By Molly Jane Kremer, Brandy Dykhuizen, and Jarrod Jones. Our Week In Review collects our thoughts on the comics that demand attention. Do you have a deep-rooted desire to know what we think about all your favorite books? Well. This is where you need to be.
Dreaming Eagles #3
Written by Garth Ennis.
Art by Simon Coleby; colors by John Kalisz.
Letters by Rob Steen.
BD: War necessitates a mission-driven single mindedness in order to execute orders amidst endless and life-threatening peril. Having never experienced altercations more dire than a bar fight, Reggie’s son is a little surprised to learn that his father didn’t immediately consider the life of a pilot he shot out of the skies over Europe years and years ago. “All it meant was that I had done what I’d come there to do,” Reggie explains.
We then realize that for the Tuskegee Airmen, not only did that mean fulfilling all the duties of combat, but proving said duties could be fulfilled in the shoddy, leftover equipment the US Army Air Corps provided the African American units in the years between 1940 and 1952.
While engaging in aerial sparring to protect the Allies’ freedom from the Axis Powers, the Tuskegee Airmen were also fighting against powers within their own government, men who had actively attempted to stifle their progress. “Black men fought in the Civil War… in the Plains Wars… in World War One. But every time the shooting stopped, we went back to where we started, and the lesson had to be learned all over again.”
The lessons in racial diversity remain sharp and well arranged, but the diversity of scene and dialogue wanes a bit in comparison with the previous two issues. Regardless, I look forward to seeing Simon Coleby’s rendition of the P-51 Mustangs, hinted at in the last lines of this book (and the cover preview). We’ve seen just how beautiful this team of Ennis, Coleby and Kalisz can make a dogfight look, and there’s a thrill that comes with knowing the Tuskegee Airmen are poised to spit fire over Italy any day now.
6.5 out of 10
Written by Steve Orlando.
Art by Aco and Hugo Petrus; Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters by Tom Napolitano.
JJ: I don’t pretend to know why certain buttons get pushed over at DC Comics, but whoever made the call that Midnighter should get the axe just before Rebirth should know they screwed up. Consider the year of 2036: there will come a day when the whole lot of us look back on the tumultuous era between 2011 and 2016 with a tear in our eye as we reflect on a time when DC couldn’t decide what kind of publisher it wanted to be. We’ll undoubtedly cite the woefully short run of Steve Orlando and Aco’s Midnighter as our greatest collective regret. It’s true — this marvelous run is coming to a close, but it’s anyone’s guess as to why.
Midnighter #10, much like the nine issues that precede it, is an exercise in comic book bliss. The wicked alchemy between Orlando and the enigmatic Aco — who, by the way, is easily in everyone’s Top 5 Personal Favorite Artists lists, just ask anybody — is on full display here, as is the nigh-seamless inclusion of pinch-hitter Hugo Petrus (whose uncanny ability to adapt to the book’s unique sequentials should be enough to warrant a raise for his page rate). Glaze over the credits scroll on page two and read through the book unaware of who illustrated what page, and realize that you can scarcely tell the difference. What you’re witnessing — it’s not “synergy”, or any other dusty buzzword you can conjure up. The work shared by Petrus and Aco is nothing more than pure distilled artistic harmony, placed lovingly onto the comics page.
And you’ll be happy to know that Steve Orlando’s signature wit scorches every inch of our meted expectations. As his work continues to set the DCU ablaze, the entirety of the comics community have nestled back into their theater seats with rapt attention, a cocked eyebrow fixed as we scratch our chins in full view of his performance. Steve Orlando will go on to do great things for DC, provided they are wise enough to do what is necessary to keep him. But really, the only book I want him to be writing right now is Midnighter. So as we step towards Midnighter‘s finale, you would be well advised to join the rest of us as we get while the gettin’s good.
8.5 out of 10
Sheriff of Babylon #4
Written by Tom King.
Art by Mitch Gerads.
Letters by Travis Lanham.
MJ: With every successive issue of Sheriff of Babylon, I grow even more impressed by it. The balance of an increasingly compelling storytelling with complex, nuanced characterizations… well. That’s a difficult thing to perpetually manage, seeing as each issue is so perfectly constructed in itself.
This week’s fourth issue discovers ever-increasing depths in Sofia/Saffiya, Nassir, and even his wife, Fatima. I’m incredibly intrigued by Saffiya’s development, as a female character with this much complexity (and fierce but understated determination), isn’t exactly common in comics — or, let’s be honest, in most media in general. Writer Tom King clearly isn’t afraid to take her to dark places, yet her unmitigated strength and resolve remains.
The comic opens with Sofia explaining her true name – Saffiya – and her namesake, a princess and wife of Muhammed. Artist Mitch Gerads switches his art style for these three pages, from his typical gritty detail and sandy palette to soft pastels and shimmering stars, lending a fairy tale lyricism to the story (despite its inclusion of beheadings and domestic abuse). A later page, of Saffiya in disquiet rumination, shows her in a darkened room lit by shafts of the hazy half-light of afternoon, which showcases Gerads’ subtly beautiful talents as a colorist on top of his prodigious penciling skills. Sheriff of Babylon is well on its way to joining the shortlist of Vertigo’s best; and for a publisher that’s made the likes of Sandman, Scalped, and Preacher, that is high praise indeed.
9 out of 10
Agree? Disagree? What books are YOU reading this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.