A rare small week. Click on the covers for previews, where I could find one.
Descender #1, written by Jeff Lemire, art by Dustin Nguyen
All-New Hawkeye #1, written by Jeff Lemire, art by Ramon Perez
Two new books from cartoonist extraordinaire Jeff Lemire, who seems to have settled in to the role of mainstay mainstream funny book writer quite nicely. The sci-fi Descender is the heir to his creator owned Sweet Tooth and Trillium books and seems, in particular, to pick up on the themes of the latter. He's working with Dustin Nguyen, who has painted all of the art. Painting seems like a sort of weird strategy for attacking sci-fi and, in general, I find painted art to be static and ugly, but Nguyen's is beautiful, and subtle, adding a soft atmosphere and has a nice texture. That it's dissonant with the tone of the scene in the preview only serves to make that scene that much eerier. More interesting, if only because it's kind of out of left field, is Lemire's All-New Hawkeye. The series that he's following, Matt Fraction and David Aja's very well regarded Hawkeye, has been released at inconsistent intervals since about six months in, and isn't concluding until next month. Despite it's frustrating pace, Fraction and Aja's work is very well liked, in part because it's about how unglamorous super heroics can be; in terms of genre, its an espionage cloak covering a story about what happens when Marvel's vaunted man on the street happens to be so skilled at one particular thing that he can use it for good. It's also deeply, deeply engaged with comics as a form, with the extraordinarily talented artists Aja and Annie Wu, along with colorist Matt Hollingsworth, breaking the form and putting it back together on a semi-regular basis. Thankfully, Marvel seems to have figured out that it's not just the character that's bringing people to the book, and by tapping Lemire and artist Ramon Perez (the kind of worthwhile and intriguing creator choices they were making a year ago before abruptly pulling up), they've put themselves in a position to maintain a fair bit of the audience they've built up. Perez's art is slick and cartoony, with a little bit of Bruce Timm influence, and Lemire is well aware that this book plays to his strengths, which are more in the realm of thick characterization than in traditional superheroics. Part of the book is going to be flashbacks to Clint Barton's childhood and about his relationship with his brother Barney, which makes me hopeful that what we're getting is the other side of Lemire's work on Essex County, just with the Marvel insignia on the front cover. If, in fact, that's what's in store, then we'll have a transcendent comic book on our hands, the fulfillment of Lemire's promise as a writer of mainstream comic books.
Big Man Plans (1 of 4), written by Eric Powell and Tim Weisch, art by Eric Powell
The Goon's (man, I just love the Goon) Eric Powell turning his attention to a more or less straight crime comic? That's something sweet.
The Shaolin Cowboy: Shemp Buffet, by Geoff Darrow with colors by Dave Stewart
Princess Leia #1, written by Mark Waid, pencils by Terry Dodson, inks by Rachel Dodson, colors by Jordie Bellaire