These trade paperback collections showed up today, and should arrive wherever you get comics soon. Kat Howard’s writing on BOOKS OF MAGIC has grown on me, I look forward to each issue. This volume covers issues 7 to 13. The other book has many stories about “Gotham’s most sadistic serial killer.” I lettered his debut in BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #1-3. Not really my kind of character these days, but if you like that sort of thing, here it is.
I am definitely not the target audience for this book, even though I did read a few Nancy Drew novels in my childhood, and plenty of Hardy Boys ones (they’re in here too). A mysterious anonymous and threatening letter brings Nancy back to her home town of River Heights, where she is soon involved in several murder mysteries with her old friends and a new one. As the mysteries deepen, Nancy is thrown into danger, literally, and she and her friends are soon investigating secret flash drug parties and a seafood restaurant tied to it. Can Nancy come up with a plan and keep it on track before a new murder happens?
While I have some issues with the art on this book — too manga in style for me — the writing is terrific and pushed me right past the art issues. I don’t think I’ve read anything by Kelly Thompson before, but now I’d like to. I also applaud the all-female creative team on display here, they’ve done an excellent job. I suspect this would be liked a lot by the target audience, teenage girls, and perhaps get them reading Nancy Drew books. Anything that encourages reading is okay with me.
Despite the cover, Batman is not in a lot of this issue as it continues various storylines in and out of any discernible timeline. I don’t mind that, each of the storylines is funny and interesting, and the bemused intro captions on each one help me remember where and who I’m reading about. Those captions are fun, if a bit repetitive. Even a storyline from another book that involved Jimmy is here, and it fits right in. If there is any overall plot, it involves who is trying to kill Jimmy, and that gets coverage here, if not answers. The situations and abuse that Jimmy is taking in this series reminds me a bit of Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files,” if you remember that one, except I think that Jim was a bit smarter than this one. Whenever I think I know what to expect from this book, it moves in a different direction, which is good and entertaining. The art, coloring and lettering are all as good as the quirky writing, too.
I was a little disappointed in the first issue of this second Wrong Earth series because it lacks the crossover element between the two worlds, but it’s growing on me. Earths Alpha and Omega and their respective hero versions have both been corrupted by versions of Devil Man into turning on their partners, both called Stinger. While in one storyline Stinger is up to the challenge, in the other he’s been given a long-awaited excuse to rebel against his mentor. I like the way each story involves moral challenges as well as action, and the grim and gritty version plays nicely off the cheerful one. Of the text features, the one by Matt Brady was the most interesting to me.
DC has reprinted the earliest Huntress stories, and I think not for the first time. My first clue was that the introduction by writer Paul Levitz is dated 2006. In any case, this is a nice collection of stories written by Paul and pencilled by Joe Staton with a variety of inkers, colorists and letterers, including myself. Huntress’ first appearance and origin was in DC SUPERSTARS #17 dated December 1977, and originally released not long after I began working at DC. I liked the character from the start. Thereafter she appeared in a long series of short backup stories in BATMAN FAMILY and WONDER WOMAN. The many creators involved other than Paul and Joe reflect DC’s freelance policy at the time for backup stories of handing out available work to the next freelancer who needed it without trying to keep any one person on any one series. It certainly worked fine for me, and I was lucky enough to get to letter quite a few of these Huntress stories, and even design her first logo (not the one on the cover, but it appears on one of the stories). My lettering here doesn’t look very good to me now, it was early work when I was still learning, and stories lettered by old pros like Ben Oda and John Costanza look much better, but on the other hand, it’s readable and not terrible. Not sure when this is out, but if you like the character, it’s worth having.