Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 10/6/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.

Checking in a little late this week, but not because I was particularly busy or even lazy.  I just plain forgot.   But that just means I have a few extra days worth of comics to choose from.  Let’s get to it…

THE HITS

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #1-4 | Icon | Ed Brubaker (w), Sean Phillips (a) w/ Val Staples & Dave Stewart (c)

If you’ve read any of the previous installments of Ed Brubaker’s crime noir series, Criminal, then you know that the man has a gift for this type of story.  Each Criminal mini series offers up a self-contained tale from the underbelly of society, which intermingle and tie loosely together to form a larger continuity.  What makes Last of the Innocent special is that series artist, Sean Phillips and world-class colorists, Val Staples and Dave Stewart get to stretch their artistic legs through a series of flashbacks done in a faux-Archie Comics style.  It brings some levity and punctuates the backstory of Riley Richards, a small-time crook plotting to kill his millionaire heiress wife.  It’s 4 issues (compared to 6, in previous volumes) and the pacing is perfect.  Nothing is wasted and the tension remains high for every panel of this captivating tale of reprehensible people who you just can’t help rooting for. BUY IT

Thanks for correcting me, Ed. I had completely missed that while reading and would hate to deny props to the great Dave Stewart. I also failed to credit Marc Andreyko as co-writer on Captain America & Bucky.  Changes made above and below.

Captain America & Bucky #620-622 | Marvel | Ed Brubaker & Marc Andreyko (w), Chris Samnee (a) w/ Bettie Breitweiser (c)

“Just when I thought I was out … they pull me back in.” If you listen to the podcast, you’ll know that I’ve been hot and cold on Ed Brubaker’s Captain America. As such, I was slow to pick up Captain America & Bucky when it took over the numbering of the long-running series at issue #620. Contrived numerology aside, it took just two of the first three issues to earn Mr. Brubaker a second spot on the Hit List and a return to my pull list. Each issue is a self-contained story that builds on the one before it, as we see the duo’s first meeting and early adventures through Bucky’s eyes. The real American hero of this series is Chris Samnee (along with colorist Bettie Breitweiser), whose vintage style is pitch-perfect for this WWII period piece.

Locke & Key Vol. 4 | IDW | Joe Hill (w), Gabriel Rodriguez (a)

In the age of decompressed plotting and writing for the trade, there are few titles that give you the storytelling bang for your buck of Lock & Key.  Joe Hill has crafted an intricate mystery surrounding the Locke family and the town of Lovecraft, MA. Gabriel Rodreguez is a master of hiding story elements in every nook and cranny of the page.  Volume 4, entitled Keys to the Kingdom, ramps up the pace and reads like a Where’s Waldo book that has you constantly flipping pages and searching for clues you missed along the way.  BUY IT

THE MISSES

Ultimate Spider-Man #2 | Marvel | Brian Bendis (w), Sarah Pichelli (a)

Hard to pick a miss in what was overall a great week of comic reading but after such a strong start last week, Ultimate Spider-Man was a return to Bendis-being-Bendis with page after page of action-less conversation between characters.  The dialogue is sharp and I’m still interested in the characters and where the story is headed. I just wish Bendis could lean less heavily on dialogue to build the characters and move the story along.  At this pace, seeing Miles Morales in costume is looking like a last-page-of-the-sixth-issue reveal and Ultimate Spider-Man is looking like a wait-for-the-trade kind of book.

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