Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 10/24/2011

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.

THE HITS

Orchid #1 | Dark Horse | Tom Morello (w), Scott Hepburn (a)

Written by guitarist, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, the Nightwatchmen), Orchid presents a post-apocalyptic world by way of rising seas and monstrous genetic mutations. The remaining human society has reverted to a feudal caste system in which the very wealthy rule as slave-masters … so, not unlike our society today. The art of Scott Hepburn is dynamic and brings a lot of personality to the protagonist rebels and shantytown dwellers we meet. While this first issue is a little wordy, Morello seems to have a handle on comicbook storytelling and Dark Horse has a proven track record of turning rock musicians into successful comicbook writers (see Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy). I enjoyed exploring this desolate world and I look forward to the socio-political commentary that Morello is sure to weave into the story.

The Immortal Iron Fist Vol. 2 | Marvel | Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker (w), David Aja & others (a)

It’s been over a year since I read the first volume of Matt Fraction & Ed Brubaker’s mystical kung fu epic The Immortal Iron Fist, and I’d almost forgotten how good it was. Coming off a staring role in P.J. Huot’s recent kung fu short, I knew it was time to return to Kun Lun for another dose of magic, mysticism and martial arts. It’s always exciting to read 2nd and 3rd-tier characters, because there’s a freshness for the reader and an obvious passion on the part of the creators. Fraction & Brubaker’s enthusiasm is palpable in the pages of Vol. 2, which takes Danny Rand into a Kung Fu tournament to decide the fate of Kun Lun’s connection to the mortal plane. David Aja’s dynamic brush work is kinetic and impactful in the main tournament scenes, while a host of other artists including Javier Pulido, Tonci Zonjic, Howayd Chaykin and more, add stories from of Danny Rand’s predecessors and bring life to the legacy of the Iron Fist.  BUY IT

Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17 | Bongo | various (w), various (a)

If you like The Simpsons you should try Simpsons comics.  With the voices so engrained in our heads, the pages come to life in much the same way the show does and you’ll find yourself LOL’ing as you read during your lunch break or morning commute (hopefully you take public transportation). If you’ve thought about trying Simpsons’ comics but haven’t, then the annual Treehouse of Horror special is a great place to start. Much as celebrity guests seek out the honor of Simpson-ification, top comics talent line up to put their stamp on Springfield. Treehouse of Horror #17 features the likes of Zander Cannon, Gene Ha, Jim Woodring and more.

THE MISSES

Fear Itself #7 (of 7) | Marvel | Matt Fraction (w), Stuart Immonen (a)

Despite contributions by two of my favorite creators, Marvel’s latest all-encompassing, status-quo-changing event book never really got it’s hooks into me.  In interviews prior to the start of Fear Itself, Matt Fraction claimed that readers who just read the main title would get a fulfilling and complete story but that the tie-in titles would enhance the reading experience.  I can’t speak for the tie-ins but I found the main mini-series neither fulfilling nor compete.  Without the talking-head-laden explanations given in the Avengers titles, the events of Fear Itself lacked the scope and gravitas that I think was intended. This final issue seemed to pull in a lot of plot threads that I had no connection to (who’s the bald guy, Rick, and why do I care?!).  In the end, it all comes to head in a cacophony of explosions and posturing that left me more confused than anything else.  Event books are supposed to feel important and get me excited about what comes next. To me, Fear Itself, and particularly the final issue was a miss on both fronts. BUY IT

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