick, and Jheremy Raapack we get to see over 6 collections (two for each year) the rise of a fascist Superman. Instead of just making him a bad guy, they give him very real, very human reasons for the actions he chooses. Batman opposes him but instead of being just the good guy, he makes questionable choices. It’s a civil war but one in which Tom Taylor goes full in and isn’t afraid to show the flaws of his two leads. Year One was the best book so far, but Year Two and Three have some great moments. I’m just afraid that year Four and Five will just hatch plots for Batman to come close but not topple Superman since this is a prequel to a game with defined sides . Avalilable on Hoopla and here (only linked volume 1).
Kingdom Come: Injustice downright uses some plot points of Kingdom Come written by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. However, I don’t find Kingdom Come as successful. Mainly, because unlike in Injustice, Waid never fully lets his characters go as dark as Taylor does. The art work is interesting in that it is almost a Norman Rockwell setting. Also, interesting is that in this book, all of the Superheros are older. Interestingly, in both books, Wonder Woman is quick to go to the more rule by force side. Available on Hoopla and here.
Batman: The Complete Hush: Written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee, this book is the one I would recommend to anyone who wants to get into comics. Nearly every villain in the Batman universe makes an appearance. Batman is conflicted with all the relationships in his life. It has great action pieces but it also shows how much tragedy informs the worlds of our superheroes. Avalilable on Hoopla and here.
Silver Surfer (starting in 2014 Issues 1-15) Dan Slott casts the Silver Surfer as a Doctor Who type of character with an earthling, Dawn Greenwood, as his companion who helps him stay rooted in his humanity. The writing is fun and the characters are charming and funny. Issue #11 in particular is a triumph in storytelling. However, as good as Slott is here, and he is at his best, Michael Allread’s artwork is the true star here. Available on Marvel Unlimited and here (only linked volume 1).