Wednesday's comics, today: Chew #24 and more

We're going to change the schedule a bit in the coming week. I advertised some trade reviews for next week, but these will be pushed to the week after. I'm going to take a break to deal with the Real World, but I have a few backlog posts. Here's what you can expect from me next week:
  • A recap for February's comics
  • a conclusion of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
  • and
  • whatever the hell else I felt like talking about
That's next week. This week, I got a few comics, so here are they are:

cover by Rafael AlbuquerqueAmerican Vampire #24
by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque

This is the third part of the four-part "Death Race," and it's not any better than the second. Scott Snyder maintains the same methodic-but-slow pace without taking the real-time story anywhere else. There's this trend for quick, wordless panels that convey small actions, but these are overused. Do we really need three panels in a half-page to show, "Young Travis walks suspiciously from one side of the Doctor's door, to the other." Television shows can afford to include this decompression, because they can convey motion in mere seconds, but comic books are visually static. Snyder employs these wordless panels in a substantial number of pages, and that hurts the story, because it fails to move forward. I can't imagine anyone purchasing this comic book issue for the single issue itself.

The creative team has a high pedigree, and this issue did not match it. This is going to read better in trade format, in a collected reading experience, but it fails by itself, as a single reading experience.

cover by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato The Flash #6
by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

Have you seen the variant cover for this, by Mike Choi? It's so baller. I love the use of the logo.

This comic book issue follows, in that it's also baller visually stunning. Captain Cold brings in his own color scheme, creating a snow-y backdrop in Central City. This turns the background into this vibrant white that highlights the literal clash between his color (blue) and the Flash's (red), cold (blue) vs hot (red). It's exciting just to look at.

Where American Vampire had these panels that looked empty and required only a glance, every panel managed to look substantial, without getting crowded by dialogue bubbles. The Flash manages to convey more information in 3 panels on a page than American Vampire does in 10 panels on two pages.

from Flash #6, by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

Here's an example of the colors I was talking about. Look at how Flash's costume lining, normally yellow, turns bright blue in Captain Cold's presence, because he's slowing down the Flash's molecules. It's a wonderful detail.

Look at the dialogue too: Flash is stuck on why Captain Cold changed his powers, but Captain Cold answers quickly, "Don't need 'em!" He isn't concerned about the past, because it's not going to help him: he wants to move forward, and that's the tone that the creative team's been taking this entire time. They're interested in telling new, exciting stories with old characters, and they're interested in pushing the medium to do it. The script itself for this issue is nothing innovating, but these guys can only improve, and I look forward to that every month.

cover by Rob GuilloryChew #24
by John Layman and Rob Guillory

I don't have to read comic books. I could go play Wii with my friends, or talk to people on Facebook or, heaven forbid, exercise. I could even read more about Daredevil online, instead of picking up Daredevil the title.

But I choose to read comic books. I choose to spend my time every week to look at the weekly issues, and I even choose to talk about them online, because comic books have two things that nothing else offers. They offer a serial experience, and a visual experience, and this comic book in particular nails both of them. Visually, Guillory brings an attention to detail that nobody rivals. Every panel has life to it, and rewards the reader who takes the time. The first scene, at the butter sculpture competition is full of these small details, like a Paula Deen banner and an Eiffel Tower made out of butter.

Serially, this is the ideal comic book issue. The story itself is self-contained and we get a full story from page 1 to 20. But, when you read it in the larger context of the storyarc, it brings new depth to the story. When I put this in my comic book pile, I'm going to organize my issues of Chew, and I'm going to re-read those issues one after another, and it's going to be awesome.

If you haven't heard of Chew yet, get your bad self over to the first free issue at comixology. Tell 'em Kevin sent you.

If you have heard of Chew and you did purchase this issue, go to the letters section. Do you recognize a certain Kevin Tam in there?

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