Sunday, December 30, 2007


Below you'll find my final review of 2007. I've done so many this year (again) that I couldn't even begin to count them all. Adding the new columnists to the main site really helped me ease back on the throttle a bit, so I'm very grateful for that. And for them.

What will 2008 bring? Something damned cool, I'll tell you that much right now. I'm not ready to totally spill the beans yet, but The Comics Waiting Room as you've known it up until now is stepping aside. Version 3.0 is coming.

Comics Waiting Room 3.0

I'm seriously fuggin' excited about it. It's going to be different, and yet more of the same cool stuff you've grown to expect from me and the merry band of columnists writing for the site. Plus, you'll also get some new writers to enjoy, as well.

So... MONDAY, JANUARY 14TH, 2008. That's the big day. Keep an eye out.

We'll be waiting for you. Happy New Year!

Marc Mason
Written by Brian Wood
Drawn by Davide Gianfelice
Published by DC/Vertigo

A marauding Varangian named Sven returns to his homeland, only to discover that his father is dead and his evil uncle has assumed control of the lands and gold that rightfully belong to him in NORTHLANDERS, a very accessible (if a little too colloquial) new book about Vikings from the fertile mind of Brian Wood. We’ve seen futuristic sci-fi (CHANNEL ZERO), action-adventure (COURIERS), human drama (LOCAL), superheroes (DEMO), and political allegory (DMZ) from Wood, but those are all quite a distance from a concept like this one, so it does play as a bit of a surprise. But even when Wood has faltered in his storytelling approach, his work has remained compulsively readable. This book is no different.

That isn’t to say that NORTHLANDERS is massively flawed in any way- it isn’t. But giving Sven a sort of Wolverine-esque narration is… well, odd. It serves to make what’s happening on the page at those moments feel anachronistic. It works to keep the reader glued to Sven as a character, which is smart; he’s hardly someone to root for or develop a keen interest in watching succeed. As a man of this period of time, he’s a colossal asshole with an ego of matching size. But everyone else is worse, leading you to hope for more delightful death, dismemberment, and bloodshed to come.

To my eyes, the real treat in these two issues is the work of Gianfelice. What a find! His art resembles a somewhat rougher John Romita, Jr, his characters wonderfully well-defined and captivating to look at. I’m working from black and white preview copies, and they’re so sweet to the eye that I don’t think I’d want to see them spoiled by the eventual colors.

I don’t know that I’d keep up on the monthly issues, as the pacing here is a bit broad and slow, but I could certainly see myself reading the entire tale (these pieces are only the first two of a total eight) once it gets a cover and a spine.