The month of very little in comics, April is that period of time between the big loud summer events (unless you’re DC and you’ve managed to delay your final issues) and is traditionally a time of meandering between stories. Marvel have quite nicely relaunched a shedload of series from Moon Knight (which we have discussed, and will discuss again below) to She Hulk in an effort to reinvigorate Easter (although the less said about cancelling a title and relaunching it only a week later during Easter, the better). On the whole though, it’s been a fairly quiet month, with one or two exceptions.
I already covered how I had a bit of fun with the first issue of Moon Knight, and reading it again I felt the same. It was good, but I knew Warren Ellis could do better. Lo and behold then, issue #2 of the title absolutely knocks it out of the park and then some. A singularly perfect issue of a comic, Moon Knight’s second issue, called ‘Sniper’ tells the story of yet another soldier left damaged by his job and left to fend for himself by his superiors. Something tells me that’s going to be a theme in the series. It’s not so much the story that makes this so good though. The first half of the issue concerns 9 individuals being gunned down on the street, or at work. They are represented on a 9 panel page, each being given a single panel on each page to continue their story. Once they are shot and killed by the titular sniper, their panel vanishes, only to be replaced by a white space overlaid with text. It’s a marvellous technique and a gut punch to comic book readers who expect there to be art in that space. You actually feel the loss of each and every one of these people, even though in some instances you only know them for a single panel on a single page. Even if you haven’t picked up issue #1, you should go straight out and buy this one.
Another title which hits its second issue this month is Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula’s Veil. Rucka is an extremely talented writer, responsible for many strong female characters. His run on Wonder Woman, and Gotham Central was the peak of the DC Universe, so it’s not surprise that Veil is in the same vein. A mysterious girl with some kind of strange telepathic powers and an aversion to being touched by men (quite rightly by the way some of them act in this comic) shows up in an industrial city. There’s not much in the way of answers yet, but what you do get is compelling plot, smart characters, and absolutely beautiful visuals courtesy of Fejzula. It’s the kind of art you don’t normally see in a comic, blocky inking giving it an almost cubist feel. It’s stunning to look it, and not a bad read either. Worth jumping on right now so that you’re ahead of the game.
Finally, let’s talk about all ages comics. What should they do? There are those who think that the term ‘all ages’ means ‘for children’, and clearly those people have never seen Toy Story 3. An all ages comic should appeal to those of all ages, children and adults alike. Lumberjanes by an entirely female team of creators (one of the only comics on the stands like that) is one of those. Written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, with art by the very talented Brooke Allen, Lumberjanes is a girl scout camp comic with karate and monsters, and is one of the funniest comics on the stands this month. When the first line of dialogue uttered is a reference to Joan Jett, you know you’re on the right lines. Boom Studios, who publishes it, don’t often get things right, but this is one comic that you should definitely get on board with immediately.