The mixture of tendencies within these comics point to two specific points. With Batman, The MAXX and the Sonic team is that triumph within character and depth are cyclical while in the Star Wars stories, those good tendencies tend to outpace evil even if darkness is lurking right below the surface.
Batman & The MAXX – Arkham Dreams #2 The interesting thing about The MAXX is the nature of his perception of the real and the almost tongue-in-cheek way that he perceives reality since he completely believes it. Through some weird perception of Batman, they become linked in the Outback which in many ways makes this reader think of the netherworld that Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow inhabits in one point of “Stranger Tides”, a world where everything means nothing and yet so much. Reflections of the real world tend to happen in a misshapen way. The Penguin’s mind is initially masked in this experiment but it moves to The Joker who interestingly enough seems to live in this world to a point so he can control its mechanizations. The art in this comic is extremely lurid which gives the grotesque imagery of The Joker and to a point Batman disgusting skewed features (in a good way) while The MAXX remains consistent in perhaps another metaphorical perception about the notion of reality.
Sonic – The Hedgehog #10 The massing of teams from different edges of the Sonic universe to battle a Neo Demon of sorts can play like a video game version of “Lord Of The Rings” with bright pastel colors. Everyone has their differences but also their strengths. In terms of character structure, Shadow, unlike the more cautious Sonic, fights out of rage which ultimately opens up the team to problems. A deeper psychological structure with Whisper is started which is also explained in the post notes. The essence of emotional pain even within this world gives the characters depth where it might not have existed. This is a point of reference that Nintendo & Illumination (who are gearing to do a new adaption of “Super Mario Brothers”) should pay attention to. Even in these worlds built in two dimensional game format, there is possibility for 3 dimensional depth. “Sonic – The Hedgehog #10” has a bit of it while still adhering to the base.
Star Wars Adventures #15 The small perceptions of “Star Wars” in mini episodes sometimes tells the most about the characters in the small details without having to worry about a very large super structure. This is why the first “Clone Wars” shorts by Genndy Tartakovsky many years ago still remains some of the best (even though the mythology has been undeniably mined by David FIloni’s eventual continuing series). Here the first story is “An Unlikely Friendship” with Poe Dameron and BB-8 landing on an aboriginal planet that has textures of Dagobah. They meet a young man on a walkabout to find his focus as part of his tribe. This boy helps them through selfless help of his own backing up the essence of good human nature. The 2nd part of the comic is “Flight Of The Falcon Part II”. Bounty hunters are looking for the Falcon but droids who were saved recount Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and C3PO landing on a garbage planet looking for a place to relocate the rebel base. There, a taskmaster wants to take the Falcon but the Rebels learn to get out of there fast. However the droids see that 3PO is his own robot capable of free thought which gives them the confidence to leave the master that has subjugated them.
Star Wars Adventure – Tales From Vader’s Castle #5 – The Fearful Finale The culmination of Commander Graf’s entering of Vader’s Castle to save her beloved droid Crater does have the texture of a set up. However one of the aspects that hasn’t been as specifically shown within Lord Vader is his intention of psychological warfare. The aspect of fear is almost as virile as fear itself. Lord Sidious/Palpatine subjugated Anakin into Darth Vader specifically with this tactic so it is interesting that he do it himself. The resolution points to this possibility but also to the confidant action by Graf’s assistant/pet Scripp to save his master per se. Again two lessons of story melded in one with a sense of foreboding.
The aspect of perception and how one sees characters can both inform and influence the idea of how they act or seem to persist in any given situation. The tendencies within these 4 comics below progress distinctly because of the ideas that came before them, both effective and bridged gaps….
Star Wars Adventures – Tales From Vader’s Castle #3 – Beware The Briar Witch With the tale of the young Han Solo on another smuggle gone wrong, the tone is exactly right. Unlike “Solo” [the film] which jumped in tone between the drama and the humor (getting some of it right along the way), this filters in this story more like Seth Green’s “Star Wars- Detours” which was scrapped after the Lucasfilm acquisition by Disney. Granted this is just a story within the overall siege the rebels make on Vader’s castle on Mustafar. But the Briar Patch intention, even in its ode to “Song Of The South”, shows the idea of be wary of that which seems too good to be true. The essence of Chewbacca seems really emotive in the art here because it is slightly stretched and skewed. “Beware The Briar Patch” is a tale of warning created against a large backdrop but a cool side story nonetheless.
Ghostbusters – Crossing Over #7 The melding of the different incarnations of the Ghostbusters within several inter dimensional rifts actually is less chaotic than one might think. The idea of new recruits shepherded by the original team but also the team being perceived in different times and dimensions including The Real Ghostbusters is quite interesting. Watching a Janine character who is more brazen and less cautious interacting with Ray Stanz from a certain time period does create an interesting perspective. The different ghosts and the sarcastic tone as usual seems to come through. The continuing interaction with Death and the idea in the fact that he can’t be captured as it will create a bottleneck is an interesting concept but there is a fate for us all.
TMNT – Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Like the launch of the new animated series on Nickelodeon, this iteration takes a different approach. Since Splinter is not yet seen in this episode, the appearance of Man Bun, a pet store owner turned mutant sent by Maxum, the puppet master, to test the turtles makes sense and the art is fluid and furious in its chaotic nature. Like the series, April O’Neill provides a sense of groundedness as a darker evil lurks below the surface but as it is just the first issue, the bigger texture of its mythology within the Rise has yet to make itself known.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #87 The storyline with this volume seems like one ,ore of war and the gritty colors in red and brown reflect this. The Turtles are out in the open and working with other mutants with a sense of purpose. They have become soldiers and are grown up in the truest sense of the word. There are still their idiosyncrasies but these turtles are more sure which makes their actions seem that much more intense and viable. The Krang are still the Krang but much more methodical in their focus and infighting adds a new dynamic to it even though the battle seems like it might be lost.
By Tim Wassberg