And now one last quick hit to finish off the backlog of comics, with those that were definitely not forgettable.
- Ed Brubaker’s Criminal, vol. 2: Lawless is a stand-alone gritty, dark crime story. I don’t like gritty, dark crime stories, but I liked this one, which probably means it’s excellent. Brubaker is a very good writer at his best, and entirely wasted writing stupid fake deaths for superheroes.
- C.B. Cebulski’s X-Men: Fairy Tales and Spider-Man: Fairy Tales take traditional fairy tales and re-tell them with characters from the eponymous superhero books. This seems like it could be cheesy and lame, and indeed it could; but it’s not. The quality of the stories is a little uneven, but it averages out pretty high, and the ones that really hit read more like Gaiman doing Marvel than Gaiman doing Marvel actually did. The art on these is also superb, with wildly different (and appropriate) styles for each story. Highly recommended to fans of alternate takes on superheroes.
- Finally, Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, vol. 1: The Long Way Home is the first volume of Whedon’s official continuation of the show past its televised conclusion. This could have been disastrous, because the end of the show was very much an end, and it’d be very difficult to go back to the sort of stuff that the show was doing. But Whedon is a super-genius for a reason, and he doesn’t even try: He takes the conclusion of the show and runs with it, writing something that’s recognizably Buffy, but radically different from what was on TV. (You get the sense that he’s also reveling in the freedom from budgetary and production constraints, putting in things that would have been completely impossible to do on a TV budget.) Essential reading for any Buffy fan who’s not allergic to comics or change.