There lay a sizable stack of to-be-read things on my nightstand. About half of those items are comic trades. I sleep next to this stack every night and unplug my charging phone from atop the literary tower every morning. Yet still, during a recent trip to Half-Price Books, their amazingly well-stocked comics section grabbed hold of my brain, inflicted it with a temporary amnesia and convinced me to grab four more trades before some small bit of reasoning kicked in and I stopped myself before browsing the remaining quarter of the selection. It’s like an addiction, or maybe a conspiracy. Whichever is a better scapegoat.
Iron Man: Extremis: A+: Warren Ellis simply understands comic science fiction. He understands how to take theoretical technologies and implement them in relevant contemporary settings. In this regard, he is absolutely perfect for Iron Man. He also understands story structure, dialog, and character development and showcased that familiarity here.
Gravel vol 3: The Last King of England: B+: Here, Ellis wants to showcase too much. The other volumes of Gravel had the titular character battling a new foe in each issue, allowing for time for proper understanding of those characters, while in this volume he introduces them all in one issue and dismisses them just as fast. It seems almost like a forced sequel, but still held plenty of great sections, especially the final battle sequence against the new antagonist.
Deadpool Pulp: A: Everyone likes Deadpool and I’m no exception. This noir-style re-imagining of the character lacked the fourth-wall breaking and pop-culture references Deadpool typically employs but it certainly portrayed a great story with just enough character familiarity. The art is fantastic and the cold-war pulp was full of twists and grit.
Concrete: C+: Paul Chadwick likes to focus on realism and nature, using his character to be an obvious foil to these concepts. The stories are intriguing at first, but get bogged down with excessive thought balloons and similar plotting. Nothing comes of hints at possible drama between the main characters. Though it does competently handle its environmentalism without getting preachy, and the adhesion to real-world physics is notably unique.