(Rebecca Donner/Inaki Miranda; DC/Minx):
Danni and her mother have moved in with her mother's alcoholic and borderline abusive boyfriend after the disappearance of Danni's father -- apparently, he just deserted them. Danni winds up falling in love with Haskell, her sort-of stepbrother, and getting involved in his brand of radical ecological activism. Becoming involved with Haskell means that Danni winds up having to make a lot of tough decisions about her actions and bearing the consequences of them.Gemini
Honestly, I think this is the first Minx title where I can say that the issue is that I'm absolutely not the target audience, even though I've liked other Minx books, sometimes quite a lot. Donner's writing isn't at all bad, and Miranda's artwork works well with the story. But it took me three times to get through it, despite its brevity. Part of the issue is that because of the different things she's been going through, and the terribly awkward living situation, Danni's personality comes across as very muted, despite being the first-person narrator. For that matter, for all that he's a radical ecoterrorist of sorts, Haskell comes across as surly and quiet, and not actually there all that much. Danni's mother, aside from making one bad decision after another, is barely there. To be sure, much of this is the result of Hank's verbal and near-physical abuse of Danni's mother and of Haskell; one of the things you learn about being around an abusive person is to be as quiet and withdrawn as possible, because you never know what will set them off. But that means that everyone in the story, aside from Danni's best friend, feels terribly buttoned-down a lot of the time.
I don't know ... I think overall, this story just wasn't to my taste, so I can't really rate it.
2 of 5 (Faerber/Sommariva/Plascencia; Image): ...Yeah. I'm guessing, given the events that occur in issue 2, that perhaps issue 3 is where they explain the concept, and why anyone would do such a damnfool thing as these people are doing, because at the moment, this makes less than no sense. Why in the name of sanity would you want to run a superhero like a machine, and wipe his memory of his civilian life when he's in costume, and vice versa when he's not? Yes, it would have the benefit of not allowing them to betray any knowledge of each other, but the way this story has been put together, Dan seems not to have chosen to be a superhero. The science nerds who are running the show picked him, so he's putting his life in danger entirely without his knowledge or consent. Moreover, Dan's control circuits were in his contact lenses, without any backup, so when, say, one's head gets blown off, and one's regenerative powers cause it to grow back (...yeah, that's another handwave moment there), and he no longer has contacts, you have to find another way to control him. There's no redundancy in the system that's actually connected to Dan, for some reason. So then you send in another one of your controlled superheroes, whom no other superhero in the city knows
, and, well, Very Bad Things happen. And then it turns out that Dan's former control agent, who was fired because she started having issues of various sorts with what they were doing, is out and running around with full knowledge of everything in her head. She wasn't killed, doesn't seem to have been mindwiped, and has the ability to throw a wrench in the works. Seriously, at this point, there is no level on which this series makes sense, which is a pity, becausse it's kind of ... weirdly cool throughout much of it. With the exception of those (many) moments where the concept intrudes forcefully into the storytelling in awkward ways, it's an interesting superhero/mad science story. The fairly stylized artwork is really a perfect match. But the concept, so far, it sucks the bilge water. (I'm guessing that when the concept is explained, when they have to tell the newbie why they're doing what they're doing, it's going to shake out basically as "Because we could." I can't conceive of any sensible reason why even vaguely ethical people would do what they're doing, but I hope Faerber can.)Pilot Season: Genius
(Bernardin/Freeman/Afua Richardson; Top Cow):
Imagine a balkanized and divided Los Angeles, in which the people don't really trust the police, and vice versa. (Or don't; that's pretty much the situation in the city today.) Imagine that gang warfare suddenly seems to be becoming ... oddly organized. Against the police. That's the setup for Genius, from the writers of last year's Monster Attack Network and Highwaymen. Destiny, a young black woman, has organized the gangs in and around her Compton neighborhood into a very good, appallingly strong paramilitary force. Something specific -- we don't quite know what just yet -- happened to make her decide that their neighborhood would be better with them maintaining control than with the apparently corrupt police. So she and her people kill off a few police and send one back to give headquarters the message.Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian
In the meantime, inside HQ, Detective Reginald Grey has been putting together the clues and realizing that there's a "Suspect Zero", someone controlling all the action, someone setting up the LAPD to take a fall. Of course, nobody at HQ quite believes him -- after all, nothing like that's happened before now, so why should they believe that things have changed so drastically? Except then the cop that Destiny didn't kill gets back to HQ and lets them know that, in fact, the map has changed dramatically.
Bernardin and Freeman convey the situation and characers very well in the limited space they've got. Richardson's art at first seemed a bit stylized for the story but ... it really does work. All the characters are easy to distinguish, and it keeps the story from looking quite like the grim trip that it's likely to be. Tonally, the closest things to it I can think of are Walking Dead and Rex; the former because of the way it deals with people driven to doing difficult things that they otherwise would never consider, the latter because of the gritty and dark way it deals with the police and official corruption and people taking the law into their hands after they've been pushed Just That One Step too far.
I really hope this title is one that survives Pilot Season to become a continuing title. I'd really like to see more of this one. The one thing that I think might give it problems in the voting is that it is in no way, shape, or form, a superhero story, and I wonder if maybe that's all that people are expecting from Pilot Season. I hope they're expecting more than just that. Highly Recommended.
(Hickman/Reza; Top Cow): Twilight Guardian
, I suspect, is going to have a much tougher time than Genius
in the voting. The story follows a young woman who, because of various difficult events in her past that we really only see the edges of, decides to become the superhero the world clearly needs. Only ... she's just a regular person, as far as we can tell. No particular powers or special abilities, just a decided lack of certain aspects of sanity. It's somewhat like Millar's Kick-Ass
, only the Guardian herself comes off as somehow more reasonable and sane that Kick-Ass (and considerably less pummeled by the end of the first issue). It's not really that nothing happens in the issue -- although it is more about introducing the character than anything else -- but it's not jam packed and full of action, and I think that might hurt it against titles that are more conventionally busy, like Genius
or Lady Pendragon
(the other Pilot Season titles published to date this year). Reza's artwork is perfectly serviceable, helping tell the story without drawing attention to itself per se. Recommended.