In the New 52, DC has tried to take a lot of gambles and few of them have paid off, if at all. Launched earlier this year, Gail Simone’s The Movement is one of those gambles and for me, it is one that has definitely worked enough to keep bringing me back every month and caring about the characters. Gail and artist Freddie Williams have done some great work on the series for its first arc and their second arc continues apace with the release of the seventh issue this week, which does one thing that the first arc was, of necessity, missing: consequences.
In any superhero story, there are always consequences for the powers that a hero has. And given that these stories are written to get us to identify with, associate with, and get invested in these characters, there need to be consequences for their actions and their nature. This is at the core of this new issue and once again the execution is pretty brilliant. For me, The Movement has been DC’s break-out hit of the year and there’s no stopping this train ride.
Slightly slow comic-reading week again, but not by all that much since I got to read a graphic novel as well, so that balances things out a little bit. Really interesting week this one, particularly with the launch of a Harley Quinn ongoing from DC Comics and some really good second issues or the start of new arcs for some of the other regular books.
The month is closing out now though, not all that much time left, just a handful of days, and I’d like to end the month on a good high. TO that end, I might well be reading two graphic novels at least this weekend to catch up on things a little since that particular reading pile creeps higher every week or two weeks. Getting almost scary now!
One thing that I love about Gail Simone’s story arcs is that she writes strong, consistent stories regardless at what point they are set. Be it the beginning, or the middle, or the end, her writing always entertains in all sorts of different way. The Movement, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, she’s been excellent in all of them, and her revival of Red Sonja in collaboration with artist Walter Geovani is further proof that she is one of the best writers in the industry, no doubts about that.
As a fan of the character, I was immediately on board with this series even before the first issue had been released. After that, it was only a matter of form since Gail and Walter gave me a story and a character that I could really latch on to. They’ve put Sonja through some really tough moments in the previous four issues, and now she is on the mend, and spoiling for a fight, which she does get by the end, except for a slight unforeseen complication which was perfect.
Zero Year has finally kicked off for the non-Batman titles for DC and its been pretty good so far. Lots of interesting stories to say the least and this coming week promises to be even better with Batman #25 and Batgirl #25 hitting the stands as well, so good times to be had. Didn’t read too much outside of DC this time around, which is fine with me since I like my superheroes a particular way and other comics don’t interest me all that much really.
Read another graphic novel this week, mostly to catch up with a series I’m following right now, so that’s a bonus for the most part. I’d say I have a good thing going here if I can scrape in a graphic novel a week. Could be more, depending on certain things, but I’m fine I suppose.
Writing a comic that is aware of its socio-political nature, and working that into the script itself, can be a daunting task. There are a few books that have attempted to do that over the years, but none with as obvious a message or delivery as Gail Simone’s The Movement from DC Comics. It is a modern-day comic that creates a very believable modern aesthetic, and it explores “superheroes” who take over from the social services that are supposed to protect the people.
In the five issues thus far, Gail and artist Freddie Williams have given us a really wonderful look at their setting, and they’ve populated it with some really interesting characters. There are distinct superhero-team vibes in the comic, which is really interesting considering what kind of a comic this really is. And no superhero team book is complete without some internal disagreement, and that’s what Gail explores in this issue.
Red Sonja is on a pretty damn good kick right now. She has her own monthly comic that was recently relaunched and has been doing really well. It also helps that it follows a fairly successful and long run that continues to be collected in trade paperbacks. There is an upcoming crossover series involving her and Brian Wood’s Conan. And then there’s Legends of Red Sonja a new mini-series that started this week and furthers the, well, legend of the She-Devil with a sword.
When Gail Simone and Walter Geovani launched the new series a few months ago, the first issue had a number of cover variants that were all drawn by some of the industry’s top female artists, including the original cover. With Legends Gail has turned that thing around and the stories in this anthology-style series are all written by some of the best and biggest female prose and comics writers. But this is not a typical anthology series, it is quite different, and that is something that works to the advantage of this series quite well, going by the first issue.
Finally, this was a week where my non-DC reading far out-stripped my DC reading. Villain’s Month really seems to have taken a toll with my reading, what with reading like seven or eight titles a week. Things are finally becoming more normal, and that’s excellent in and of itself. Lots of Dark Horse and IDW reading as well this week, which was really nice, since I’m playing catch-up with a few of their titles and really need to be getting down to read these issues.
However, no luck with reading any graphic novels again this week. I had hoped to read at least one during my flight back to Dubai from Delhi but things didn’t work out like that since I slept on the entire flight, all three and a half hours of it. That’s something I suppose. But now I have the time I hope so will see what happens.
Every now and then, its fun to get lost in a setting and a character to the degree that all that matters is the fun you have while reading (or watching, as may apply). This is one of the things that draws me to sword and sorcery stuff so much. There are some really fun tropes in the genre that otherwise would seem odd and out of place, but here, they are perfect. And nothing exemplifies sword and sorcery like Red Sonja and Conan do, characters who are the poster characters of the genre and have been around for decades.
With her fourth issue, Gail Simone proves once again why she is such a good fit for this rebooted series. The new issue continues a tradition of action-packed stories with some really fantastic art. And the same goes for artist Walter Geovani. I’ve always loved his work, and he continues to impress.
There are some comics out there that are all action and little plot/characterisation. There are some comics that are the reverse as well, heavy on the plot/characterisation and little action. In that regard, there are few comics that manage to balance the two, and balance them well at that. This is where Gail Simone’s current run on Batgirl comes in because it is one of those few ongoing series that maintains that balance.
When last we were with Barbara Gordon, she had just suffered one of the lowest points of her life and things looked really dire for her as the Wanted arc kicked off to fanfare and horribly moving moments. As with Scott Snyder’s Batman, Gail’s Batgirl is one of the very few DC books that manages to be helluva consistent issue to issue, and Batgirl #24 is the latest in that stellar consistency.
This week was filled with reading a lot more than just the regular DC books. I read a fair amount of Marvel stuff this time, and also other titles from other publishers, particularly Vertigo, which is a DC imprint. A lot of these comics were really good, some not so much, and that’s pretty much normal really. Never a full week of solid comics. An impossibility I think.
I wasn’t able to get around to reading any graphic novels this time around, sadly, mostly because I was caught up reading a really big fat military space opera novel. It was written by a favourite author so that helped get over that a little bit but the book still took too much time. Not to mention that I was generally short on time so had to make do with reading single issues.
Perhaps this week I can get a couple graphic novels down!
So here we are. Another month, another issue of The Movement. The interruption of Villain’s Month really threw a spanner in the works, since The Movement is very much a fringe title in the DC Universe and doesn’t really have any relation to the wider setting, even though it does have superheroes in it. And that’s kind of what I love about it, that it is set in its own small corner of the DC-verse and that it is able to stand on its own, and that it definitely doesn’t go down into any of the crossover mania that is dominant with the Big 2 right now.
Up until now, Gail Simone and Freddie Williams have delivered on a really great series, across four issues, and they’ve only gotten better with each issue. With the new one, things take a slight dip, mostly to do with the art, but The Movement is still one of the best books that DC is putting out, for precisely the reason that it is a standalone series and that it deals with completely different concepts than any of DC’s other titles.
Earlier this month I posted two surveys on my blog. Sort-of surveys at any rate. You can find the one about books here and the one about comics here. I really had a lot of fun doing those, and I thought it would be fun to doing them again, but with a cool twist that I hope sounds as inspired to you as it does me. Or maybe not.
I spent the last 3 hours thinking of some kind of a blogpost to write. There are some ideas I had but nothing I could put up today, which was the whole point really. So yeah, this is going to follow the same meta layout as the other surveys. I’m not limiting this survey to just novelists, I’m including comics writers as well.
Hope you enjoy! And do share your thoughts in the comments!