The amazing cover above by Kelly Jones is what convinced me I wanted to read this miniseries. The concept of a building with the personification of Batman villain The Scarecrow is a great one, but Kelley has made it superb.
This issue is easy and quick to read if you don’t linger over the art, but the art is the star, and must be lingered over. Scarecrow has dosed Batman with his fear gas, and now neither he nor we know exactly how much of what he’s experiencing, if any, is real. Another wonderful reason for Kelley to go to surreal places, and he surely does.
The newest in a long line of Neil Gaiman story adaptations from Dark Horse is this book containing four: “The Problem of Susan” and “Locks” by P. Craig Russell, colors by Lovern Kindzierski, letters by Galen Showman, “October in the Chair” by Scott Hampton, letters by Rick Parker, and “The Day the Saucers Came” by Paul Chadwick, letters by Gaspar Saladino. That last one is from 2013, originally appearing in DARK HORSE PRESENTS #21, the rest are new for this book.
In each case, the artist adapted Neil’s story, and all add visual elements to those stories that are unique interpretations of those artists. “The Problem of Susan” is based on Neil’s idea that, of the four children in the Narnia books of C.S. Lewis, only Susan is left behind at the end of the final book to grow older in our world. We meet a much older Susan as she is interviewed by a reporter, and the reporter herself is drawn into a strange dream about Narnia. That dream is creepy and horrible, and probably far from anything Lewis would have done, but it’s fascinating.
In “Locks,” we have a new look at the Goldilocks story as a father tells it to his young daughter, with the father’s adult view of the tale being quite different from the child’s.
“October in the Chair” has each of the months personified sitting around a campfire in the woods telling stories. It is October, and therefore his turn in as chairman. The story within the story has a boy who is teased and bullied who runs away from home and finds an unusual friend in a graveyard.
“The Day the Saucers Came” is a poem by Neil that has been illustrated a few times. Paul Chadwick’s version is seven full pages of detailed art that are a delight, and I particularly enjoyed seeing the lettering by my friend Gaspar Saladino, one of the last professional lettering jobs of his long and celebrated career.
In the final chapter of “The Just War,” the Prime Minister of Durovnia has come to what Wonder Woman thought was safe territory to discuss peace in the war-torn country, only to find Ares, God of War, ready to strike him down. Diana and Ares battle, but are halted by Aphrodite. Can Love conquer all? Read the issue to find out! I have been liking Wilson’s dialogue more and more as I read this story arc, and like it best of all this time. As Diana and Steve Trevor head back America, separately, I’m curious to see what’s next. The art in the book is also appealing, and I see no reason not to keep reading this series.
Aw, is the first story arc over already? At last we get to meet one of the Feeders, or at least his hologram, and the many problems caused by overpopulation on the starship gains a solution from a super-evolved kitten. Captain Ginger’s scouting mission to find more intelligent cats does not succeed in the way expected, but they do find…something surprising! In the Hashtag: Danger backup, Desiree learns that big brains are not always best when her future bloodline comes back in time to visit. In all, a fun issue and recommended.
I received this handsome hardcover of Don Rosa’s Disney duck comics (writer and artist) because I lettered one of the stories in it, “The Vigilante of Pizen Bluff,” which I didn’t reread. I’ve read some of the others, but not recently, and I enjoyed all of them. My favorite is nearly the shortest, “A Matter of Some Gravity.” Like some other Rosa stories, it takes one simple “what-if” idea and explores it thoroughly for all kinds of wonderful humor. In this case, Scrooge’s sorceress nemesis Magica de Spell has a new magic wand that can change the force of gravity. First she makes Scrooge and Donald’s center of gravity horizontal, so the walls are “down” for them. Later she makes it even worse when the ceiling is “down.” In both cases, the two ducks are pursuing Magica, who has stolen Scrooge’s highly valued First Dime, and that pursuit takes them outside! Talk about a long drop…
The longer epics have their points. “The Once and Future Duck” takes Scrooge and his cohorts to the time of King Arthur at Stonehenge. “Treasure of the Ten Avatars” is an Indiana Jones type artifact hunt in the jungles of India. “The Last Lord of Eldorado,” my favorite of the treasure tales, sends Scrooge on a search for the legendary Eldorado, City of Gold, in South America, with rival Flintheart Glomgold interfering in every way he can.
There are more, but you get the idea. Hours of fun reading here. Recommended.