Comic Potpourri

I declare today to be comic book day, at least as far as reading is concerned.  I finally managed to get over to the store to pick up whatever was new in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Pink.  Luck was with me, for not only did I get Pink #3 and MMPR #6, but also MMPR #7!  So I figured today would be a good day to sit down and read through a number of series.

First up was Pink, since I had found issue 2 to be a predictable letdown, so I didn’t want it to be the last thing I read.  And, well, it definitely got better.  I’m a little leery, thinking that it might be an odds/evens thing, where the odd-numbered issues introduce some cool plot, but the even-numbered books have more predictable resolutions to the plot points.  Regardless, after the stereotypical elements of the second issue, the third was more engaging, though there is far too much betrayal amongst bad guys.  I mean, seriously.  We were all waiting for that to happen.  “I am betraying you!”  “No, what you didn’t know is that I was already betraying you!”  Seriously guys, enough.

I think I may stop rereading MMPR from the beginning considering that I’ve now read issues 0-2 at least five times now.  I don’t want to wear out my enjoyment of the books.  Anyway, issues 6 & 7 continue upping the ante with one of the direst threats I’ve seen the Power Rangers face.  We are most definitely in new territory here, unconfined by the established canon of the TV series, and I am quite interested to see where this goes, aside from the predicted happy resolution.  I mean, Pink takes place afterwards, so obviously things end well enough.  Aside from satisfying my impatience, I am enjoying collecting the individual issues for their cover art.  I don’t ever see myself as seeking out the collectible covers that comics sometimes feature, but that won’t stopping me from appreciating high quality, dynamic art in general.

Then I moved on to something different, that I’d not read much of before.  This is Otis Frampton’s Oddly Normal.  I first heard of it while watching How it Should Have Ended on youtube earlier this year, and they had a plug saying that one of their group had a comic that’d be available as part of Free Comic Book Day.  So I figured I’d pick it up and see what it was.  Free is the best price of course.  The free book was intriguing enough that when I was confronted with a couple boxes of $1 kids comics at Counticon, I snagged a few issues of the series.  It’s a cute little story of a girl who doesn’t fit in in the real world, nor even in the not-exactly-real world of Fignation (which is apparently short for being a figment of your imagination).  Oh and she has a quest, but that’s taking a back seat right now to trying to fit in.

Oddly Normal is a great entry into the selection of books that are intended for all ages – and I mean it.  Sure, kids will find it quite relatable, what with the main character being 10 years old and attending school, but adults can still appreciate the solid characters, worldbuilding, and story.  It’s made me smile, it’s made me laugh, and it’s made me want to share this with my friends.

Sadly, I won’t be collecting more than the 10 comics I now own, because Oddly Normal is no longer being serialized in this format.  The trade books, however, will still be released and I fully intend to tack on the third (would-have-been issues 11-15) to my next amazon order.  I may even end up replacing the comics one day with the first two trades, depending.  For now, I appreciate owning the individual issues, as not only can I appreciate the cover art, but some have variant covers.  I definitely appreciate the fact that the back covers show only a preview of the next (nonvariant) cover, and no ads whatsoever.

The last comic series I’ve acquired recently is Samurai Jack.  This series is partially an adaptation of the cartoon, partially an avenue for the team to explore new stories, and partly a conclusion that wasn’t seen when when the series originally aired.  I’ll say right now that while there is a conclusion, there is little detail or climax, which I am sure the upcoming season will elaborate on.  In fact, there’s a note at the back of issue 20 from one of the writers that if Genndy Tartakovsky wishes to animate any of the stories in the comic, he’s welcome to do so.

I’ve been a fan of Samurai Jack since its TV movie premiere on Cartoon Network in 2001.  Not only was it an interesting story, but Tartakovsky’s animation and design is breathtaking.  It’s stylized, but it lets the medium speak for itself as well.  There are long scenes in many episodes without a single line of dialogue.  And yet, I’ve heard the creators say at one point that they always have something moving on the screen, even if it’s just a piece of fabric blowing in the wind.  It’s a gorgeous show to watch, and one that I don’t rewatch as often as I should, as it’s a crime to give anything less than my full attention.

Aside from the initial volume being a retelling of the premiere movie (and theoretically the final issue probably being related to the finale of the show, when it’s released), the majority of the comic is filled with new stories.  Some of them involve old characters, but each is an intriguing, entertaining read.  “The Scotsman’s Curse” was hilarious, and any piece of writing that can make use of the phrase “frosting malfunction imminent” gets my approval.  Not to mention the man who speaks for janitors everywhere as he curses the very existence of confetti.

Needless to say, the comic run of Samurai Jack reminded me of everything that I loved about the tv series, and has me looking forward to the upcoming fifth season.  Of course, then there’s some of the down points to comics.  Issue #1 is 68 pages long, but a full dozen of those pages are ads, leaving only 55 pages of story.  Now, I’m familiar with ads for other comics and the like at the end of the book (and my goodness does IDW pack them in all the other volumes), but this was not only excessive, it was obnoxious as in some sections I couldn’t even read more than three pages of story before seeing another ad, or worse, another two page spread of ad.  There’s one for trade over comics I guess.  It doesn’t ruin the story per se, but it did make for annoyance warring with my enjoyment.

Anyway, that’s all for today.  I’ll probably start on a library book tonight, but next post won’t be ’til tomorrow at the earliest.  41 issues of comic books is enough for one day.

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