CWR WEEKEND BLOG EXTRA
The calendar has struck Friday, so that means it must be time for another Blog Extra! Returning to the Extra: the fine folks at Dynamite Entertainment.
DARK XENA #2 is written by new Bay Area resident John Layman, and drawn by Noah Salonga. This post-TV/pre-volume one Xena tale ostensibly exists to fill in the gaps in Xena continuity between the two. After all, the warrior princess bought it in the show’s finale. However, now we see that her partner Gabrielle made a pact with terrible forces to return her from the dead. Unfortunately for Gabrielle, the returned Xena is a villain without equal. Rather subversively, this isn’t really Xena’s story; Layman is crafting a Gabrielle story, and a pretty good one. Her actions in the name of love and friendship have now caused the deaths of entire villages, and her mistake continues to compound the longer this version of Xena lives. So the mission now changes: she seemingly has no choice but to kill her friend. Gabrielle comes to life nicely as a character, and it helps that Salonga turns in much better work here than he did in issue one. Solid entertainment.
Dynamite’s flagship title has immediately become THE BOYS, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Issue eight is, as usual, written and drawn by creators Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and continues the book’s run of excellence. This issue sees Wee Hughie and Butcher dive into the world of gay superheroes, and it’s handled with real smarts; Hughie finds himself in am uncomfortable position, but it’s Hughie’s perceptions of what he sees as Butcher’s homophobia that defines the issue… especially when he learns that Butcher isn’t necessarily saying anything with a kernel of truth or belief. On the flip track, the sexual problems of the Tek Knight grow even worse, as he pushes away even the most loyal of his trusted associates. But you’d leave too if someone fucked your ear, wouldn’t you? Gloriously demented fun, THE BOYS is top-of-the-stack reading.
LONE RANGER #6, written by Brett Matthews and drawn by Sergio Cariello, finishes off the series’ first story arc in excellent fashion. The one “complaint” you could make about the first five issues of this series was that the plot developed… slowly… to be charitable. Ranger and his family shot and left for dead, rescued by new Native American friend, buys a horse, he finds out who did the shooting… five issues. But issue six stands on the gas pedal and doesn’t look back. Confrontations between the villain and Tonto and the villain and the Ranger… a terrific action sequence set on a train… lots of the classic Western tropes are on display, but they’re executed beautifully. Of course, it also helps that the whole thing looks amazing; Cariello and colorist Dean White have turned out another comic to take your breath away. I expect the collected version of this book to be a very good seller in the bookstores; it’s been a long time since the character was properly represented to the public at large. Problem solved.
I have lavished a metric ton of praise on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: CYLON APOCALYPSE over the course of the first three issues. Writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach and artist Carlos Rafael had put together the best GALACTICA product to come from Dynamite, classic or modern show. So it pains me to say that the conclusion to this miniseries totally craps out. The bevy of insanely cool ideas and wild new take on the classic Cylons is replaced by the (now heavily recycled) “Starbuck is lost, thought dead, and left behind” chestnut in issue four. We saw it in Classic Galactica on TV, modern Galactica TV has done it twice, Rick Remender’s CLASSIC-era comic used it. Honestly, while there’s some good stuff elsewhere in this book, the use of this plot point damned near completely overshadows it. This looks like the end of CLASSIC-era comics for now, and it’s a shame to see it exit on a sour note.
That’s it for this weekend! Tune in during the week for new reviews, and the countdown to San Diego. I’ll be back next weekend with a new Blog Extra before it takes a couple of weeks off for travel!