North 40, Wednesday Comics, Unwritten, Dark X-Men
North 40 #1 - Aaron Williams, Fiona Staples - I had put in for this title when I saw it in previews based on the premise and the artist. Here's the story: Two kids unwittingly set of what equates to a Cthulu Nuke in a small town. Tentacles and disembodied voices abound. This first issue is pretty much just a series of establishing bits in addition to what may just be the tip of a more complex origin story, or it may not be. I think everyone deserves to write at least one story that starts with someone reading or opening a book they shouldn't, as the justification for everything that happens next. That's not even sarcastic. The writing looks good so far, although as I said, it's the first issue, and we get introductions to a number of characters, as well as the sorts of things we can expect to see more of. I love that we have more than a few people who seem to have voices in their heads, and a lot of wildly different results from the 'event'.
Fiona Staples does a really good job with the art. Characters are expressive, creepy things are creepy, dark shadowy things are dark and shadowy, and the style isn't heavy at all. The color works great and helps set the tone. If you like Horror or supernatural stuff with an elder gods angle, this looks pretty great. I also get a sense that we may get some Walking Dead type character development in this as well, but that's just a guess.
Dark X-Men #1 - I have seen some Namor recently in Agents of Atlas, but nothing prepared me for the bizarre extended shower scene that opens this title. We are a full ten pages in and Namor is still without pants. Norman Osborn probably demands that all of his meetings involve someone showering... good to be the king I guess. After the shower scene in which it's all about ...'we're really quite alike, you and I' Which again, I imagine that at some point in every conversation with Norman, someone uses that line. "Here's your McMuffin mister Osborn... You know we're really quite alike you and I... with our dual nature and our liking of McMuffins..."
Also in this issue is a big feature with Mimic (a character I have never cared for, but who seems a bit cooler in this, with the beard and everything), and another with Dark Beast, another character I have never cared for. So why did I buy a comic filled with characters I don't like? and pay 4 bucks for it, at that? I liked the cover, and I'm kind of an idiot. I don't want to get any more of this.
Unwritten #3 Still liking this. It's developing well so far. It's different from anything else I am reading, and it's well written. I like the sense that there is this deeper reality to writing and fiction, and that if you study fiction, there is a sort of magic available to you.
Wednesday Comics #1 - I loved this. I am looking very forward to getting the entire run of it. There are a number of stories that seem sort of out of place in this format, but a weekly serialized anthology filled with a ton of undeniable talent, with a focus on the art seems like a perfect way to make people think that 3.99 for a comic is kind of a bargain. There are a lot of people who have written exhaustively on this thing, but in addition to the feeling of the thing, is a truly undeniable quality to the majority of the offerings you get here. 15 different stories, 15 different titles, 15 different top notch creative teams. Full page newspaper sized comics, nearly all of which are just beautifully done artistically. We will see how the writing is, after we get a few pages into each, but the art is amazing. There's something strange about the format that seems to make the retro styled offerings look amazing, while the more modern looking pieces (Superman specifically) looks sort of out of place. Neil Gaiman's first page of Metamorpho manages to get the lines - "She was hoping for the mother of all pearl necklaces, and now she's trapped" as well as "a blast of frozen nitrogen will take care of Sapphire's giant clam!" - innuendo-y The style is perfect though, and Allred's art makes you feel like you are back in time.
It is a format that makes you feel like you are reading something and destroying it at the same time. It really tests you to see if you are committed to reading and enjoying comics, or collecting them. I found it a little hard to find a way to hold it that didn't make me self-conscious about ripping it up every time I turn the page. It's funny that something that really pushes the envelope in my opinion does so as simply as using bankable talent, focusing on artistic creativity, and doing it in a larger format and a low tech package. It's kind of brilliant, and I am pretty certain that my LCS ordered as few copies as it possibly could because it assumed people were tired of weekly comics... because of Countdown and Trinity...