Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dylan's Sequential Theology 08.29.2012

Welcome back to Sequential Theology! This time around we have the continuing adventures of "Angel & Faith: Trans-dimensional paranormal investigators," more wacky highjinx from the Nicolle brothers on Axe Cop, and Darth Maul: Death Sentence is a giant robot kick to the teeth.
As always, if you disagree with me, prove me wrong.

Angel & Faith #13
Story by Christos Gage, art by Rebekah Isaacs
When we last left our heroes they were in the hell dimension of Quor'toth attempting to
a) Restore magic to their dimension
b) Save a tribe of demons that worship Connor (Angels' son) as a messiah
c) Not die.
All while Quor'toth slowly corrupts each of them and makes them give in to their dark side. Being a fan of crazy Faith, it was great seeing her struggle with that aspect of herself, and this series has the potential to bring some much needed motivation for her which was lacking when she was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4. She was crazy, and wanted to live life to the fullest, but that's not a character motivation and Christos Gage uses internal monologue to its fullest advantage with her.
Since this is the penultimate issue, this little detour to Connor's "homeworld" was pretty brief, but definitely fun. Not sure why I accept the over the top fantasy aspects in Angel & Faith, but can't stand it in Buffy... Most likely the general concept of "cheerleader living a normal life while fighting demons at night" tends to box in the rules of what is "too big." Anyway, I digress. If you want more Faith and Willow, this book is excellent. I don't know if I'd recommend it to Buffy & Angel fans outright, but it's definitely worth a look.

Axe Cop: President of the World #2
Story by Malachai Nicolle, art by Ethan Nicolle
My god, this kid can write. This series may have absolutely nil characterization, but the stories are fantastic. It feels like a Lee/Kirby era comic from the 60s or a comic from the 30s. Just endless imagination on every page. What most writers would stretch out to three years worth of story, Malachai & Ethan give you in 20 pages. It may be "too ADD for your internet," but if you miss reading comics about Gorillas on their tippy-toes with missile launching fists fighting robots, than this is the book for you.
It twists and turns in directions that are obvious, but because of our jaded modern minds and expectations of logic, their payoffs are incredibly satisfying. With everything flying at you all at once, the simplicity of story (cop with axe becomes president of the world; fights evil) hides the ever complex onion-esque layers of this series. There is the over arching plot, the plot of each rather self-contained issue, and then the backstories of each character introduced. This formula happens every time, and can possibly feel tedious, but Malachai creates backstories full of fodder for Ethan to flesh out with his art.
I don't want to spoil anything, but I also don't know if it's possible. Just know that in this issue, a giant Chee-Rex (half cheetah half t-rex) rides a flying motorcycle, and tries to destroy the world, and that's just the splashpage on pages 4 & 5.

Darth Maul: Death Sentence #2
Story by Tom Taylor, art by Bruno Redondo
When it was announced that Darth Maul would return to the Star Wars universe in a larger role, I was excited about the prospect. But at the same time, wasn't too sure if his re-introduction to the Star Wars universe was necessary (as if his death was). And when I saw his robot legs, I just mentally re-imagined him as having regular legs due to a long stint in a Bacta tank and I was merely misremembering the robot goat legs. But that's the design they are going with, so I guess I'd better get used to it.
But, I was optimistic to see how Tom Taylor would flesh out everyone's favorite Dathomirian beyond being the one-dimensional icon seen in Episode I. And he really nailed it by showing his relationship with his brother. The first issue was a lot of explosions and very little characterization from Darth Maul, or his brother (the reasonable replacement if horribly named) Savage Opress. And while I don't expect too much characterization, the first issue told me little more than "these two are badasses and they do badass stuff." This time around, there was much more characterization and I was able to really get into the story.
More violence, more crazy action, but it becomes more than that as Darth Maul fails and has to pick himself up. By the end of this issue, Darth Maul is in charge of the lives of many innocent people, and what this dark lord of terror and hate does with that power will be very interesting indeed.

Not convinced you should buy Darth Maul: Death Sentence #2? Here's Chris' much more in depth review.

Before I end this, I want to also point out that Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #4 came out last week, but I didn't get to it until this week. This book really deserves the praise it's getting from other comics review sites. If you love the Star Wars universe, definitely pick up the trade when it is released. It's easily one of the best things to happen to the franchise since the Dark Empire trilogy.

Thank you all for enjoying what we do here. If you haven't yet, please listen to our latest episode where we interview Joko Budiono, his latest book Teddy-1 really deserves your attention.

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