What I dun read since Christmas

So here we are. MOMB now has an entirely new website! Isn’t it amazing, well for you people maybe, for me it’s just an entirely new set of code to break play with. Now it’s been a while since I actually wrote anything so you’ll have to forgive me if my prose is a bit rusty but my comic book reading has been no less rapacious since I last sat down in front of the keyboard (as has my thesaurus bingeing). I did consider writing up an expansion on my gasping Superman fangasm from episode 73 of the MOMB podcast but that’s a piece that’s going to take me a while to process & put on the page so in the meantime I thought I’d take a punt at talking about the books I’ve been reading so far this year.

First off I’ve worked my way through volumes 1 to 4 of Locke & Key, twice now, & then demanded my girlfriend read them so I could talk to someone about how I think Bode Locke is the best current character in comics.

Over the course of 4 volumes (with 2 more left to go) Joe Hill has crafted a bold character driven story that is as moving as it is terrifying & as imaginative as it is gripping. With a story this good it seems like wishful thinking that the art could match it in quality, but Gabriel Rodriguez does himself proud. His images capture Hill’s characters & the tone of the story perfectly whilst also making unfathomable concepts seem so real that you sometimes forget you’re only reading a comic.

If you haven’t read Locke & Key then you really need to be picking up the trades (It is also well worth shelling out for the hardcover’s too as they’re especially pretty).

If you are reading it then after the last chapter’s particularly perilous cliff hanger you’re probably right there with me in saying “Goddamn it IDW hurry up & get the next issue out!!!

The past few weeks have also found me catching up with Mike Carey & Peter Gross’s The Unwritten. I originally bought the first issue on release as it was a pound & decided that I’d rather read it in the trades (note for the record I’m atrocious when it comes to buying trades I’ve started so many collections & finished so few).

However a friend who had been collecting the series has since lent me the entire run (23 issues so far) & I am currently awash with regret.

Carey has always been a writer that we knew was damn good. 75 issues of Lucifer were more than enough to prove that, but in the time since then Carey has been quietly getting better with each story he writes & while I’d like to say that The Unwritten has seen him hit his peak I have no doubt that whatever he chooses to write next will simply better it in ways I can’t even imagine.

When that happens though I’m making damn sure the title goes on my spinning order from the get go.

One title by Carey that has crept onto my spinning order though is his latest X-Men crossover, Age of X.

Now I’ll admit to liking my X-Men crossovers, usually because they involve parallel realities & I’m a big fan of any story where who did what suddenly gets jigged about like a jiggy thing & it turns out that they did something else instead, but in the case of Age of X I’ll admit I thought it was simply gonna be another riff on the Age of Apocalypse thing.

I was, of course, completely wrong. Age of X feels unique. Granted it’s another universe where everyone hates mutants but then I don’t think one exists where everyone likes them – except this one, because we buy all their comics – but I like what Carey has done with the characters & the universe.

As each issue slowly peels away another layer of the alternative mutant onion I find myself becoming gradually more curious about what lies at the centre of Carey’s story & how it’s going to fit into the larger continuity

So lastly we come onto Demo volume 1, by Brian Wood & Becky Cloonan.

This is a series that had been hyped to the gills by the time I got round to reading it. Everyone around me was telling me how emotive and moving the writing was & how brilliantly the art conveyed each story. I’ve been a big fan of Brian Wood’s from his writing on the GTA games to his work on DMZ & Northlanders & I’d heard many good things about how diverse Becky Cloonan could be when you put a pencil in her hand, so I had high hopes to be fair (James, stop sniggering I didn’t mean it like that!).

Somehow though Demo just didn’t gel with me in the way it had with everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Demo succeeded in what it was trying to achieve & some stories, such as Bad Blood or One Shot Don’t Miss, really piqued my interest, but overall Demo left me feeling somewhat flat & I can’t put my finger on why. I thought the writing was consistently good & the different art styles for each story meant that it always felt fresh, but something about the package as a whole just didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Still it hasn’t dissuaded me from wanting to carry on with volume 2, which now sits at the top of my to read pile as we speak.

So that’s it. That’s what I’ve been reading since I last put fingers to keyboard. Hopefully I haven’t bored you to sleep in the time it’s taken to get from the top of this article to the bottom too. Now all I have to do is think of a way to finish this thing so I can post it…