Man. I’m really kinda hatin’ on DC right now. At some point after my post a couple of months ago about how I was going to try to be all positive and optimistic about DC, I read a bunch of crap that I didn’t like, and I’m back to being all cantankerous again. The latest thing to get me riled up into a ball of rage is the news about Wonder Woman. They’re changing (read: retconning) her origin. I was all ready to jump on the Brian Azzarello band wagon here and proclaim him Wondy’s savior until I heard this.
I think this is all part of the cause of my not reading comics lately. I’m just kind of sick of all the hype, and it’s EVERYWHERE. Running to the Marvel shelves is no different, as almost everything I see is slathered with a “Fear Itself” label. Can we come right out and admit that the story is awful? It’s not a good event, if there is such a thing. It’s just plain bad, and reeks of being haphazardly put together. The only thing tied to Fear Itself that I’m even remotely interested in is Journey into Mystery, and that’s because that book is awesome no matter what. Kieron Gillen is writing the heck out of that.
I have to think aloud and wonder if perhaps the fight against the hype is a losing battle—it’s essentially become the nature of comics, but I’m not convinced it should be. Just tell a good story, guys. That’s all anybody wants. Amirite?
No? Okay, fine, I’ll shut up. Reviews!
HUUUNNNNTTTRRREEESSSSSS. I love the Huntress. What’s not to love about her? She’s Italian, she has pretty black hair, and she’s a total badass. I was eager to get my Huntress fix when they announced this six-issue mini. Gotta admit, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go down—the frightening Guillem March cover leaves much to be desired, and I wasn’t hugely confident in Paul Levitz behind the pen despite being her creator (kinda). It was kind of a “YAAYYY HUNTREEESSSS … oh, wait. What?” reaction, which seems to be the case a lot with DC and me these days.
Anyway. I read this, and you know what? The art was AWESOME. It’s the first thing that hit me and it’s the best part of the book, hands-down. Marcus To, I had no idea who you were before this, but count me amongst the legion of fans I’m certain you’ve secured after KILLING IT on this. Helena has never looked so good. Like, literally—and I’m wicked going to be a girl here—some of the outfits To draws her in are simple and elegant and fashionable, I was like “Where can I buy that? That’s awesome.” Then he throws on her Huntress uniform and she’s another person entirely, and it brings even more of the awesome. Especially when she’s kicking some dude in the jaw. Kick it, Huntress! The choreography in one of the fight scenes is so perfectly illustrated—along with Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman #1, I would say they’re the two best fight scenes I’ve seen in a while. Top this book off with a head nod to the colorist, because the colors were beautiful and makes To look that much more talented.
So the art’s great. The story? Meh. Okay, it’s maybe a little better than “meh.” It’s actually not bad at all, it’s just not particularly ground-breaking. Huntress goes to Italy to break up a slave ring/drug ring/what-have-you. We’ve read this story before, right? So it’s really not baaaddddd, it’s just … well, it’s just what it is. I will say that the first issue lays a groundwork that’s full of potential, and the next five issues could very well turn up the heat and hit us with a surprise or two. I hope they do, because I’ll go as far as to say this was one of the New 52 I’ve actually really liked. In a sea of mediocre, I liked this. Let’s build off that, please, Mr. Levitz.
Mystic. We continue where we left off in number two, with lessons in the mystic arts and that witchy mean girl whose name I forget trying to sabotage the main character at every turn. I enjoyed the heck out of the first two issues of this, but issue three seemed to hit a lull somehow. Actually, that’s not really fair … it’s not so much a “lull” as it’s just that I can tell the story is being rushed and condensed to accommodate the fact there’s only four issues in which to tell it. The snag was bound to be somewhere, and it feels like it’s right here. When you reach the last page and realize the conclusion is coming up next, it’s kind of hard to take. There’s SO MUCH MORE we could be reading here. You can tell that G. Willow Wilson has put a lot of thought into this world and these characters, and it feels terribly unfair that we won’t get to explore any more of it as of next month.
So that makes me frown a bit. I know it’s all going to unravel too quickly as of issue four. I wish that weren’t a basis of judgment on this issue, but it is. Still, as little story as we’re getting, I’ll gladly take it over no story at all.
Not to mention there is always the saving grace that is David Lopez. I can’t get over how wonderful his stuff is here. Forget about all of the mechanics of drafting a comic book page—forget about all the transitions, the backgrounds, the panels. Let’s just talk about facial expressions, because that one skill alone is what absolutely MAKES this book. Lopez is an undisputed master of facial expressions, and as such, the emotions of each character come at you unapologetically. And it’s so, so good. You know something? If you were to take out all the speech bubbles and all the text on every page, I bet you’d still know exactly what was going on in the story. That is the mark of an excellent artist, and Mr. Lopez is at the top of his game here. I adore him for it. If the narrative of the next issue were to completely tank, I’d still love this for the artwork alone.
I’ll be sad when it’s over, but after Mystic concludes, I’d follow these two creators anywhere.
I remember reading an interview with Terry Moore that announced Rachel Rising as his newest project. In the interview, Mr. Moore discussed his desire to do a horror book—something scary and haunting, and I remember thinking to myself … really? Terry Moore doing a horror book?
I wasn’t convinced it would work. Nothing against the guy—in fact I have proclaimed my undying love for him here before—but I just couldn’t picture it based on his previous work.
I stand corrected.
This is creepy as &@%$.
Wow. Don’t get me wrong, it’s creepy in a good way. In an excellent way. Aside from one or two things (Walking Dead), I generally despise horror as a genre. But, this is Terry Moore, so of course I gravitate to it. And rightly so, because Rachel Rising, thus far, is great.
I’d typed up this whole big thing summarizing the greater parts of this issue, but then I re-read what I’d typed and couldn’t think of a way to get it across to you without ruining some of the suspense and build up. So I’m going to completely dump that and just let you judge for yourselves. Hopefully you’re picking this up. Unlike some of the stuff by the Big Two, it’s actually worth the $3.99.