I realize I haven’t reviewed a Marvel comic yet, and technically this will be the second DC book I have reviewed. I’m not going to lie; I’m doing it on purpose, but with good reason. Right now Marvel is in the middle of blowing up their universe and rebooting it (It worked for DC. Twice!) with Secret Wars 4. And they are going back and revisiting some old storylines which, while cool, I really don’t want to give a dissertation on what Inferno was (unless you want me to, it’s actually a pretty cool event from the late 80’s ) or some other crossover event from Marvel’s past and how it relates to the mini-series they are releasing, and as much as I’d like to do a review of Ms. Marvel, it’s a tie-in to the event like every other Marvel book right now. So, please bear with me for another week or two for some of the new #1s to come out and we’ll be able to take a look at some of the things going on in the new Marvel Universe. In the meantime, let’s take a look at…
Writers: Gilbert Hernandez
Penciller: Darwyn Cooke
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Last time on…..
Well, this is different. A new series with no expectations based on past issues, volumes, TV shows, or movies. A whole new cast of characters to discover, a new world to explore, unlimited possibilities! It’s a Vertigo title, so there are a few things we can usually expect: cussing, nudity, and things are about to get weird (cue rim shot).
As with most first issues, the pace is a little on the slow side, but when the cast and plot are being set up, that’s to be expected. Speaking of cast, we have a pretty expansive one here. We have Anton and Tito (who’s cheating on her husband Nikolas with Anton); Bundo the town drunk; three children: Milo, Grover, and Jael; Felix, a scientist from an unnamed institute; and a mysterious white haired woman who appears at the end of the issue. Set in a South American town on the ocean, strange white balls about the size of a car have been appearing and quickly disappearing fairly regularly around the town lately. The most recent ball, a few feet off the shore, is discovered by the children and Bundo. That night, Bundo passes out drunk while “guarding” the white ball and it vanishes. The next night it appears in Anton’s bedroom half way in the floor, but when he and Tito check the apartment below them, it has again disappeared. The next morning Felix investigates the area where the ball appeared in the ocean, but can’t find any trace that it had been there. As Felix heads back into town, we get the feeling that the townspeople do not appreciate him being there for some reason. Meanwhile, back at the beach, the children discover the white ball in a seaside cave. When Jael touches the ball, a freak storm hits the town. After the storm the children are found, but their eyes are solid white and they are blind. Overall, Hernandez keeps the dialogue tight, and keeps the story moving forward while revealing just enough hints about the characters and their past to get us interested in them.
Ok, here is the real reason I picked this book up. I love Darwyn Cooke’s art style. Yes, the cover is cool, but he drew it as well. The first book he worked on that I read was The Justice League New Frontier where it had a sweet retro feel similar to Mike Mignola (Hellboy), and the detail he put into every panel was amazing. In The Twilight Children, Cooke has softened his style and it looks similar to Brue Timm’s work (Batman: The Animated Series). As usual though, the backgrounds are gorgeous, and again the small details in every panel are fantastic. Stewart does a fine job in coloring this book, and does a neat job of tying the white balls, the children’s whited out eyes, and the mysterious woman’s white hair together by having them be not just the same white we see elsewhere in the book but as a complete absence of color, or a void where those things should be.
The real draw to this book for me is Cooke’s artwork. It’s not the house style that you usually see from other companies, and it’s just plain cool. Hernandez gets off to a slow start but he has me interested enough to keep reading for another issue or two to see if the pace picks up. Overall I give it 4 flying babies in a storm out of 5. Oh, and yes there was cussing, nudity, and things did get a little weird.
Digging Through the Long Box
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, he loves that Darwyn Cooke guy sooooooo much. He’s going to tell us to read New Frontier.” WRONG! I’m going to zig when you thought I was going to zag! Go check out Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere by Vertigo. Written by Mike Carey and art by Glenn Fabry, this story is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and follows a mysterious girl (see what I did there?) named Door and a regular bloke named Richard Mayhew. Door is from a strange world called London Below, which is (you guessed it!) underneath London, and with the help of Richard, she tries to discover who murdered her family, and stay one step ahead of the assassins that are after her. Filled with wonderful characters and fantastic art, this mini-series is definitely worth picking up. Or you could read the book. Or watch the TV mini-series that has Peter Capaldi playing an angel. Heck, do all three.