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Blood In The Gutters: Week’s Crime Comics – Supercrooks, Footprints, Moon Knight, Gotham Central
This week on the new releases shelf at your neighborhood comics shop: Supervillainy goes abroad; Proof that genre-bending still exists; Marc Spector’s last stand; The final days of the GCPD.
Supercrooks #2–Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (for what I’m certain is not the final time): Mark Millar is a good comic-book writer, no matter what anybody might think about him otherwise. Millar has made no bones about the fact that he uses his comics as springboards into Hollywood and also the fact that he is a very talented writer indeed. This continues to ruffle the feathers of a lot of us purists in the comics community, but again as I’ve said before, a) I don’t have to watch any of his crappy movies, and b) as long as the guy backs up his claims to quality writing, he can swing his dick all he wants for all I care. Thing of it is, as much as I am enjoying the book thus far–a half-assedly reformed supervillain has to go back into the game, despite the superheroes’ tendency to nail his ass every time, takes his act to Europe where the supes are not as plentiful–it is starting to feel as though Millar has gone to this particular well too many times. The gritty realism he brings to superhero comics is appreciated, but I’d be curious to see what else he might have up his sleeve, stories like the brilliant Chosen (since renamed [rechristened?] American Jesus). In any event, this is another title you might wanna jump on (#1 should still be on the stands) before the trade. It’s worth the monthly issues.
Footprints graphic novel–One of the best parts about doing this weekly bit on the week’s new comics is that stuff like this that flew under my nose in Previews will often catch me looking this time. Newcomers Joey Esposito (writer) and Jonathan Moore (artist) have here a book that gives credence to the notion that there is still plenty new under the sun when it comes to cross-genre comics. In Footprints, our hero is a (very) private investigator who comes out of retirement to solve the murder of his brother. The twist is the P.I. is Sasquatch, and the vic is the Yeti. The premise is similar to that of Comeback Kings, where a group of previously-thought-dead celebrities unite to fight evil, but even so, the wrinkles that can be found when genres get all mushed together have not yet stopped intriguing me. This collection of the original mini-series is on a smaller press, 215 Ink, so make sure you really ride your local retailer to order it for you. I know I shall.
Moon Knight #12–When it comes to superhero noir, there is no better creative team than writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev. Just a cursory glance at their now-legendary run on Daredevil can tell you that. Sadly, this book will not be nearly as long-lived as that fabled run, as this will be the final issue of this Moon Knight series. Y’know, Moon Knight is one of those Marvel B-listers that has a real cult following, but apparently not one that can keep a regular monthly title going, even one done by these two giants in the field (although in this case, I feel almost certain this book was never going to go long-term monthly–more like a maxi-series). Anyways, the Los Angeles is about as noir as a Raymond Chandler Suicide Tuesday–dark, hallucinatory, and dangerous–and when you add in a protagonist who suffers from multiple-personality disorder, you got yourself a prime slab of post-modern detective fiction.
Gotham Central, Book 4: Corrigan hardcover–One of the many reasons Gotham Central continues to attract an audience even though it was cancelled six years ago is the fact that you can pretty much jump in anywhere in the storyline. I don’t know how intentional this was on the part of creators Michael Lark, Ed Brubaker, and Greg Rucka, but I have the feeling that that sort of readability just came naturally from a police-procedural type comic. Similar projects in other mediums, like TV’s NYPD Blue or Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels, work in much the same way–there is an ensemble cast of characters who have driving narratives, but the focus of each arc/episode/novel is the case at hand. So new readers needn’t feel put off by unfamiliar backstory–these are cops doing a job, and that’s about all you need to know going in. The other good news about these latest hardcover collections is that they are complete, while the initial softcover trades would be missing an issue here or there. Good news indeed for we completists.