This Week’s Winners

The Complete Alice in Wonderland #1. Like most people, I am more familiar with adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s master work, rather than the source material. However, the faithful work that writers John Reppion and Leah Moore have done on this title is obvious from the die-cut cover, as Carroll’s name is above theirs. It probably means more to those who have read the novels, but there’s something quite odd and charming about this issue. I felt like I was reading a lost Monty Python script, with all the zaniness and seemingly random plot advancements. Choosing a manga artist was a bold choice that pays off splendidly. Erica Awano’s delicately flowing renderings are quite beautiful, and she’s aided greatly by PC Siqueria’s muted colours. The whole book is presented like  a centuries old bedtime tale. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, as essentially Alice falls down the hole and meets a bunch of different characters and has strangely lyrical conversations with them. She never has a panic attack, but recalls her family and talks to animals with child-like confidence. This is the kind of book that seems out of synch with all the other comics on the shelves, and that’s what makes it rather appealing.

The Brave and the Bold #30. I picked up last month’s team-up with Batman and one of DC’s forgotten characters, Brother Power the Geek last month and quite enjoyed it. J. Michael Straczynski continues his little character studies in this series here and fixes his focus on Dr. Fate and Green Lantern. Both characters are long-time faves of mine and JMS masterfully manages to give both characters equal billing and bring readers new to both up to speed. There’s no titanic tussles that we’d expect from a superhero tale, but rather a simple story which has GL stranded on a planet with his ring power failing, when the golden Doc shows up and the two reminisce and discuss the power of will and fate. JMS has a firm handle on these characters and distills their essence to put on the page with care and confidence. Anyone who’s seen Changeling (written by JMS and directed by Clint Eastwood) will understand how Straczynski can get inside a character’s head without ever being too obvious or schmaltzy. We should be thankful he applies those skills to comics.

Batman 80 Page Giant #1. Truthfully Batman only appears in 2 of these 8 short stories, but his supporting cast has always been rich enough to sustain themselves. The link between them all is that they’re set in modern continuity (ie, Batman is dead) and there’s a blizzard in Gotham. It’s good to see Commissioner Gordon and Mr. Freeze tangle again, and writers like Kevin Grevioux and David Tischman tackle Gotham’s cast, the latter in a tale focusing on Alfred’s friendship with a prostitute that isn’t as strange as it could’ve been. Amongst this collection is a variety of art styles, and the highlight for me would be Rafa Garres, and especially Kat Rocha and Josh Finney in their Catwoman tale. The partners (from Archaia’s great Titanium Rain) have a style somewhere between Alex Ross and Stjepan Sejic, though that description isn’t quite adequate. There are places where faces appear a little lifeless, but the duo work well together and bring a diversity to these pages.

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