Far from Riverdale: ‘Criminal – The Last of the Innocent’

Criminal Last of the InnocentEd Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal: The Last of the Innocent has been described as the most messed up “Archie” reimagining ever published, and that assessment is catnip for readers who frequent Riverdale. But this widely praised arc, trade Vol. 6 in the Criminal noir series, is much more than an exercise in taking beloved archetypes to hell. Brubaker and Phillips have crafted a harrowing portrait of unhappy adulthood and the longing for youth’s fleeting golden moments. Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Debuts and Curtain Calls

There’s nothing like a hefty Wednesday haul, especially when the books are as good as mine were this week. From a promising upstart to two venerable titles that took their bows, there’s quite a bit to cover. Here we go:

Better. Stronger. Faster.

The Bionic Man #1: Can a comic book based on a classic TV show withstand the white-hot expectations of readers full of nostalgia? Or will said nostalgia warp one’s view, resulting in an overly positive or negative response?

Though Dynamite’s new Bionic Man comic had me at “Oscar Goldman,” I still approached it with caution. Col. Steve Austin, astronaut, loomed so large in my childhood that I successfully lobbied my parents to buy me his doll – uh, action figure when I was 7 or 8. As I began reading, I thought of the great RuPaul’s advice to his drag competition contestants: Don’t *%$! it up.
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Comic Judgment: Marvel Edition

The pull list was pretty meager this week, but discovering Steve McNiven’s art made the drive to my LCS worth it. The lovely Zatanna is unrepresented here only because I overestimated the amount of cash I had on hand Wednesday. She’s coming home with me tomorrow, but here’s a brief, double Marvel rundown.

Captain America #2: By all accounts, longtime writer Ed Brubaker has done a masterful job with his Captain America stories. For people like me who are way late to the party, this freshly-launched volume is an excellent point of entry. As a man out of time, Steve Rogers is constantly confronted by ghosts. His former love and fellow soldier Peggy Carter has just been buried. He knew Jimmy Jankovicz as a boy who could cross dimensions and even touch people’s dreams, but Jimmy is now a catatonic, elderly man in a wheelchair. Continue reading