Trouble with Comics, Daily Breakdowns 067 - Swinging & Coming

Daily Breakdowns 067 - Swinging & Coming

So, we’ve moved to another home, but we’re still TWC, more or less. I’ve just been plugging away, focused a lot lately on the floppy end of comics, though there’s some other stuff in the works, and a very cool event planned for April. As far as this Tumblr, thing, it will take some getting used to. I don’t know how to encode links, or add images, but we’ll figure it out. I mean, I just watched (through buckets of tears) Roger Ebert on Oprah, and he still writes wonderfully, so who’s complaining?

Captain Swing & the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #1
Writer - Warren Ellis
Artist - Raulo Caceres
Publisher - Avatar Press
Price - $3.99 USD

Ellis has got a good thing going with Avatar. He reads a lot and has trained his mind to be able to convert any scientific news or history into an action adventure with the addition of profanity, perverse violence and an outrageous, antiauthoritarian hero/ine. Some people train their minds to always be thinking in poesy, some may automatically calculate the body fat of any person they encounter. There are worse things. I haven’t read a lot of Ellis’ Avatar stuff the past couple years, mostly his one-shots. Rarely am I not entertained and amused, but they do often leave you wanting more. This one is off to a decent enough start, with artist Caceres drawing the shit out of 1830s London and Londoners, every sooty brick and curly forelock. He’s really going above and beyond on what is so far a pretty thin introduction to a kooky pirate flying around in an electrical boat.

Most of the issue is an infodump on how the law enforcement of the time was divided into the Metropolitan Police, called “Peelers” after the name of their boss, and often too drunk to be effective, and the Bow Street Runners, who were subcontracted by magistrates to stop thieves and other criminals, and who were mostly criminals themselves. Neither answered to the other. All this is interesting, but much of the exposition is not organically worked into the comics pages but rather as interspersed text pages made to look like an old journal, and which we learn later is written by Captain Swing himself. Why he feels the need to write this much about the cops is anyone’s guess, but it seems more just a matter of convenience for Ellis, and at least his interest in electricity and other scientific advances of the day seems more genuine, given that he figured out how to basically ride lightning. Probably works better in a complete arc chunk, but of course if Avatar published original graphic novels that would deprive them of the income from several dozen single issue variant covers.

X-Men: Second Coming Prepare
Writer - Mike Carey
Artist - Stuart Immonen
Publisher - Marvel Comics
Price - FREE

Clearly, the X-Men haven’t been gone, so the idea of a “second coming” is just a marketing idea. It’s not a bad one, though; I’m one of those who haven’t read any X-books in a few years and with all the titles going I didn’t know where to start. There’s not a whole lot to say about this. You’ll notice it’s free, and Marvel isn’t going to give much away for free. It’s a cute storytelling exercise, with various X-Men submitting to brief camcorder interviews, reacting to the return from the future of Cable and Hope Summers. It was too brief to really judge how well Carey writes the characters, but Immonen’s art sure is pretty. There’s also a tedious for me/useful for some explanation of the Phoenix Force with lots of panels from comics featuring Phoenix.

—Christopher Allen

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