Welcome everyone to the only comic book column read by my mother, The Comic Roundup. This week we check out the first issues of a couple new series, Madness of Wonderland from Zenescope and Justice League of America from DC. Then we return to one of my favorite worlds of all time in The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths volume 2 from Archaia.
The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths volume 2
By Brian Froud, Joshua Dysart and Alex Sheikman
As with most Gen Xers, I have had a lifelong love affair with Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. I remember being incredibly impressed and moved by the movie, and very disappointed when the credits began to roll. Now, too many years later, we are finally getting new Dark Crystal stories, thanks to Archaia and the man who did the art direction for the film, Brian Froud.
In volume 2 of Creation Myths, we get transported to a thousand years before the time of the movie. The reader gets to see how the Crystal cracked, what caused the separation of the race that became the Mystics and the Skeksis and what the world was like before darkness fell. Unlike volume one, this is a single epic story masterfully told by Dysart and Sheikman with guidance and designs from Froud. Together they tell the tale with a grandeur and epic scope befitting a graphic novel bearing the name The Dark Crystal.
As you read you can almost picture what it would look like on the big screen, with Henson and his puppeteers bringing it to cinematic life.
The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths volume 2 is wonderful achievement that would make Jim Henson proud. Archaia continues to impress me and I think the Dark Crystal is in good hands for the foreseeable future.
Justice League of America #1
By Geoff Johns and David Finch
Amidst much hype and many variant covers arrives the new Justice League of America book from DC Comics. Written by Johns, the architect of everything New 52 and drawn by Finch, fresh of a well received run on Batman: The Dark Knight, you would think this would be a can’t miss title. And except for a lack of action or actual story, you would be right.
I want to do things a bit backwards here and touch on the art first, which is just stunning. Finch puts Jim Lee to shame with his rendition of this new Justice League team. The art is highly detailed, full of energy and includes impeccable storytelling. I would buy this comic for the art alone if I were being honest. Where the book falls flat is the plot and story itself, of which Johns gives us very, very little. The first issue serves to introduce the new team, serves up some foreshadowing about the upcoming Trinity War and not much else. It practically screams “Want the full story? Wait until our next big crossover!” It makes the book feel like a placeholder for something else coming along later.
Despite a so-so first issue, I’m not going to write the series off yet. If anyone can make the series better as it goes along, it’s Geoff Johns and as I said, I would come back for the Finch artwork anyway. So maybe wait for the trade here and give the floppies a pass for now.
Madness of Wonderland #1 (of 4)
By Dan Wickline and Sebastian Cichon
It would seem that Zenescope’s Wonderland is the gift that keeps on giving. In addition to the very enjoyable monthly title, we are now getting another does of Dan Wickline’s own twisted version of Wonderland in the follow up to his surprisingly good Call of Wonderland miniseries.
In Madness of Wonderland, we follow Detective Legrasee as she continues working on solving the murders from the first miniseries. In addition, we also get more from the journal of H.P. Lovecraft and his own bizarre relationship with Wonderland.
Wickline picks up the story beats like there was no break between this series and the last. He does a nice job crafting a back-story for Legrasse, who was just a bit player in Call of Wonderland, as well as tying in the main Wonderland protagonists, the Liddle family. The book moves at a suitably creepy pace with just enough hints of what might be coming to keep you on the edge of your seat. Cichon is a new name to me and a name I haven’t seen on a Zenescope book before. His style is a bit exaggerated and cartoony in a Sam Keith kind of way, but it works beautifully here. I can only hope he will be around for the rest of the miniseries.
Madness of Wonderland looks to be a fun, strong follow-up to Call of Wonderland that can stand apart from the main series. Wickline is doing some great work on the book and you shouldn’t miss it.