January 19, 2012

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Single Minded: Newish #1s: Steed and Mrs. Peel, Fatale, and Memorial

Welcome again to another edition of Single Minded, where I look at comics I'm reading in  single issue form.  This time around, I thought I'd examine three recent #1 issues for you, all of which come highly recommended.

Steed and Mrs. Peel #1.  Written by Grant Morrison.  Illustrated by Ian Gibson.  Boom! Studios.


If you had asked me my favorite British television show of all time just a few scant months ago, I'd have named The Avengers without hesitation.  Nothing else even came close, including Monty Python.  Dr. Who has changed all that, of course, but that doesn't mean I haven't been looking forward to this one since Boom! announced it.  Grant Morrison, the master of the twisted plot, writing a story for a show who reveled in being as weird as possible?  This was a no-brainer for me, and it's definitely just as good as I'd hoped.

Morrison picks things up roughly where the show left off, but quickly makes it so that Emma has to return to Steed's side.  There's a mole in the organization, and Steed must find out the culprit, with the help of his old ally.  As our two characters weave their way through chess pieces with human heads, deadly blood drives, and houses shaped like ships, any fan of Morrison or the old TV series will be extremely pleased.  Gibson is not the best at likenesses, but he does okay with Steed.  (It would be very hard to capture Diana Rigg and do her justice, anyway.)  He shines at the oddball sets, however, and creating a sense of creepy menace.  My only complain is having to wait a month for issue two!  Highest possible recommendation on this one!
(Thanks to Boom! Studios for the review copy.)



Fatale #1.  Written by Ed Brubaker.  Illustrated by Sean Phillips.  Image Comics.  A mysterious woman at a funeral leads a man down a path that includes a secret novel from a hack writer, people trying to kill him, and some truly gruesome murders.  It all seems to center around her, a woman who can get men to fall for her a moment's notice.  But she's clearly not the only thing that's distinctly...Fatale.

It's a little hard to describe this story so far because it's just getting started.  Right now, it's a hard-boiled noir story with horror mixed in, which is almost as close to my wheelhouse as Morrison writing Steed and Mrs. Peel.  Sean Phillips' art is as excellent as ever and the story felt complete to me, despite having quite a few twists and turns and mysteries to be revealed later.  I love dropping magic into the world of corrupt cops and dangerous damsels, and I like this well enough that I plan to buy it day and date going forward.  Recommended for anyone who likes noir or horror.  Or preferably both.  I have a feeling this is going to be on a ton of people's best of 2012 lists, including mine.

Memorial #1.  Written by Chris Roberson.  Illustrated by Rich Ellis.  IDW.


Amnesia might be the worst kind of mental illness.  Em has it, and nothing she does jogs the slightest bit of memory.  But perhaps there's a key to her past life in the form of a magical shop she didn't even notice at first.  When Em steps inside, a whole new world opens up, one that features talking cats, allusions to characters that are familiar yet strangely changed, and an evil villain that must be stopped before her power grows even further.  But how in the world is Em going to manage this when she has no idea who or what she is?

I have become a huge fan of Chris Roberson and was excited to hear he was working on a new comic of his own making.  This has all the hallmarks of other series I like, such as Fables, but does not feel like a carbon copy all, not even when there's a shared character (or at least an implied one).  The world that Roberson and Ellis created here is fascinating, and I already want to know how it came to be and what is going to happen to it.  I'm a sucker for a talking, sarcastic cat--call it the Garfield effect if you must--and I love that things only seem to be getting stranger as they go along.  It's early yet, but the dialog is crisp, the pacing is fast, and if you love seeing writers play with archetypes and concepts from classic literature, this is going to be a treat.

All in all, it's a great time for new comics.  All three of these are on my must-read list, and I think they'll be on yours, too, once you try them.  Digital is opening new worlds for me in terms of my reading, and I couldn't be happier to be single minded right now.

Any other #1s I should be trying?  Let me know in the comments!