Here are the best books I read from my tfaw box this month:
Generation Hope #9 (writer: Kieron Gillen, art: Jamie McKelvie, colors: Jim Charalampidis, with cover art by Slavador Espin) is the title that I am citing from this month’s serials.
I’m glad to have been pulling this title from the beginning. Hope’s mission brings the X-Men back to their roots, finding and helping young people come to terms with who they are and what they can do. This issue shows the urgency in that task in a particularly poignant way, but where the stakes are more individual and personal than epic. The dorm room conversation before everything goes wrong is perfectly scripted as a lead-in to the demise of the young mutant and its aftermath. The ending with Kenji and Logan provided the right kind of emotional payoff to a story that is nicely self-contained, while also drawing on X-history and character history in a meaningful, and not pedantic, way.
McKelvie’s character designs also help to tell the story. His English university students look fresh, modern, and youthful, just right for the dialogue and for the way the story plays out. The series of panels where Laurie/Transonic takes off from the air are striking, particularly the way that she is made to look like a bird-shaped missile. While I read comics in part for serialized narrative, I also appreciate when someone can turn out a great story that stands on its own, and this issue is a prime example of a one-off that works well, both on its own and as part of the series as a whole.
In trades, I am still working on Finder, but I did make time to read a few other books, including Batgirl: The Flood (writer: Bryan Q. Miller, pencils: Lee Garbett and Pere Perez, colors: Guy Major, inks: Jonathan Glapion et al). I’ve had this collection for awhile, and had been avoiding it because, at this point, reading the current Batgirl is like watching a TV show that has been canceled before anyone really thinks it should have been. Whatever investment you have in the characters and the narrative is going to be if not wasted, then unfulfilled.
That aside, this book is still, above all, fun to read. I also like the scale of the storytelling, which is more about everyday crime and craziness than world-ending doom. The final chapter here, where Stephanie and Kara have a night on the town that goes wrong, encapsulates the energy and best qualities of the series: sharp dialogue, witty asides, a good nature, and action-packed. I assume I can look forward to one more collection before having to say good-bye, but these books will be on my shelf for a long time, and I hope that A gets around to discovering them.