Monday, October 29, 2012

Comic Book Resolutions 2012

With a little over two months until the end of the year it seems like an appropriate time to start thinking about comic book resolutions. The biggest resolution I made at the beginning of this year was to read more and buy less. Specifically I wanted by "to be read pile to shrink" and avoid buying things that I just ain't going to read.

Aside from that my only other resolution was to read more Batman comic books, specifically some of the classic Batman story lines. Prior to 2012 the only big Batman stories I had read were

- The Dark Knight Returns
- The Cult
- Hush
- The Long Halloween

So far this year I have read

- Year One
- The Untold Legend of Batman (3-part mini-series)
- Rules of Engagement (Batman Confidential 1-6)
- A New Dawn (Batman Confidential 26-28)

I also read books 3 and 4 of Gotham Central. Strictly speaking it is not a Batman book but it is a Batman family book.

At the moment I am reading Year Three (Batman 436-439) and also have Ghosts (Batman Confidential 40-43) sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

There are a few other books that I want to read before the end of 2012:

Martian Manhunter: American Secrets - For almost 10 years I only had the first issue of this 3-part mini-series. A couple years ago I found the third one in a bargain bin at Baltimore Comic Con. A couple months ago I found the second one on Comic Collectors Live, for a reasonable price. Now that I have assembled the entire story it seems like an appropriate thing to push to the top of my reading pile. I hope it lives up to my expectations.

The Spectre 9-12 - by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake - I bought the first 35 issues of this series a few years ago. I started to read it, was enjoying it but didn't get far into it before putting it down to read something else. I need to get back on that horse and start reading this series again. Based on my usual reading habits four issues seems like a reasonable number to try read over the next couple months.

The Mice Templar volume 2.2: Destiny

I will read other things aside from those I just listed above before year's end but as far as targeted reading goes I think this list will suffice for now.

I am working on a list of what I want to read in 2013. It won't be a comprehensive list of everything on my TBR shelf or of anything and everything that I would like to read. It will be a manageable goal which includes books from various types of writers, artists, and publishers.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Scalped v3: #16

Dead Mothers - Chapter 4
by Jason Aaron (writer) and R.M. Guéra (artist)

Bad Horse searches in White Haven, outside of his area of jurisdiction, for Diesel, whom he suspects of committing murder on the Rez. Red Crow gets a visit from Nitz, in his casino. Nothing gets resolved but a new character is introduced and some blood gets spilled in the process.

Does anything end well in this series? So far the answer is no and with just one chapter left it doesn't look like this story arc is going to diverge from that pattern.

The wordless panels are brilliant composed and placed. They are a vital part of how the story is told. So much information and feeling is conveyed in what they depict. The silent exchange of glances between Red Crow and Dino Poor Bear is probably the best example of this.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Scalped v3: #15

Dead Mothers - Chapter 3
by Jason Aaron (writer) and R.M. Guéra (artist)

Bad Horse gets some help, which he didn't request, in solving a very personal case. Leading up to and following that he tries to mentor Shelton and deal with memories of his mother.

It feels as though pieces are starting to fall into place. It seems unlikely but not impossible, given his passionate response to Dash's statement early on in this chapter, that Red Crow is directly responsible for the murder of Gina Bad Horse. Outwardly, at the very least, he is more disturbed by her murder than is her son. Ruling out the possibility that some bit player may be the murderer, the tone and track of the story seems to point the finger of blame at another passionate and central player in this story.

The interrogation scene deserves to be singled out. It only lasts four pages and cuts away before it gets graphically gruesome. Still, the final panel on the next to last page of the scene leaves little to the imagination as to what is obscured from view on the next page. Without showing the worst part Guéra leaves the end of the scene up to the reader's imagination to fill in this making it possibly more horrific than if he depicted the gruesome details.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Scalped v3: #14

Dead Mothers - Chapter 2
by Jason Aaron (writer) and R.M. Guéra (artist)

Dash has to deal with Shelton, the dead prostitute's eldest child, and Nitz, his boss. One wants him to find the man who killed Pamela Bittan, the prostitute, the other wants him to find the man who killed Gina Bad Horse, his mother. Nitz could care less about Pamela Bittan. In the end Nitz has to tip his own hand in an attempt to keep Bad Horse in line.

The visual storytelling is beautifully handled. Once again there are lots of wordless panels. There are also some very wordy panels. Both work in the context of the story although the wordier ones do seem a bit crowded.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Scalped v3: #13

Dead Mothers - Chapter 1
by Jason Aaron (writer) and R.M. Guéra (artist)

It hasn't hit Dash yet. He doesn't find out until 3/4 of the way into the chapter. In the end Red Crow is the one to break the news to him. Dash doesn't have the time to deal with it then because he's getting ready to deliver a similar message to a group of kids, the oldest of whom is just 12. Someone else should have broken the news to them, but the others were a little too chicken-hearted to do so. On his own initiative Dash delivers the bad news to them, in the immediate wake of Red Crow's visit.

There's more to the chapter than these two exchanges of information. The chapter opens with a drug bust and a very unorthodox interrogation. Those are intense moments in their own right but the most memorable ones are those that end the chapter.

Sometimes it feels as if there ought to be more sound effects. In this chapter the lack of them has a powerful effect. The pictures tell it all in the wordless places. To include sound effects would be redundant and steal the thunder that the pictures provide.