Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly review roundup. This week we take a look shit sandwich of titles from Image and DC.
(w) Jonathan Hickman (a) Mike Huddleston
Two issues in, and Decorum seems to make very little sense and I can’t get enough of it. While the first issue was a beautifully rendered tale of an extremely polite assassin, this second issue deals with cosmic beings stopping the premature birth from a cracked egg, a civilized drink of tea, religious hierarchy, and an offer of fully paid tuition. While the solicit for the next issue states “things get weird,” it’s safe to say they already are. But that is because Decorum is a multi-layered, ambitious story that forces readers to pick apart and dissect. To call it a “cerebral” book may seem pretentious, but it is more indicative that it is not something that can be flipped through and easily digested. It is a book that demands readers invest time in it, and those that do are thoroughly rewarded.
On the art side, Mike Huddleston absolutely slays. The variation in visual style he employs is as impressive as it is breathtaking. Those that may be turned off by the complexity of the story will still find Decorum #2 a worthy read for the artwork alone.
The Flash #755
(w) Joshua Williamson (a) Rafa Sandoval (i) Jordi Tarragona (c) Arif Prianto
The conclusion of “The Flash Age” suffers many of the same problems that have plagued Williamson’s run on The Flash. While the idea of Barry Allen and his arch-nemesis Eobard Thawne teaming up sounds like an interesting concept on paper, there is no suspense built up because the story follows a formula seen several times going back to the launch of DC Rebirth. Flash teams up with another speedster. Flash tells the other speedster not to be bad. Flash and speedster defeat threat. Speedster goes bad. This was a real missed opportunity to keep Thawne acting like a good guy for even an additional arc, just to spice things up. While on the topic of missed opportunities, this issue also saw the death of a character that had so much potential that never could live up to the expectations of The Flash readers.
As unsatisfying as the writing is, this issue is at least pretty to look at. Rafa Sandoval brings a clean, classic superhero aesthetic to the book. Because DC insists on keeping the Flash in his New 52 design rather than his much better original suit, Sandoval is forced to include a bunch of unnecessary accent lines. Fortunately, he’s one of the few artists that has managed to make this version of the suit actually look good, joining a very exclusive club with Francis Manapul and Carmine Di Giandomenico. Beyond that, this action-heavy issue is well choreographed and full of energy. Adding to Sandoval’s pencils are wonderful inks and colors by Tarragona and Prianto, who add a lot of depth and definition to Sandoval’s pencils. In the end, The Flash #755 is a great looking book that’s weighed down by predictable storytelling.
Undiscovered Country #6
(w) Scott Snyder, Charles Soule (a) Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi (c) Matt Wilson
Truth be told, it’s not difficult to imagine the world of Undiscovered Country coming to light. With each passing day, as well as the timeline established in the issue’s backmatter, there appears to be a new wrinkle that can very easily steer the world towards this dystopian nightmare/isolationist dream. Despite being batshit insane and loaded with action, Snyder and Soule sprinkle several character defining moments throughout. Probably the biggest drawback to this series has been the large cast, which has not allowed for proper development of any. However, that is mostly resolved as this first arc comes to a close. It took six issues, but readers should finally have a definitive sense of who each one is and what their general motivations are.
On the art side, Camuncoli, Grassi, and Wilson must be having a ton of fun putting this book together. There’s giant starfish, big explosions, and some gnarly character designs – especially the Destiny Man. There is just so much packed into each page, and it all looks so freaking good. From the clean linework to the intricate details to the varied colors, Undiscovered Country #6 is a wonderful and chaotic sensory overload.