by Alex Zalben
Morning Glories #5
I’ve been enjoying Morning Glories quite a bit, but something has been holding me back from saying it’s a great series. I won’t recap what happened in previous issues here (because, hey, I already did that a few days ago! – Efficient Alex), but basically we’ve been treated to a lot of plot and character set-up, with no real answers or pay-off. That all changes with issue five.
Right at the end, we see how cleverly writer Nick Spencer has constructed his plot, putting each part into place without revealing the full nature of his design. Casey, our heroine, holds far more cards than we thought at the end of last issue, and she gets to play most of them before finally breaking down right at the very end. It’s this moment that ends the issue, which really brings to bear everything that’s happened to her in the previous four issues, and how we’ll be able to hook into her – and the other characters – going forward.
Beyond that, there’s a little more illumination about the weirdness surrounding Morning Glory Academy, a laugh out loud moment referencing Star Wars, and the aforementioned tightly twisty plot. Morning Glories might not have yet met up to the insane amount of hype heaped onto it pre-release (nothing could, really), but it’s getting there. If Spencer keeps going at this breakneck pace, we’re in for a good long run of original comics.
Recommendation: Must Buy
An unnamed dwarf, and an unnamed bald dude with guns fight zombies and monsters in a fantasy setting. That’s what we’ve gotten for the past three issues of Skullkickers, and hey, if it’s working, why change a horse in midstream? Jim Zub’s writing is fun and breezy, Edwin Huang and Misty Coates provide some great, anime style art with crisp, clean colors, and the whole thing is just, well… Fun.
I know I already used that word, but really, it’s all the team is going for. You’ve got some classic gags, done well here, including an evil limb, and important information spoken in mumbles (the villain gets his jaw shot off early on). Plus, well designed villains, and an overarching plot that’s just starting to pay off.
The real hero of this book, though, is Marshall Dillon on letters. Easily the best use of sound effects since Incredible Hercules, there’s several moments when the placement made me laugh out loud (“Ass KICK” in particular comes to mind).
I will say I’m not sure the serial aspects of the book are entirely necessary, it’s the fun of the dwarf and the dude just showing up to get paid that would keep me coming back for more – particularly as these scenes (to be fair, there’s only one in this issue) are full of needlessly wordy explanation and fantasy language. But those two pages or so not included, Skull Kickers brings the fun back to Funtasy. Which is “Fantasy” spelled wrong.
Recommendation: Pick it up, if you’re looking for a lighter fantasy book, or a fan of good lettering.
I’ll be honest: I had picked up the first few issues of Image’s newest hit series, Chew, and just didn’t get into it. I liked it well enough: John Layman’s writing was solid, and Rob Guillory’s art was packed with details without ever feeling cluttered. It was an original concept, and fun, but something felt missing, it just wasn’t grabbing me. The first issues, about Tony Chu, a cibopath who can psychically “read” food by eating it seemed a little too quirky for its own good. Last issue, though, was a one off, and at the urging of a friend who is a big fan of the series, I picked it up again,
I’m glad I did. In the intervening issues, not only has the team added more and more glorious quirks, they’ve actually managed to deepen the characters, as well. That’s the thing, I think, was missing: the world was there, but it needed real people to populate it. Though issue sixteen picks up from last issue’s cliffhanger – strange, fiery alien writing is all across the sky, and no one knows why – you don’t need to know anything to get right into the story, as Layman effortlessly gets you up to speed on the character’s relationships, as well as the main big weirdness about this world: years ago, poultry was outlawed after bad chicken killed millions of people. Now the FDA is the most powerful organization in the world.
Back in the present, Tony is investigating the disappearance of a fellow FDA agent, while the world goes to hell in a chicken basket. Seems people aren’t responding too well to giant fiery letters in the sky, mainly by openly selling chicken rather than on the black market.
Guillory’s pencils are as good as ever… Each panel is so packed, you’ll want to go back and read the book more than once to catch all the little details and Easter Eggs. But more than that, I’m happy to say that Layman’s writing has gone from “quirky” to “effortlessly inventive and original.” I’m glad I gave Chew a second taste.
Recommendation: Pick it up, especially if you haven’t in a while.