Dork Awards: The 25 Best Funnybooks of 2013, Part One


It was a good year to be a funnybook fan.

I mean, they all are. There’s always SOMEthing good coming out, even in bad years. But 2013 offered up an embarrassment of riches, with exciting new talent, continuing excellence from old masters, and a blitz of original projects from the cream of the big-time comics crop. There was so much good stuff, in fact, that it was tough paring it all down for our annual list of the year’s best funnybooks. We persevered, though, and settled on 25 titles that we thought deserved special notice.

With such a big list this year, we’ll be splitting it in two. The first half of this thing is already longer than the average interweb attention span, so we figured it was just basic survival tactics. And as always, remember: our list is just one dork’s opinion. I like what I like, and make no excuses for it. Some books will be conspicuous by their absence, and others will undoubtedly send someone into a snit over their very inclusion. But if you’re into left-of-center mainstream funnybooks, we think you’ll like our choices. And if you don’t… good! Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

So, without further ado, here are the Dork Forty picks for the 25 best comics of 2013, starting with an…

Honorable Mention:

Thor: God of Thunder, by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic

This book’s initial storyline, involving GORR, BUTCHER OF GODS!!!, was beautifully illustrated and so metal my mouth felt coppery after reading every issue.

Ribic Thor 11 KRAKOOM

It offered up a fascinating look at Thor’s personal development over the centuries by giving us not just the Thor we know, but also the loutish Young Thor and the grumpy Old Thor. It also felt particularly Norse, with both the bleak fatalism and broad humor of the Eddas. The arc went on a little too long, but the ride was good enough that it didn’t matter so much. It was everything I could want out of a Thor comic.

Then the second arc started, and it was obvious that Marvel wanted a story to tie in with this year’s Thor movie. The focus narrowed to just present-day Thor, Malekith the Accursed was trotted out as the villain, and things generally became stupider. The artwork suffered as Esad Ribic was traded out for Ron Garney (who’s fine, but not as good as Ribic), and Jason Aaron’s scripts started to feel like something he was just tossing together for the paycheck. It was quite a disappointment, and by the end of the year, I wasn’t reading the book any longer. I’ll go back when the Malekith arc is over, but as long as the story feels hijacked by corporate, it’s not worth my funnybook dollar. Nor does it earn a place in the Top 25.

But now, without further delay, let’s get to the countdown…

25. Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

One of several strong new series to emerge in the Fall, Pretty Deadly is the Western framed as myth. It’s about murder, revenge, and redemption. It’s about the daughter of Death, a blind man who can see, and a skeletal rabbit telling stories to a butterfly. It’s beautiful and violent and mysterious, and I couldn’t begin to explain all its secrets to you. But that’s the good thing about secrets: they keep you coming back for more.

24. Trillium

Jeff Lemire is maybe the most extreme example of the current breed of funnybook creators whose personal work I love, but whose corporate super hero writing I don’t waste my money on. Much as I found Lemire’s Green Arrow to be uninspired and derivative, for instance, I find Trillium to be fresh and unique. Ostensibly a time travel story about the future extinction of the human race, it’s also an alternate history comic about gender. And it’s as psychedelic as anything in all those old Jim Starlin comics I spent most of December going on about:

embiggen for extra ball-tripping!

embiggen for extra ball-tripping!

23. Shaolin Cowboy, by Geoff Darrow

Heh. A-heh-heh-heh. This book has always been more about letting Geoff Darrow draw whatever crazy-ass thing he feels like than it has about story. But that’s never been more clear than in the insanity on display here. Two full issues were spent on two page spreads of the title character slicing apart an army of zombies with two chainsaws lashed to the ends of an impossibly-long stick! That’s right! Two entire comics, filled with nothing but super widescreen panels of zombie-killing. And in all those panels with all those hundreds of zombies…

Darrow Shaolin Cowboy vs Zombies

…NO TWO OF THEM LOOKED THE SAME. That’s a beautiful thing, and well-worth a spot among the best.

22. Action Comics, by Grant Morrison and Various Artists

I will always look upon Grant Morrison’s Superman relaunch as a missed opportunity. He’s working with grand ideas and good material, crafting a First Chapter for the character to go alongside the classic Final Chapter that is his All-Star Superman. And as far as that goes, I think he succeeds.

Morrison’s Action Comics is a great set up. He firmly grounds Superman in the brown Kansas dirt, planting the seeds of the legend he will later become. He gives us an introduction to the ethics and enthusiasm that will make Superman into the greatest hero of all time. He shows us the beginnings of the friendships and conflicts that will define Our Hero’s fictional life, and promises a colorful flowering of mad adventure to come.

But he stops with the promise. We never get to see the mad adventure. I suppose the point is that we’ve already gotten it. That there are more than enough crazy-ass stories in the character’s 70-plus years of publication to fill in the gap.

But, man. MAN. Just as this Action Comics run was an attempt to re-tell Superman’s earliest adventures for a modern audience, now I want the same thing for all those stories in-between. I want a new Superman mythos defined by high imagination and craziness, and with Morrison gone from the series I’m not gonna get it. I’m not even gonna get decent follow-up on all the stuff he set up in this story whose entire purpose was to set things up for other writers to build upon.

Thus, the missed opportunity, and thus, the series’ relatively low ranking in the list.

21. Young Avengers, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

This book is like the best kind of hook-crazy pop single, the kind you can’t get out of your head, and don’t want to. It’s not deep, but it’s fun. And fun goes a long way. It’s a corporate spandex comic with a taste for narrative experimentation, but the storytelling is always crystal-clear and never less than utterly modern. It’s a teen hero comic with a penchant for representing its angst not as X-Men style pidgen-noir oppressiveness, but by turning Our Heroes’ parents and mentors into cheerfully creepy pawns of the series’ primary villain. It gave us one of the better romances of the year, and didn’t make a big deal out of the fact that it was between two gay characters. It’s glib and self-referential without being cute about it, and as effortlessly cool as a Beatles record. Or at least one from the Kinks.

20. Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III

I hesitated including this one on the list, because only one issue appeared in 2013. And it’s so relatively low on the list because there was only that one issue. But it’s such a good comic, such an amazing art job from JH Williams, and such a great return for the Sandman series… That I would feel remiss not including it.

19. The Bunker, by Joshua Fialkov and Joe Infurnari

Near-future science fiction with an irresistible premise: five college friends find a bunker in the woods, filled with information from their future selves telling them that they will be responsible for the extinction of the human race. The series jumps between flashes of that future time, and Our Heroes’ reaction to revelations that break their friendship apart. The writing is sharp, and artist Joe Infurnari is turning in some very nice work that puts me in mind of Gene Colan:

Infurnari Burnker 5

In addition to being sharp comics in general, The Bunker is also indicative of a trend I think we’ll be seeing more of in the future: it debuted as a digital-only series, planned for eventual print collections. That’s a great way for lesser-known creators to get their work in front of an audience, and to make some money at it without the overhead involved in print publication. And in this case, it’s a plan that worked: Oni Press will be collecting the digital-only issues in February, with regular print editions planned thereafter. Check it out then, or hit Comixology for it now. Whatever your medium of choice… give it a shot. It’s not God’s gift to comics or anything, but it IS good enough to make the list.

The countdown continues… after the jump. Continue reading

Sci-Fi Rules the Funnybooks of August


So many funnybooks!

So little time!

CAPSULEREVIEWSAREGO!!!!

Infinity 1, by Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, and Mark Morales

Cheung Infinity 1

(Fake cover is also go.)

Not entirely sure why I bought this. I generally find “event” comics to be a cancer on the body of the comics industry, creatively-compromised stories that are very seldom satisfying, and that usually just interrupt the flow of more interesting on-going series that I’m enjoying. I’m not even reading the Avengers series this one flows out of, finding the eight-dollar-a-month price tag too expensive for even a giant Jonathan Hickman epic. So why did I spend five bucks on this thing?

Probably because I’d just gotten the first three issues of Hickman’s Avengers for 99 cents apiece in a digital sale that charged me about what I think those books are worth. At that price, they were an enormously entertaining bit of spandex fluff with the sort of ridiculously weighty cosmic tone of Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin, and I was hungry for more. So congratulations, Marvel Comics marketing! Your brief flirtation with cheap-money comics got me to drop a five-spot on your next big bullshit event!

Will I spend more? Well… Infinity was pretty awesome, so I just might. I mean, I’m still not going to submit to the highway robbery that is the bi-weekly Avengers series. That would be insane. But I don’t need to. Hickman’s handily written this book so that you don’t really need all that expensive backstory. It’s also a big ol’ chunky slab o’ comics. I’m not gonna sit here and count pages, but the book is thick enough that I didn’t really feel like a chump for spending that five bucks. There’s a ton of gigantic, sprawling action taking place all across the universe and starring a cast so huge that it takes a whole page of Hickman-designed thumbnail drawings to identify them all. There’s creepy stealth assassin stuff, huge action set-pieces, ominous warnings, humorous small-scale skirmishes… You name it. There’s no real character development, of course, but that’s okay for a story like this. We already know and care about these characters, so you can coast a bit and rely on action and plot to engage the reader. There’s just enough human drama to keep the proceedings from being soulless, and that’s all you need.

It’s also pretty. Hickman contributes his trademark clean graphic design with chapter headings, flow charts, and a giant two-page spread for the credits. And while Jim Cheung is not what I’d call a master cartoonist, I like his clean lines, and his style is just idiosyncratic enough that I consider him an ideal super hero artist. All of which makes Infinity a stylish and creatively-satisfying piece of big corporate spandex event writing that might very well bring me back for more.

4 Star

 

Trillium 1, by Jeff Lemire

Lemire Trillium1

Aahh. Good to see Jeff Lemire continuing to work outside the confines of the work-for-hire playground. I’ve been rather harsh in my estimation of his DC Reboot work, but Trillium is another beast entirely, a science fiction tale published in flip-book format. Sure, it’s a gimmick. But it’s a neat gimmick, and one that plays to the story itself. Because Lemire’s telling two stories here: one of a far-future scientist searching alien worlds for a plant that can save the human race from a deadly disease, and the other of a shell-shocked WWI veteran searching for meaning on archeological expeditions in the post-war years. It doesn’t matter which side of the book you start with; Lemire directs the reader to flip back and forth between them enough that you’re sure to get a proper taste of both. It’s an entertaining mix, with the two stories playing off each other thematically, weirdness, mysticism, desperation, and horrible violence all coming into play. The literal connection between the two isn’t obvious until you reach the end (or, rather, the middle), and even then it leaves you with questions. Intriguing mystery to carry you through to the next issue. A next issue I will almost certainly be buying.

4 Star

 

Collider 1, by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez

Nathan Fox Collider 1

Collider is blue collar science fiction about near-future civil servants who are called out to fix things when the laws of physics break down. The reason they’re breaking down, and who’s benefiting from it, are the book’s core mysteries, and I’m sure we’ll get to all that down the line. But this first issue is primarily concerned with introducing the characters and the problems, and it does a fine job of that. The writing is strong, grounded without being humorless, and a bit less jokey than the last comic I read from Simon Oliver, The Exterminators. But it’s the art that really puts this book over the top. Robbi Rodriguez draws regular people engagingly, and when the sci-fi action starts, he really shines. So while I won’t say that Collider‘s going to set anyone’s world on fire, it is strong, grounded sci-fi of a type we probably don’t see enough of.

3 Star

 

Manhattan Projects 13, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra

This lucky thirteenth issue finds Hickman and Pitarra slowing things down a tad in the wake of Enrico Fermi’s outing as an alien hunter-killer sleeper agent, reassessing their various plotlines, setting their players up for the next act, and–

Okay, wait. Sometimes with this book, it pays to stop talking for a minute and reflect on what you’ve just said. To whit: Enrico Fermi’s outing as an alien hunter-killer sleeper agent. Seriously… Holy crap. This is a comic… an on-going series, mind you… starring Einstein, Oppenheimer, (until recently) Enrico Fermi, and most of the other greatest scientific minds of the 20th Century. The sheer damn oddity of that is so great that it should really earn each and every issue of Manhattan Projects an extra star whenever I review it. Because SCIENCE!

Ahem. So, that in mind… Good issue. Oppenheimer’s going crazier, Feynman still hasn’t figured out he’s dealing with an other-dimensional Einstein doppelganger, the non-geniuses are plotting, Kennedy’s in the White House… Holy crap I love this book.

5 Star

 

Prophet 38, by Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, and Giannis Milogiannis

Rugg Prophet 38

As bizarrely represented on Jim Rugg’s cover, this issue of Prophet forgoes the grotesque biological excess that’s become the series’ hallmark in favor of the clean weirdness of a being that’s chosen to exist as a group of shimmering lights. That being is Suprema, younger sister of Supreme, Rob Liefeld’s Superman stand-in. Suprema always was something of a prim and proper type (or at least she was once Alan Moore started writing her), so this complete denial of the flesh makes a sort of sad, weird sense.

Fans of the series’ trademark body horror need not worry, though: this issue also sees Newfather John Prophet get a new insectoid arm, and Long John merge with his giant lobster shell-brother to make a space jump and fight weird-ass aliens. So there’s plenty of goopy bio-weirdness, too. The Suprema thing just stands out for its pristine cleanliness. It’s also a hallmark of where the series is going as it continues and develops. As the only survivors of the Extreme Studios relaunch, Brandon Graham and his collaborators are inheriting the whole of the Liefeld-verse to play with, and they’re gleefully taking advantage. Glory and Badrock seem to be on the horizon, and I can’t wait to see what ravages Prophet‘s far-future dystopia have visited upon those two.

4 Star

 

Fatale 16, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

The current Fatale storyline sees an amnesiac Josephine finding refuge amongst a bunch of directionless Gen X artistic types in the 1990s. It’s a story that offers Ed Brubaker a chance to write something a bit auto-biographical (having been a directionless Gen X artistic type himself), but it also reveals something interesting about his heroine: she may be as much a victim of her supernatural sexual magnetism as the men she attracts.

Stripped of her memories and the emotional baggage that goes with them, Josephine reverts to a primal state. “She makes love like a force of nature,” one of her young benefactors says, and that’s a good description of her unfettered behavior in general. Freed from all the horrors that drove her into isolation earlier in the series, she spends most of her time half-naked, swaying to music, admiring art, and seeking sex with whoever strikes her fancy at the moment. This is her true nature, I think, what she really is as opposed to what she wants to be. It would be refreshing to see her so uninhibited if it wasn’t something she’s fought so hard not to be. And, of course, if she wasn’t unknowingly weaving a web of attraction and resentment among everyone around her. Her freedom can only end badly, and therein lies the real horror.

5 Star

 

Satellite Sam 2, by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin

More stylish intrigue in the world of early television. This issue sees Mike White (our ostensible hero) mostly reeling from his father’s death. He drinks too much, and wanders through his life (including the funeral) clutching the big fishbowl space helmet his dad wore in the title space opera. Around him, the rest of the cast schemes and maneuvers, the network’s survival depending on the show, and Mike’s ability to continue in the lead role.

It’s great stuff, with Fraction leaping athletically from scene to scene, the story taking shape piece by piece as we get to know the large cast, all of them suspects in the murder. Chaykin’s in fine form here, too, illustrating his favorite era and bringing his full artistic toolbox into play. These pages are just caked with zip-a-tone (or its electronic equivalent), giving the whole thing a kind of texture you seldom see in funnybook art. A classy package dealing with events that are anything but.

4 Star

 

Buck Rogers 1, by Howard Chaykin

Chaykin Buck Rogers 1

I remember reading an interview with Howard Chaykin, sometime back in the 80s I think, in which he said that everyone who was at all worth admiring in Depression-era America was a communist sympathizer. Now, that was a long time ago, so I might be remembering wrong, but it was nonetheless on my mind as I read this first issue of Chaykin’s take on Buck Rogers. That’s because Chaykin’s Rogers is a communist firebrand, a WWI patriot who soured on the system in favor of the rights of the working man. That’s an unusual take in the long history of the character, but it’s actually pretty faithful to the political subtext of Philip Nowlan’s original Buck Rogers novella, Armageddon 2419, in which rival American gangs (quietly organized along communist lines) fight under the oppressively capitalistic rule of the Han.

Now, don’t get me wrong; this is primarily an adventure story, as it should be. Chaykin might draw on the politics of the original Buck Rogers tales, but he also delivers all the two-fisted airship-jetpack-and-raygun action you could want from a Buck Rogers yarn. It’s kinda dumb in places, and the action is definitely the focus. It’s a fun bit of fluff, not a political screed. But the political angle does give that fluff some weight, and makes things a little more interesting.

3 Star

 

East of West 05, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta

Hickman East of West 5

I’m pleased to see this book breaking some of the action-adventure cliches it initially seemed to be built on. There’s more going on with the Evil Men Who Control the World, for instance, than just maintaining their power base. Death’s unstoppable quest to free his wife doesn’t end with the expected tearful reunion, either. And both of those breaks with expectation revolve around the same thing: the series’ actual plot. Which is to say, the end of the world. Not that we haven’t seen fictional apocalypses before, of course, but I like the cut of this one’s jib.

4 Star

 

Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde 0 (of 3), by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse

Resident Alien was a pleasant surprise last year, a good-natured, low-key small-town murder mystery starring a stranded space alien posing as a human doctor. This sequel looks to be more of the same, picking up the day after the first series concludes, moving forward with its themes, filling in more of the backstory of how the alien became Henry, and of course confronting him with another mysterious death. It’s a fun light read combining two of my favorite genres, and it’s always nice to see Steve Parkhouse art, so I’m happy to see that a book this… quiet… sold well enough to continue in a comics market that doesn’t often reward such things.

4 Star

 

Thor, God of Thunder 11, by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic

At last, the conclusion of the God-Butcher saga. It’s been a fun ride, don’t get me wrong. GORR, BUTCHER OF GODS has been a totally Metal Thor villain, and I’ve particularly enjoyed Jason Aaron’s exploration of faith vs atheism, and how easily the latter becomes the former if you’re not careful (Richard Dawkins, take note). But it was time for this story to end. And man, did it ever end BIG.

Ribic Thor 11 KRAKOOM

click to embiggen THE THUNDER!!

KRA-KOOOOMM, indeed! This issue’s full of giant splash images like that, images of Thor being Thor, of total cosmic viking bad-assery on a grand scale. It also (in the manner of serial fiction) introduces another threat with a name that’s even more Metal than the last one: ALL-BLACK THE NECROSWORD! The SLICER OF WORLDS!

So fuck yeah I’ll be back for more! I’ll be back for more, even though the gorgeous artwork of Esad Ribic won’t be. Ribic is apparently due to return at a later date, but it looks like we’ve got Ron Garney coming up on the next arc. Which… Garney’s a fine funnybook artist. I like his stuff. But his work doesn’t transcend the way that Ribic’s does, and I fear that the series won’t be worth the four dollar cover price without something special in both story AND art.

But that’s the future. God of Thunder‘s been a great ride for the duration of the God-Butcher storyline, and this was a damn fine conclusion for it.

4 Star

 

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys 3, by Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, and Becky Cloonan

I must admit, I’m reading this book primarily because of Becky Cloonan’s art at this point. The story’s fine, and it’s got interesting ideas about the destructive nature of conflict, and how oppressors and freedom fighters become all too similar in the end. But it’s not developing those ideas all that well, and I’m kind of bored with it beyond that. Or… not bored, exactly. More… disconnected from it. I understand the basics of the series’ future world (dehumanizing corporate rule in the cities, mere anarchy in the wild), but it hasn’t been realized richly enough to make me care about it. It’s not actively bad, understand. But it’s not worth four bucks an issue, either. If this weren’t a mini-series with Cloonan art, I’d have dropped it by now.

3 Star

Butcher of Thongs!


 
Thor, God of Thunder #2:
Blood in the Clouds
by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic

The first issue of this book came out just two weeks ago, so I’m not going to give you a full review tonight. Suffice it to say that it’s still pretty freakin’ metal. Especially as this issue primarily stars Young Thor, the hard-drinkinest, wench-lovinest, ass-kickinest road warrior this side of Lemmy Killmister. This may be the closest Marvel’s ever really come to the Thor of myth (who was totally bad ass, but also kinda dumb). He’s a bit of an arrogant blowhard here, to be honest. Not unlikeable, but… Well, let’s just say it’s not entirely surprising that he’s not worthy to lift Mjolnir yet.

This issue also gives us our first look at the villain for this first arc (that would be GORR! THE BUTCHER OF GODS! if you’ve forgotten). He’s even more metal than Thor himself, a massively creepy grey-skinned killer with red-rimmed eyes, wearing an amorphous black cloak, and… very little else…

THONG!

Awesome. He’s rocking that cool-ass metal sorcerer look, but with just the right kind of nudity to also scream “torture basement!” What more could you ask for, really?

So. That’s eight bucks Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic have gotten me to spend on Thor this month, and I still feel like it’s money well-spent. Good job, gentlemen! Rock on!

Rockin’ Out with the God of Thunder


Hey, remember when we used to review funnybooks around here? Let’s get back to a bit of that, shall we…?

Thor: God of Thunder #1, by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic

This book is pretty goddamn metal.

I mean, look at that shit! Lightning, armor, axes, hammers, a creepy dude in a hood… All that’s missing is some kind of faux-rune logo tarted up to look like it’s made of steel, and–

Oh. Right. Check and fucking check.

Meh. Tahl.

Aside from being totally metal-up-your-ass, the above illustration from series artist Esad Ribic also does a really nice job of illustrating the broad strokes of writer Jason Aaron’s story, which follows Thor in three distinct eras. On the right we’ve got the noble and heroic Present-Day Thor (or NOWThor, to mock the obnoxious marketing campaign behind this new #1 issue). Up top we have Future Thor, the haunted ruler of Asgard millennia from now. And on the left we have Young Thor, who hangs out with vikings, gets drunk on their mead, and has prodigious sex with their women. He’s an unreconstituted lout, and therefore the most entertaining.

As for the guy in the hood… I’m not 100% sure, but I’m assuming that he’s the villain of the piece: Gorr, the Butcher of Gods, who– Actually… Wait. Let me give that name the touch of awesome it deserves…

GORR! The Butcher of Gods!

Yes, Jason Aaron has created a divine serial killer. He’s created a divine serial killer, and given him a name so brilliantly dumb-ass that it’s worthy of Lee and Kirby at their best. We don’t even see Gorr in this first issue, but he’s already a great villain in my head because…

Well, because GORR!

But also because we see his handiwork in all three eras of the story, with god-corpses already piling up before we even get started, and a promise of a future that’s very dark indeed. It’s nice build-up that both delivers a little meat in the now and has enough spice to whet our appetites for what’s to come.

(An aside: Speaking of Gorr, and how great he probably is… I’ve been seeing and hearing about quite a few new characters popping up in the work-for-hire spandex field of late. Which makes me wonder if the creative teams have been given a sweeter deal on future use of those characters, or if we’re seeing yet another generation of writers and artists giving away marketable ideas. Considering some of the things I’ve heard about DC tightening up the contracts under Warner Brothers’ greater corporate control, I doubt it’s the former. But I guess we’ll find out when we see who’s suing for royalties ten years down the line…)

Anyway. This first issue also sees Aaron hint at what’s up his sleeve with this whole “three eras of Thor” story structure. No, it isn’t to lube up history so it can accomodate the insertion of the Gorr retcon. We’ve seen that crap a dozen times before, and this ain’t that. No, Aaron’s actually going to be charting Thor’s character growth over time. And I think he’ll be looking at it, appropriately enough, through the character’s choice of weapons. As you can see in the picture above, Young Thor is fighting with a giant axe. But NOWThor has Mjolnir, his more familiar magic hammer. And Future Thor has both Mjolnir and the Odinsword. How does that indicate growth? Well, Thor had to earn the right to use Mjolnir, after all…

…and if this page of preview art is anything to go by, that problem will be a plot point:

I assume a similar personal evolution is necessary before Thor can use the Odinsword (which has, in the past, been cast as a weapon of such awesome power that it can only be used by the All-Father Himself). But I think it might require a physical change, too. In the Future Thor sequence this issue, Mjolnir seems too small in his hand, and I was thinking at first that Ribic had just messed up the perspective. Then I realized: Odin is often drawn over-sized, as if he’s just too much for normal human-sized reality to contain. The Odinsword is of similar proportions, and Future Thor’s swinging it around one-handed. Which means that Thor gets bigger, and Mjolnir does not.

Which, now that I’ve put it that way, seems potentially brilliant in all kinds of ways. For the moment, though, that little visual cue indicates a change a scale without making a big deal about it. That’s the sort of nice, subtle touch that’ll keep me coming back to pay my four bucks every month.

And, yes, I will be back. I don’t spend four dollars on a funnybook lightly. I want something at least a little bit extraordinary for that kind of money, but I think I might just get it here. Aaron’s story is intriguing, and Ribic’s art (as you can see) is stunning. He can’t do 12 issues a year in that style, of course, and so we’ll see what the quality of the inevitable fill-in art is like. But, barring a complete art-fail… and assuming that Aaron’s left alone to tell his story without Marvel cross-over event shenanigans… I can see myself slapping down that four bucks without blinking an eye.

Grade: A-

 

Oh, and also this: