WLG #378: New Beginnings

A column article by: Kyle Garret

EDITOR'S NOTE: After a long night of strong debate, the Comics Bulletin Editorial Staff finally decided that Kyle Garret and Brandon Billups would be joining veteran writer Matt Spatola to create the newest version of the three-headed beast that brings you What Looks Good!

Kyle's up this week; Brandon takes next week; and Matt returns the week after. Be a dear and stop by the message boards to wish them the best!

Buffy and Friends

To be perfectly honest, I gave up on the Buffy comic book series after just two issues; it felt like fan fiction to me. From what I learned about the remainder of Season Eight, I made a wise choice in getting out while the getting was good.

But supposedly things are going to be different this time around. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #1 is supposed to be a return to smaller, more realistic (within this context, of course) stories. I’ll admit that my love for the television show makes it tempting to check back in, but even if the stories are going to go back to basics, the insanity of Season Eight still happened. I’ll just keep pretending like the story ended when the show did (or after Season Five, depending upon my mood).

It’s only appropriate that the week Buffy returns to comic book stores, Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to television. Gellar’s new show, Ringer, has her playing a set of twins both of whom, as near as I can tell, have horrible secrets. There hasn’t been much released about the show aside from the basic premise, but it seems to be getting positive press. I’ve always thought Gellar can act when given something worth acting, so I’ll be checking it out, at least for the first week or two.

Gellar’s not the only Buffy alum returning to television this week. Anthony Stewart Head is back in prime time with Free Agents, a remake of the British show of the same name. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the show so far, but that’s usually par for the course with half hour comedies. But Head was always the most talented member of the Buffy cast, so his presence alone make the premiere a must see.

For my money, though, the biggest television premiere of the week is the start of season 3 of Archer. I arrived late to the Archer party, but over the last few months I’ve managed to catch every episode. It’s hard to describe just how much I enjoy this show. Given the large following Archer has among comic book fans, I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen comic book version of the show, or at least something ripping it off.

Men in Tights

This week brings the third issue of what is possibly the best superhero comic book on the stands these days, Marvel’s Daredevil. This book seems to have stepped in a void that Marvel actually created themselves, by more or less destroying Matt Murdock and by sucking the majority of their titles into a never ending series of crossovers and events. Daredevil is free of the severe depression that’s been associated with the book for the last few years, and is wonderfully autonomous. For the budget conscious, it’s also one of the few $2.99 books Marvel is putting out. Oh, and it looks absolutely gorgeous thanks to Pablo Rivera.

The other main purveyor of superhero books, DC, is in the middle of their relaunch. While this week doesn’t offer the variety or high caliber creative teams that we got last week, there are a couple of titles in this batch that you should check out.

Believe it or not, Deathstroke #1 is a great first issue. This could be one of the sleeper titles of the relaunch, so give it a shot. Kyle D. Higgins appears to have been set free to do what he will with the concept, and Joe Bennett’s art has always been great. Without having read the other books, I’d make this my pick of this week’s relaunch books.

Granted, it will have some stiff competition, most notably in the form of Batwoman. We all know that this will be a beautiful book to look at, but how will it read? Resurrection Man seemed to come out of left field when it was announced, given the original series didn’t last all that long, but its reputation has grown, as tends to happen with canceled, cult books. And then there’s Legion Lost, of interest to me because I’m a giant Legion fanboy, and because this is the first time in a few years that someone other than Paul Levitz or Geoff Johns will be writing the team (Fabian Nicieza, in this case).

Like I said, not a stellar week for the relaunch, but there are a few choice gems in there.

Saving the Industry

Contrary to what might be making the rounds on the internet right now, what’s good for Marvel or good for DC isn’t necessarily good for the industry. DC bringing back lapsed readers is good, yes (and, really, the market DC should have been focused on from the start, as these mythical “new readers” are like unicorns), but selling out of Flashpoint or Fear, Itself tie-ins ultimately does nothing to improve the state of the industry, unless bilking loyal fans out of more money is considered good for the industry.

No, if you’re looking for someone to save the industry, you need to look for genre diversity and innovation, and you’ll find that in indie comics. Two of the best around have new issues this week.

Image and Jonathan Hickman bring us Red Wing #3, the penultimate chapter in what has been a fantastic spin on time travel. Hickman is probably best known for his work on the Fantastic Four, which is a shame because his creator owned work is even better.

And speaking of people who write high profile Marvel books and also manage to produce creator owned work, the final installment of Criminal: Last of the Innocent arrives courtesy of Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Marvel’s Icon imprint. This series has gotten a lot of praise on the interwebs, and with good reason. I had actually never read a single issue of Criminal before this series and I am officially hooked.

3 Rounds and a Sound

My extreme nerdiness extends to all facets of my life including, as you may have noticed above, what television shows I watch. This would at least partially explain my love for the show Chuck (which I’ll be covering in Shot By Shot right here on Comics Bulletin!). I like a lot of things about the show (and dislike quite a few, too), but for the sake of this column it’s the music that is key. I’ve discovered a lot of great bands after hearing them on Chuck.

One of those bands, Blind Pilot, has a new album coming out this week, entitled “We Are the Tide.” They’re a little bit folk, a little bit alternative, a little bit lo-fi acoustic indie (okay, they’re all that last bit), with a melancholy edge. Imagine Blitzen Trapper without the overbearing Dylan influence. Their songs are also infinitely sing-able. Give them a shot; I think you’ll like what you hear.

Kyle Garret is the author of I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At," available now from Hellgate Press. His short fiction has been published in the Ginosko Literary Journal, Literary Town Hall, Children, Churches, & Daddies and Falling Into Place. He writes comic book reviews here at Comic Bulletin and blogs for PopMatters. He can be found at KyleGarret.com and on Twitter as @kylegarret.

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