The Best of Last Week: Secret Service, Saga and B.P.R.D.
When I look at some of the stuff I read last week, I can’t help but think that the comics industry is alive and well. Yeah, no one’s making anywhere near the sales of the 90s, but the quality of comics, especially creator-owned comics, is as good as it’s ever been, if not better.
So join me as we discuss some of my top picks from last week (and surprisingly, not a super hero in sight).
First off is Millarworld‘s Secret Service #2 by Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, and Matthew Vaughn. Secret Service tells the story of Super Spy Jack London, a real world James Bond who decides to get his nephew Gary out of a life of poverty and crime by training him to be a Super Spy himself.
Despite the opening scenes of 51 almost-married couples murdering each other at their group wedding (not really a spoiler seeing as it’s depicted on the cover) Secret Service seems to lacks the ultra-violence of his usual comics. This isn’t a bad thing, just a different approach. Unlike Supercrooks, Millar takes a more slow-boil approach to Secret Service, letting the story slowly develop as opposed to smashing our faces in from the get-go.
Even the violence that we get is drawn in such a matter-of-fact way that it doesn’t come across as stylized and excessive. It is simply part of a tool that moves the story forward and keeps us interested.
If James Bond movies were as good as this, maybe I’d be more of a fan of the spy genre.
Second cab off the rank is Image Comics‘ Saga #3 by Brian K. Vaughan and the ever so talented Fiona Staples. Science fiction and fantasy collide in the epic story of Hazel and her parents, star-crossed lovers Marko and Alana.
When it comes to Saga, I really have only one thing to say: if you are a bitter old Star Wars fan, always complaining about how Lucas ruined your childhood, put your money where your mouth is and pick up Saga. To me, this is everything Star Wars could have been.
For the uninitiated, Saga tells the story or warring planets, the Coalition of Landfall and the planet Wreath, and two soldiers who defect from each army in the name of forbidden love. Marko’s race seems to be evolved from goats or something, where Alana’s have insect type wings. Together they’ve had a cute little goaty-insect hybrid, Hazel (who narrates the majority of the story).
It really is much cooler than I can make it sound.
Saga is an epic in every definition of the word; it is poetic, heroic, and the universe it is set in is enormous in scope, with every detail seemingly pre-planned and meticulously detailed.
So like I said, instead of crying about a trilogy of movies over thirty years old that, with all due respect, aren’t even good flicks anymore, grab Saga. Spaceships, sword fighting warriors, alien races, ghosts, and robots. What more do you want?
Finally, my pick of the week is from Dark Horse Comics: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth - The Devil’s Engine #1 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Tyler Crook.
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth is consistently my favorite monthly read. I never thought that, with the departure of Hellboy, a B.P.R.D. comic could work. I was wrong.
And in recent years, with the death of Roger the Homunculus and Captain Ben Daimio, Liz Sherman going AWOL, and then Abe Sapien being in a coma after being shot, I again had doubts that a monthly comic could survive with Kate Corrigan and Johann Kraus front-and-center.
I was wrong again. In the hands of Mignola and Arcudi, these underwhelming characters became strong leading women and men in a world gone insane.
The Devil’s Engine #1 focuses on B.P.R.D. Agent Andrew Devon and his attempt to bring a suspected psychic/homeless prophetess back to B.P.R.D. headquarters. Sounds simple enough, but maybe not, seeing as the world is undergoing a literal Hell on Earth.
Over the last couple of decades, the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. universe has built and filled out into as rich and fleshed out as anything from the Big Two, and it continues to grow.
Tyler Crook has really found a home here in B.P.R.D. It’s almost as if Guy Davis never left (and that’s big BIG praise from me).
So those are my pics for last week. Each of these comics should still be on shelves around the world (except Saga seems to be selling like hotcakes, but trust me when I say it’s worth ordering the back issues).
Go forth my child and enjoy great comics.