Archive for Comics

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie

Stop!

Don’t click the x button up at the right corner of the page!

Hear me out and all will be made clear.

So, you did read the title of this post correctly. I am going to talk about a comic that is based on the old time sleuthing team of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I know the name itself conjures up cute kitschy ideas of rich kids exploring safe mysteries in a manner more vanilla than Scooby Doo.

That is not the case here.

Del Col and Dell’Edera take a healthy dose of noir and blend it with the old stories to create something modern. They do this without falling into the trap of being ultraviolent.

The team does this by accepting the history of these characters and dealing with it quickly. They do this in their description of Bayport, the home of the trio. They call it a postcard, a place trapped in time designed to bring people to the area to enjoy an idyllic time gone past. The creators call out the feeling of these characters being frozen in place and then shatter the ice on the next page.

Gone are the perfect children that parents would hope for. In their place are modern young adults that are easy to identify with.

The Hardy Boys are young adults whom are suspected of their own father’s murder. They are now at the mercy of the same police whom their father had shielded them from prior. Gone is a relationship between two brothers that were inseparable. In it’s place is a more realistic relationship of two young men that have to figure out who they are and what they are going to do with the shattered life that they now live after the death of their father.

Del Col does an excellent job of blending in the bits and pieces of the history of all the characters that populated this long line of books. I was most amused by repeated references to the Bobbsey twins. He makes these characters accessible without being leaning heavily on nostalgia or over-top-antics. He brings in the tropes that I enjoy from noir and hardboiled detective fiction and gives them a softer edge that makes this book something that lovers of both crime fiction and these characters can enjoy.

All of this is supported by the wonderful art of Werther Dell’Edera and colorist Stefano Simeone. These two create a visual world that captures the essence of the covers of the Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys book covers. From the very first page you understand that these two have a grasp of the history of these characters. They use lines and a color palette that evokes these old books while also enhancing noir story that is running through the book. In particular, the very last page of issue one does a character introduction. It is a single page with the character framed by the Hardy Boys. To me, It has that feel of Bogart in the Maltese Falcon that screams classic noir/hardboiled detective and sealed my love for this title.

Trust me when I say that you should give this book a try. The creative team takes something that could be saccharine sweet and creates a mystery worth following.

Four bear paws out of four. I bear-illy recommend it!

 

Heathen

It’s pride month and I want to talk about comics.

To do this, I want to talk about a book that tells an excellent story while still embracing queer content.

Heathen is just such a book. It is written and drawn by Natasha Alterici. This is her creator owned title which she funded on Kickstarter back in 2015. She has done work on Gotham Academy and Grayson. She is also a member of the LGBT community.

Heathen is a reimagining of Brynhild legend from Norse Mythology.

Alterici does an excellent job of getting someone unfamiliar with Norse Mythology caught up on the story. Our heroine, Aydis, tells the story to her horse as she begins her journey. As she winds the tale up, she shares how long the story has passed down through her clan and laments that Brynhild has been waiting to be free for a very long time. The exposition feels very much like a story that a skald would tell over a fire to enthrall a mead hall. The art that supports the story is evocative. It has a rough hewn quality that feels like a gritty dream.

The core point of the myth is that Brynhild is rescued by a brave warrior whom she is then required to marry by the decree of Odin. Aydis has taken it upon herself to free Brynhild from her captivity and the consequences be damned. Aydis, you see, has nothing left to lose. Her village thinks her dead as she was condemned to death when she was caught kissing another woman and did not deny that she did this of her own free will.

I love this book!

It hits on all the things I love and want. We have mythology remade. I am familiar with the Brynhild story as well as the variations on the theme that can be found in Wagnerian operas. Alterici takes the story and blends in a modern sensibility with social justice themes. Her wild concoction is exhilarating. She gives us a book with a queer hero that is not afraid to be who they are and this makes my heart skip a beat. And in the process, gives us a modern Norse Myth where the hero is a woman to boot. It has been long overdo and the power of the story is amplified by this choice.

The art is gorgeous as well. It has a deep scratchy feel with rough hewn edges. It has a warmth and authenticity that adds to the story being told. In particular, I like how Alterici’s style makes the brief combat with a bull in issue one is handled. The action is quick and fluid without anything feeling blurry or hard to follow. The detail is never lost in the flow of the conflict.

Heathen by Natasha Alterici is a book that needs to be on your pull list. Great story, excellent art, queer content, A strong Heroine,socially aware themes, and mythology remixed. What’s not to love!

It is currently on issue four so it will not be difficult to get caught up.

Four bear paws out of four.

I bearly recommend it!

Comics Issues

If you’ve read some of my posts, you will know that I enjoy reading comic books. I look forward to new comic book day and seeing what has shown up in my pull list and what interesting titles may be lurking on the shelves at my local comic shop.

The thing is, I am a reader of comics, not a collector. This presents me with several issues which I ponder at length. These issues all fall neatly into the larger consideration of digital versus hard copy.

Digital makes the most sense when viewed from the logical perspective.

First there is the storage issue. As I am not a collector, I do not have long boxes to keep my comics in. I do not bag and board my comics either. I pick them up from my local shop and read them. After being read, they sit in a pile in my home getting in the way. Digital comics would eliminate this problem completely. I would be able to store the comics I bought in the cloud and have nothing cluttering up my house.

Next there is the convenience factor. On new comic book day, I could get out of bed and tap on my iPad and have my comics that I get each week purchased in a matter of a few minutes. Even if I am unable to do it within the comixology App, the website is pretty intuitive and makes the purchase simple and easy. There isn’t the worry of getting to the shop before it closes.

Finally, there is the guided view that comes with most items purchased online. The digital version of a book allows you to follow the story in a different manner. As the name implies, it guides the the from image to image in a fashion much different than what I normally do when reading a comic. It provides a different perspective on the issue which is enjoyable.

Despite all this, I still buy the physical copies of the comics I read.

One of the biggest reasons I do this is to support local shops. It sounds altruistic but it isn’t. In my area, finding people that liked comics, games, and other nerdy things was not easy. The fastest way to find those that shared similar hobbies was going to my local comic book store. I would be able to get my comics, find the newest roleplaying game, and talk about all of these things with other people at the store. I want this type of environment to be around for future generations that are into comics. So, will support a local comic shop that I believe in with my money and my time.

As much as the digital versions of comics are more convenient, I enjoy both the physical artifact of a comic book as well as just browsing the shelves to see what else might be interesting. There are hardback collections of titles that I enjoy that are gorgeous. I may see a picture of them online, but picking them up in the store and appreciating their sheer beauty is something altogether different. I have also recently been to the comic book store with friends. Walking around with them as they pick up their books and having them make suggestions of books for me to try was moving for me. It took an experience that has normally been solitary and made it all the better.

I also like having someone to talk to about what I am buying at the time of purchase. I have found out about titles that I have enjoyed being cancelled from my local comic shop. I have also been given recommendations of titles that are similar to what I normally buy that have turned into some of my favorite books at the moment. The computer does this but I have yet to have any luck with the algorithm actually picking anything that I enjoy. It’s funny. I am a shy person but I enjoy the human interaction around the things that I enjoy. Talking to the people at my local comic shop makes my day even when I might not be up to full on interactions.

Finally, despite always having a pile of books that I have read, I don’t mind. Like i said, I am not a collector. I will take the pile to my game night or to a friend’s house and let them go through the books that I have and take what they like. I let them see if there is anything that I enjoy that they might like and give it a try. It makes it easier for them to get into this hobby I enjoy and I spread a bit of joy when I do this.

How do you buy your comics?

Why do you chose to buy them in that fashion?

Share your answers in the comments.

American Gods No 1

You may have noticed from previous posts that I have a thing for mythology. Tales of the gods and their progeny fascinate me and will always garner my attention. It was this love of mythology that attracted me to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I had loved his work on Sandman and him playing with myth in the modern era was enough to entice me to read the book.

When I heard that they would be doing a comic adaptation of the book, I was excited. The first issue came out last week and I snatched it up as soon as I saw it. I did not get time to read it until over the weekend.

I read the issue twice in one sitting. The first reading was filled with that giddy excitement of getting something you’ve been waiting for. The second was to fully process what I read.

After processing, I have to say that the first issue of American Gods is Meh.

I know!

It feels like sacrilege to say a comic by Neil Gaiman is just Meh!

Hear me out.

I have read this story before, several times to be exact. I am familiar with the rhythm of the narrative and flow of characters. I have images in my head that I have conjured in these many readings. This leaves a comic a very high bar to achieve.

This first issue, as one would expect, tackles the opening of the book. Literally. We follow the beginning in an almost reverent fashion. The panels tell us the story of Shadow and his Campbellian call to the post of the hero. This issue picks up on the languid pace that the book always seemed to have in my mind and stretches that across these pages as well.

I know this story. I know the cadence that it begins. The slow drum beat that builds and builds over so many pages. I enjoyed it in novel form but it seems laboriously slow in comic form. Instead of getting lost in the prose, I felt like the story dragged moving from panel to panel. The bits and pieces of the story that kept me rapt were built into the descriptions in the prose and are lost in comic form as they are just backgrounds.

The art is my second stumbling block. Like I mentioned, the descriptions in the book add more to the narrative than detract and brought you into the story. These pieces are given little attention in this issue. The art style is reminiscent of Breaking Bad. It has a gritty and half formed feel that just grates on me. It is well done done but just does not work for me.

Overall, I was disappointed in this issue. I was expecting a more dynamic retelling of the story and what I am getting is the story just retold. The art style leaves me cold and I miss the tiny bits that stood out in the prose that are glossed over in the comic. I am going to give issue no 2 a try but I am not holding out hope.

I would give American Gods No 1 two bear paws out of four. It is a retelling of a story I already know without adding anything new. The art is good but of a style that just grates on me. If you are new to American Gods or must have everything by Gaiman, pick up american Gods No 1. Otherwise, wait for the trade.

Animosity: The Wake

My taste in comics can be described as vanilla. My fandom runs the regular superhero circuit with a few forays into the independent arena with titles like East of West or Thief of Thieves. My exposure to companies other than Marvel, DC, and Image is also limited as Valiant has been the only new company added to my pull list in a long while.

Luckily I have friends that also read comics and have decided that my horizons need to be broadened. I went out to my friend Stick Pup’s local comic shop to check it out. My habit is to always buy something at a local shop if I visit to show support for the people in my fandom in the area. I picked up several Rick and Morty trade paperbacks and some Star Wars comics for a friend. While looking around, Stick Pup began adding things to my pile. The list is a bit extensive and I am slowly plowing through it. The piece that stood out for me was Animosity from Boom Studios.

The trade for volume one was gorgeous. The cover, as it should, arrested my eye. It is a picture of a little girl with a rifle on her back, her loyal dog by her side. Standing outside the light, the shadowed faces and glowing eyes of wolves can be seen looking on. I was sold from this image and it was the first thing I read from the pile when I had the chance.

The premise behind Animosity is that one day, all the animals on the planet woke up. Not in that they were asleep but that they were not conscious in the way that humans are. The story then spools out from there. The animals gain not only consciousness but understanding as the world is not suddenly filled with billions of two year olds. The animals just awaken, as if from a dream. For the most part, these new sentients have the cognitive capacity of an adult with exceptions just like humans. The results are spectacular.

I love the story that Bennett has created. she creates a world where instead of the animals becoming another zombie plague, they become people just like us. They have their own motivations, their own capabilities and biases. She highlights these individual quirks throughout the story with little scenes illustrating how the animals dealing both with their relationships with humans and other animals. In particular, the first few pages we get to see as animals wake up in various situations. There is a recurring panel where there is a family at the vet with their god, obviously struggling with the decision to put him down. The next panel we are shown the dog telling them “Don’t cry. I understand…I forgive you.” Gut punch! On the flip side there is a series of panels with cute pandas being cared for. The tilt happens and they have grabbed guns and are committing suicide crying, “Why did you keep us alive for so long?” Another gut punch.

These vignettes serve as a backdrop to the journey of Jesse and Sandor, an 11 year old girl and her loving dog. WE get to see how the family survives the early days of the awakening and how the two then survive after things go south. Bennett takes the faithful dog trope and turns it on it’s ear as everything in the world goes sideways and that loyalty and caring are tested in ways that are sometimes difficult to watch.

I talk about the story but the art is stupendous on this book as well. The panels I mention earlier are all small squares, part of a larger page. But each one captures the tone and emotions and conveys it unmistakably.De LaTorre has way of capturing complex scenes and communicate the myriad emotions with aplomb. He takes the depth of the story that Bennett has crafted and renders it lovingly on the page.

I could rave about this book a lot but I don’t want to spoil it. Bennett has crafted a world that I want to know more about. I devoured this story quickly and am waiting for more. The art lives up to the standard that the story sets and leaves nothing behind. My one caveat is that if you are soft hearted where it comes to animals, then this may not be the book for you. The violence can be brutal and heart-wrenching.

This is a four bear paws out of four book. You should definitely pick up the trade and add the second series to your pull list. I am looking forward to seeing more of the Journey of Jesse and Sandor and those that they pick up along the way.

I bearly recommend this book!

Midnighter & Apollo

Once again, I have been remiss.

DC Comics has had a title out that I’ve been reading since issue one and it is definitely something that I should have spoken about here.

Midnighter and Apollo replaced Midnighter after it’s short run. It picked up the story of these two gay super heroes after they had been reunited at the end of Midnighter. The title is currently on issue six.

I was ecstatic that these two once again received their own title. I had been a fan of the characters since The Authority. I know that they had appeared prior to that but one remembers their first exposure to character more than the actual first appearance.

Let’s start with the obvious reason for enjoying this title which is that it features a gay couple. For superhero comics and DC Comics, this is something that is rare. So, getting to see my tribe represent in one of my favorite media makes me happy. In particular, Orlando treats them like a couple. there is touching, kissing, and the regular interplay that you find between any couple. There is no shying away from it or treating them like they are just a team like Batman and Robin. A good example is two panels from this latest issue where the two are fighting their way out of hell. In one panel midnighter says, “You blew me up. how’d you know I wasn’t the bendable one?” In the next panel Apollo responds, “Please..you think I don’t recognize the back of your head?” Priceless!

It is this normalization of the relationship that makes this book stand out for me. This treatment had been a staple of the characters back in The Authority but had been stripped from them when they graced the pages of the New 52 at the beginning. Seeing it being embraced once again was like seeing a piece of art being restored. It made me happy.

The other reason I am currently enjoying Midnighter and Apollo may not be so obvious. I am a fan of greek and Roman mythology. I have mentioned this on my site many times. So, watching Midnighter and Apollo play through the Orpheus and Eurydice myth made me squee with delight!

For those unfamiliar with the myth, allow me to give a brief synopsis. Orpheus, the son of Apollo, was a great musician. He fell in love with the Eurydice, a woman of unique beauty and grace. It was believed that their union was perfection that would endure. But like all things, a prophecy was made that told of Eurydice’s coming demise. Upon her death, Orpheus’ grief was so great that even the gods were moved. Apollo and the other gods provided him their protection so that he might descend into the underworld and retrieve his love. Hades had one catch, that Orpheus could not look back upon his love until they had returned to the surface. Having been so long without her and not trusting Hades, Orpheus looked back and lost his love forever.

The greeks did love their tragic love stories.

I love that Orlando uses the classical katabasis as the hook for a six issue story. He takes a story that is a quintessential love story and allows it to encompass these two characters and evolve just like the greek myths did in their retelling to each new audience. It allows you to know the basic story structure you are going to see throughout the story but the details are where you will be kept wrapt.

Orlando does not disappoint.

My one nitpick with the book so far is the art. It is good but there are no points where I want to spend more time with the art. Even the covers lack the punch that I get from my other favorite titles. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t elevate the story the way I expect the art too in a comic.

Midnighter and Apollo is a great comic. It provides a great story with good art and excellent representation. Definitely something you should have on your pull list at your local comic shop.

Three out of four bear paws.

Faith No. 9

I have been remiss.

I talk about a lot of things and I have not spoken about one of the best comics out currently.

If you are not reading Valiant Comic’s Faith, you are missing something special.

It was way back in May of last year when I was introduced to this title. I wrote about it here. Valiant gave Faith her own mini-series in the spring of last year. I read it cover to cover and was captured with the hope and fun that was conveyed in the pages of the book. It was unlike any other books that I was reading at the time. The main character, Faith, was a woman of size. She was not portrayed as some fumbling fool or some overpowered demigod. She was a well rounded character that had a geeky heart that made it easy for me to identify with her.

I was elated when it was announced that she would be having her own ongoing series as well as appearing in the pages of Harbinger: Renegades.

Faith has been on my pull list since the first issue.

The current issue that came out this week is number 9 and typifies the reasons that I love this book.

Jody Hauser and Kate Niemczyk give us a day in the life of Faith in this issue. The very first page hits on one of the best thing about this title which is the diversity the cast. The first page gives the reader a look into how Faith’s supporting cast begins their day. We see Mimi, Jay, and Paige each start their morning at a different time and a different way. Each life is treated equally and with respect. Niemczyk’s art is gorgeous as always and makes these domestic scenes all the more heartwarming for the attention to detail. Their normalcy provides a nice contrast to the next page which is a full page of the building where they all work with Faith flying in just in the nick of time.

We follow the group through a normal day’s work at the Zipline offices where faith works. A new intern has began to work at the office. This provides a new wrinkle for the small group of journalists that have come to call Faith, in both roles, friend. The issue provides each person’s view of how they view themselves as they help Faith maintain her cover identity. Each story is presented as a fantasy sequence with art by Marguerite Sauvage. These vignettes provide insight into how the characters wished things were in full reality as well as how knowing Faith has positively impacted them over the time they have known her.

I won’t spoil the end, but it was good!

I love these slice of life stories for heroes. They ground the character as well as providing a more in-depth look into the supporting cast. I was already a fan of Mimi, Paige, and Jay. In nine issues we gotten to see each of these characters become more important to Faith. This issue we get to see how Faith has become important to these characters and why they do what they do.

The storytelling is wonderful. The use of timestamps to highlight the progress through the day is nice. It provides a bit of urgency in a story that could have been a slow read. Each character is given time to breath and strut in the spotlight which I love. The art is stupendous with the transitions between the two artists being seamless. The transition between the two styles fit well with the story and provided and another bit of drama that was just right.

You should be picking up Faith from Valiant comics. Issue Nine is an excellent jumping on point as it gives a good idea of what has gone before without feeling weighed down with exposition. The art is beautiful and will have you flipping the pages just to look at it again. You definitely should add this to your pull list.

Four bear paws out of four.

I bearly recommend it!

 

Green Lanterns No 15: A Day in the Life

I love Green Lantern.

The idea of the emotional spectrum that has a ring attached to each emotion resonates deeply with me. Way back in 2012-2013 I wrote about some personal change through the lens of the emotional spectrum.

That is how much I love Green Lantern and the other lantern corps that originate with the pages of his comic.

DC Comics has undergone another reboot entitle DC Rebirth. The titles of the DC Universe take up after the events of the Darkseid War and begin to patch together the storylines that have been present in the New 52 and things that had gone on before Flashpoint. In Green Lanterns we get too follow Simon and Jessica, the two new guardians of the earth and it’s space quadrant.

A Day in the life is a great jumping on point for this these two characters as well as a wonderful story in and of itself.

First off, I love stories about heroes that are a slice of life for them. These take the time to show us these characters both in their ordinary guises and highlight their own personal struggles that continue despite the harrowing adventures they undertake.

A Day in the life is no different. The issue opens up with panels of Jessica waking up in the morning. The text on the page is Jessica telling the audience what, on most days, is the greatest battle she faces. Jessica suffers from Anxiety. Each day she faces the thought that she can not handle the day and why get out of bed anyway. We follow jessica throughout the day as she meets with her partner Simon, whom works with her to fulfill her potential as a Green Lantern as well as learn more about himself in the process. We get to watch as she struggles with the responsibilities of wearing the ring while struggling to fight off an anxiety attack throughout the day.

There is a poignant moment where Jessica is not able to push off an attack any longer. In the middle of a battle with a lame villain, she freezes and Simon keeps her safe and cleans up the villain. He allows his ignorance to show by stating that he thought Jessica was getting better. She calls him on this ignorance and points out that it never gets better. It is something that she will struggle with indefinitely and flies off.

Jessica realizes that she lost control and stormed off. So, she takes the time to do the things that will make the next battle a little bit easier. We watch as she works through these steps and shows us how they are her armor for the coming battle.

In the end, She faces another morning and another battle and is able to get out of bed and face the day as a Green Lantern. We even get to see Simon show up to apologize for his lack of understanding of how things worked and continue to provide her support as she continues her fight.

This issue provides so much that I want out of a comic that it makes my heart ache. We get to see my favorite thing in the DC Universe taking a stand to give us a diverse title in almost every way. We get to see two people take up the ring that are not often presented in the Corps. On top of this we get to see one of these heroes struggle with a mental illness and have it treated with a modicum of grace that is unusual in comics. All of this excellent story telling is graced by beautiful artworks that just draws one deeper into the story.

Humphries and Mendonca have done good work on issue 15.

If you have not given Green Lanterns a try. This is a great issue to jump in. It gives a great picture of these two heroes while also highlighting the issues surrounding those that struggle with mental illness. A definite four bear paws out of four on issue 15 of Green Lanterns.

I bearly recommend it!

I know that is cheesy but I don’t care!

Scarlet Witch No 10

Scarlet Witch 10Much like Doctor Strange, I had not mentioned the Scarlet Witch in a while.

After reading the 10th issue in the series, this is something I must remedy.

As always David Aja does the regular cover for this issue and it is stunning as usual. This issue features a winter scene in front of a Japanese pagoda. The title is written in the Japanese style next to Kanji and the names of the creators on this issue. Aja use of three colors to create such striking images is just breathtaking. His simple artistry on these covers makes me wish for lithographs of these covers to hang in my home.

The interior art on this issue lives up to the gorgeous cover. The first page is a simple one page piece. It is a snow covered field with a small fox wandering across the forlorn landscape with a few twigs the only other relief from bright white of the cold snow. A simple haiku is featured in the upper right corner.

Simple, elegant, and gorgeous.

The rest of the art throughout this issue has a definite edge to it. The way that Zama does the faces of all the characters, save for Scarlet Witch, adds gravitas to each of them. These are characters with a history that we are only glimpsing a single encapsulated moment. In addition, we are seeing these character as they deal with the grief of losing a loved one which also echoes from each line on a character’s face.

The story of this issue is also fascinating. After the gorgeous opening page, we get to see an aged man writing Kanji while contemplating the things that he has not done. We learn that he has learned of his coming demise and, despite all of his accomplishments, can only worry about what he has missed. Then his fate comes for him.

Wanda comes to Japan to investigate the death of the Aoi Master, Hiroshi Tanaka. She did not know the man but felt his death on the other side of the world. This is a mystery that can not be left unanswered. So, like a good detective, she begins asking questions. Through these questions we learn about the life of the Aoi Master and what he meant to this part of the world and these people. His loss has left a whole, but the hole also is a clue. Wanda learns sometimes it is the piece that is missing that provides the answer as opposed to finding the piece itself.

I’ll not spoil the ending for you.

I have to give this issue of Scarlet Witch four out of four bear paws. It has gorgeous art and excellent storytelling. Everything works together to create a one and done story that I could not ask for more. Scarlet Witch is a title that has not faltered in either of these arenas, even when it was forced to participate in the Civil War 2 story line. You would be remiss to not pick up this issue of Scarlet Witch.

Doctor Strange No. 11

doctor-strange-11-2016It has been awhile since I have talked comics and a bit longer since I have mention Doctor Strange. With the new Doctor Strange movie coming out in a couple of months, I thought now would be a good time to revisit his comic.

Issue Eleven picks up after the Fall of Magic storyline. The Empirikul had swept the earth destroying as much magic as it could. Many masters of the mystic arts and seats of power were destroyed in their wake. In the final battle, magic was able to survive by Doctor Strange accepting that he could no longer proceed in the way he had. He had to accept the mistakes of the past as well as their consequences.

This issue begins with Stephen meeting with dealers in a back alley. They are peddling mutant growth hormone. Doctor Strange is attempting every avenue to find a way back to his former power. This last ditch effort ends even more poorly than all the others. He is left for dead in a dumpster, only to be revived by the touch of an ethereal watcher that appears to be the Ancient One. Stephen returns home where his librarian, Zelma Stanton, is working at discovering which spells work and which don’t in this new age of magic. He then goes for a walk to see how the city fares since the threat has now passed. The imagery is of a much more subdued magical environment. Subdued, but not safe.

Unlike earlier issues, his attempt to assist a passerby suffering from a magical parasite ends poorly and he returns to his now dilapidated Sanctum Sanctorum to better arm himself. As he attempts the rescue again, we are treated to a flashback. Stephen is offered an elixir by Mordu to heal his hands. Stephen refuses and violence ensues. He then returns to the Ancient One to begin learning. Stephen picks himself up and returns home to recover and begin learning magic again in this world after magic was pushed to the brink.

The art in this issue is good. Nowlan and Romero do an excellent job at capturing the rough and beat down look of a world that is recovering. I like how the give a desperate and battered appearance Stephen throughout the book, even in flashback. In particular, I like how they handle the last page of the issue. We return to the bar with no doors for the reveal of the next big bad. They bring Mordu out of the darkness without bringing him fully into the light. I liked how they accomplished this.

Issue 11 does an excellent job of wrapping up the Fall of Magic storyline. It sets up a new status quo while still maintaining the weirdness factor which I came to love from the first issue. The art is good but is a bit outside of what I enjoy seeing in superhero comics. A solid three bear paws out of four. Well worth a read for comics fan as well as a nice series to help you get ready for the movie.