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Panels #4: Monsters and Hunter Clans

This week I will be making two articles of Panels, a main one (you’re reading it) and another “mini-panel” with short stories for Halloween that I found or were recommended by friends and readers. Let’s get this done!

Note: near the end of this article I go on a rant about Grant Morrison’s new comic, because it’s simply way more than just the pages that come with that book. I invite you to stick with it and read it to the end, and please excuse me for making this post longer than it should’ve been. I’ll try to keep it shorter or at least put that extra fat on a separate article. Thanks for reading!

Goners #1

Panels #4: Monsters and Hunter Clans
©Image – Goners #1

Writer: Jacob Semahn
Art: Jorge Corona

The Latimer Family has protected mankind from the supernatural horrors of the world for centuries, but this isn’t the story about how the clan of monster hunters came to be, or about how they vanquish evil on a daily basis — no — this is the story about how the clan meets its end.

Jacob Semahn writes and Jorge Corona illustrates in this tale that plows through exposition and doesn’t waste time before showing its teeth. No, it’s not that much of an original setup: the expert hunter parents die and their kids must survive to the onslaught of family enemies while trying to figure out who framed them; yes, there’s a lot of predictable dialogue which is a bit forced, but that doesn’t make it a boring trip in the least.

The end of the first issue gives us enough clues to see something interesting looming in the horizon and the art is eerily sweet.

So: Yes. I grew up with The Goonies and Monster Squad, where the most courageous heroes were also the least likely to survive at the beginning of the adventure. Goners #1 seems cut out of the same cloth as these films and just for that I’ll keep reading to find out what happens.

Magneto #2

Panels #4: Monsters and Hunter Clans
©Marvel – Magneto #2

Writter: Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Gabriel Hernández Walta
Colors: Jordie Bellaire

The old shave-headed mutant is following the lead left at the end of last issue, trying to find the origin of that human sentinel hybrid that tried to end him. His investigation takes him to a camp full of homeless people and as expected, trouble isn’t too far behind, in spite of being 10 steps ahead of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This book keeps kicking ass because I see “Max” as a very reflexive character who is winning me over with his diatribes about the decisions he’s made and how “doing the right thing sometimes turns us into monsters”. The end of the book is pretty violent, although the way our anti-hero usually “solves” conflicts is a bit funny to me because of how exaggerated it is. Aside from that the ending of this issue isn’t as impactful as last week’s, but I’m sure it’s a decision made to build more tension towards a big release in the future.

So: Yes. I keep loving how the creative team portrays Magneto’s powers in this book. It’s brutal, merciless and totally entertaining.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Angela

Panels #4: Monsters and Hunter Clans
©Marvel – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Angela

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Sara Pichelli y Francesco Francavilla
Colors: Sara Pichelli

The whole arc that follows the first volume of Guardians of the Galaxy focuses on Angela, a warrior hailing from a place called Heven, who has no recollection of who she is or what her purpose on this book is other than stealing the spotlight away from the title heroes and starting random fights that don’t concern her.

Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that the warrior princess is a new character to the Marvel U that used to belong in Spawn comics. Yes, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. There was a lawsuit between McFarlane and the character’s co-creator, Neil Gaiman, which ended with the latter winning and taking the character to Marvel before selling all the rights to the company. Now we have a 6-issue arc where nothing happens except that Angela gets there, fights the guardians, then makes up with the guardians and fights alongside the guardians.

It’s just a bunch of filler and shows why the film version of these characters is way more fun and attractive than anything else they’d done in the comics up to this point, in spite of having the dynamite team of Bendis, Gaiman and Pichelli involved.

So: No. Fool me once, blame’s on you. Fool me twice… I’m done.

The Multiversity #3 – The Just #1

Panels #4: Monsters and Hunter Clans
©DC Comics – The Multiversity #3 – The Just #1

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Ben Oliver

Well, damn. Grant Morrison is messing with my mind and he’ll surely play with yours too in this comic to which I walked in merrily without a clue of what I was getting into. You see, The Just is the third of eight one-shots that tie the same story in different continuities (read: different, parallel Earths with their own versions of the heroes we know and love) and each of these one-shots is in turn a possible springboard to a dedicated series devoted to the adventures of the heroes in each one-shot.

Still with me? Ok.

I had to spend at least 3 hours going through Wikis in order to continue this part of the post because of all the context I wanted to see. The easter eggs, references and allusions to other Morrison work that this number of the greater Multiversity makes. It really is a heavy book, but it’s got so many brutally entertaining stops that it’s hard not to recommend it specially if you’re a fan and/or have been following the whole thing since it started last August.

The title of this episode is called “Earth-ME” and it deals with Earth-16 (my favorite number!) which is one of the aforementioned 52 parallel universes that compose what DC calls the New 52. In this version of Earth, the sons and daughters of the heroes we know live in a world where supernatural threats have been vanquished by their parents and the few that do come up are dealt with by drones that Superman left before he died to protect the planet. This leaves a bunch of super kids who are seen by the normal world as celebrities by heritage of the great deeds their parent’s did.

Bored and without an excuse to use all the power they have, the new generation of pampered super-teens is a direct parallel to the public perception some have of the millennials, living with illusions of greatness and absorbed in the need to live with their heads stuck to their smartphones, sharing their personal hyper-realities which have left them desensitized to things like death. en a world where these kids have grown with everything, but haven’t earned anything, where superpowers no longer impress people, what can they do when a threat that could end their world presents itself?

The theme is interesting in and of itself, but the relationships between the characters is what really cements my interest for the plot. It’s very rare to see a cover of a comic made to look like it was done by a Tiger Beat designer, because when you start the book you make all these gossipy questions. Damian Wayne is dating Lex Luthor’s daughter? Batman girlfriend’s dad was the one who killed Superman, his best friend’s dad? Etc. etc.

Behind all of that is a plot that’s been in development since Multiversity #1 with several characters who appear in a comic that the kids read in the comic. It’s pretty meta and sorry that this review is pushing for the long haul, but this is a comic book I’d love to talk with someone about in a podcast or something. It’s very interesting to see what Morrison wants to do here and it would be a waste not to try and at least begin a conversation on the idea. /rant

So: Yes. It took me an hour to finish this book, not because it was lengthy in page count, but because it’s pretty heavy subject matter that’s gripping and I have to read each panel several times sometimes. Ben Oliver’s art sure helps too, because it gives the whole thing an air of realism and aesthetic beauty that matches the cover on the stand. Nobody looks bad here, not even the characters meant to be clowns. I don’t know if I’ll read the rest of the Multiversity (word is there’s a Cameron Stewart issue on the way), but if this particular Earth gets a serial, I’m totally down for it.

Panels is a weekly column where I talk about one or three comic books I’m reading and why I love them or want to burn them. Read the archive here.