Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly review roundup.
CASANOVA IV: ACEDIA #7 (Image Comics)
(W) Matt Fraction, (A/C) Fábio Moon
(Editor’s Note: The writer of this review wanted to give this “all the stars”, but our scale only goes up to 5)
It’s sometimes best to assume that you don’t know that you know what you don’t know that you know and then grab the bottle and head for the ocean. But sometimes when you do know that you didn’t know that you knew it already, it makes for shaky times and strange bedfellows.
Here’s what I know I don’t know about Casanova: Acedia #7:
- What the fuck is going on.
- Why that is spectacular.
- When I can get more.
Here’s what I know I do know about Casanova: Acedia #7:
- Everything is going on.
- It is fucking spectacular.
- I need more.
Given all this, it’s hard to even put the rubber to the road or light the head of the man screaming across the highway. Fraction and Moon just keep adding to a story that is fundamentally being told through subtraction, while maintaining a recursive narrative that keeps unfolding along a linear plane.
“How can the goddamn sunrise be different?” It can’t be if you remain the same person.
Strange forces continue to undermine and explode. Certain truths become that much more evident. Puzzle pieces once thought lost are now layered between slices of bread to make the most delicious sandwich you’ve ever eaten. I’m not even quoting Bowie anymore.
This thing has legs and the rest of us are running to catch up.
Because it’s about character — not just who but how.
Is there a fundamental self no matter who you think you are? Is there a “you” behind every mask you’ve put on (or has been put on by everyone else)? What makes a hero besides other people saying you’re one? Who gets to define the moral system? What’s up, chicken butt? We’ve got fundamental questions on the plate next to that pickle. Which one are you gunna eat first?
Don’t think too hard about this. You don’t have time. The next course is being served.
If you’re not reading Casanova: Acedia then don’t start without going back to the very start and then move forward in the circular motion that this sort of story demands. Trust that Fraction and Moon understand what they are doing and have your best interest at heart. Or not. I don’t know what you know, but I sure as hell know I love Casanova: Acedia #7 and everything is going on and it’s spectacular and I want more.
— Daniel Elkin (@DanielElkin)
Mother Panic #1 (DC Comics – Young Animal)
(W) Jody Houser (A) Tommy Lee Edwards
Mother Panic is the last title to debut in DC’s Young Animal Imprint and it does not disappoint. We are introduced to Violet Paige, a young woman who has a clear hatred for the city of Gotham. This grounds her new character in the very busy city of DC’s favorite vigilante. Writer Jody Houser avoids many of the traditional pitfalls of yet another bat themed vigilante in a city that seems to have endless crime. The plot jumps between a current time fundraiser gala, Violet’s childhood, and a bodyguard named Dominic who has seen something he can’t unsee. The quick jumps from page to page highlight Violet’s fractured state of mind.
As we get into the superhero action proper there are enigmatic images interspersed with Tommy Lee Edwards very efficient and evocative action scenes. A rose, a manta ray, a birthday cake gone to ruin with candles left lit too long. We have no clue what these images mean, but it’s exciting to see some glimpse into the madness that would drive a wealthy woman like Violet Paige into the path of a vigilante. The art and its placement during a busy action scene highlight how Young Animal strives to differentiate itself from DC’S regular fare. This initial issue raises more questions than it answers. What drives Violet Paige, what did Dominic see, and how will the Batman deal with all of this? There’s no way to know, which is why I highly recommend strapping in for what is sure to be a wild ride through the storied city of Gotham alongside Mother Panic.
— Lukas Schmitt
Power Man and Iron Fist #10 (Marvel Comics)
(W) David Walker (A) Sanford Greene
The past is alive in this latest issue of Power Man and Iron Fist. Danny Rand’s wrongful imprisonment has united the duo in attempting to undo the injustice that has been wrought near them. Luke Cage knows the cost of being accused of a crime he didn’t commit and is fiercely worried that Danny Rand will be folded into the same predicament. David Walker makes this real when portraying Danny Rand as a white cis-male who becomes the crime he should’ve never been condemned for.
Power Man and Iron Fist has been a discussion about privilege. Iron Fist still has so much to learn about the out of scale punishments he never understood, but placing him in jail has definitely grounded him as the street level hero he was always meant to be. Sanford Greene capably depicts the past that has led to all of the problems our gallant duo is facing. Luke Cage and Danny Rand are a historic team who have fought crime for years, but are now faced with the prospect of innocent people arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. The politics of this series are hard to ignore and nor should we, it’s a superhero comic full of good people trying to stop the wrongful imprisonment of others. David Walker is telling us something as clearly as he possibly can – our process of imprisonment is suspect and possibly corrupt. It is braver than I ever expected a Marvel comic to be, and I am blown away.
— Lukas Schmitt
Alters #2 (Aftershock Comics)
(W) Paul Jenkins (A) Leïla Leïz (C) Tamra Bonvillain (L) Ryane Hill
After a mild first issue, Alters #2 brings more action and point of view from Charlie’s super Alter ego, Chalice. While a transgender hero is a fresh take on the routine superhero story, the series has a familiar X-men vibe. We have a multitude of people randomly develop different sorts of powers, and an extremist becomes powerful by embedding fears into everyone while making Alters look dangerous to mundies.
The two personality differences of the main character give the story an entertaining contrast. Charlie, is a young, cordial, everyday family man. Chalice, however, is full of sarcasm with a cynical attitude. The facial expressions, drawn by newcomer Leila Leiz, along with Chalice’s arguable responses help make her character humorous and likable even while acting disinterested and independent. The colors from Tamra Bonvillain bring a bright, positive energy to each panel whether the scene takes place in an interrogation room or in an open desert.
Issue #1 laid out both main conflicts: Charlie’s secret transition into a woman, and the threat of the antagonist, Matter Man. Chalice’s debut was slightly flat with only a few pages of presentation and more focus on Charlie’s reflection on his current circumstances. With the established background info, this second issue feels more balanced. His personal life was only represented by a few pages, and it was a very good decision. Readers have already gotten to know his family and co-workers. We see Chalice have a breakthrough with another Alter, a bit of home life, and a showdown with Matter Man.
The social commentary is pretty obvious, but still meaningful. An intense conversation shows parallels to present day discrimination, which complicates Charlie’s decision to reveal his secrets. Jenkins felt it necessary to explain his position as a cisgender male writing about a transgender protagonist in an editorial. This was much needed, as comic fans were skeptical of how this potentially pivotal event in mainstream comics was represented by a cis man. It explains the editing process that will hopefully put fans at ease. The series is picking up and progressing nicely, and is worth the read. With an ending that left on a dismal note, the intro to the next issue will be one to look forward to.
— Kristopher Grey