I’ve finished my chairing duties at Aye Write: it seems to have been a very successful festival. My highlight was the Comics Panel yesterday, with Denise Mina (whose Empathy is the Enemy and The Red Right Hand are absolutely fantastic: political, polemical, crackling with one-liners and a very sure grasp of the John Constantine character) and Bryan Talbot, author of Grandville and Alice in Sunderland. Talbot revealed that he has a whole series planned for Inspector le Brock, all with French titles. Grandville Mon Amour is up next, the Grandville Bete Noir, Grandville Noel and so on.
This week’s comic purchases were a bit of an odd selection: Morrison’s Batman and Robin was typically intricate and I’m very much warming to another of his new characters, Oberton Sexton the Gravedigger. Given the “death” of Bruce Wayne, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that Sexton will have a major role in unearthing the original Batman: and might even be BW himself. The other three were all team comics – Doom Patrol, R.E.B.E.L.S. and Secret Six. There was a nod to Mr Morrison in Doom Patrol with a reference to Danny the Street (from his acclaimed run on the title), and the comic nicely balanced the surrealism and mayhem I like in these characters (what is going on with the Negative Man and the Pelicans?) The Blackest Night tie-in for Secret Six impressed me so much I thought I’d follow it for a while – the queasy interchanges between Rag Doll and Black Alice are impressively eeurgh; Deadshot’s blasé witticisms and Bane’s attempts at leadership are deft. It’s certainly one I’ll continue to follow. Having loved the set up for the new R.E.B.E.L.S. arc, the conclusion seemed slightly bathetic. Bathos, handled well, can be a superb technique, and the idea that Starro (with his might of nine galaxies and Tamburlaine style egotism) would be defeated with a needle-prick should have worked better than it did. The fact that the Omega Men turned up in a deus ex machina manner rendered the whole “other” plot pretty otiose. Still, Dox is a great character, and his newly found power could play out well in the next arc.