Comic Book Mini Reviews: Grant Morrison’s 18 Days #1, Batman #42, No Mercy #4

This has been an interesting month for newer releases, and it seemed to make sense to go at 18 Days from Grant Morrison after his announcements, contradictory that they were, at San Diego Comic Con.  The issues that we have selected are a whole mix, from the mainstream DC superhero(probably as mainstream as there is in comics), to some that will be better for indie or mythology fans.

18 Days #1 (Grant Morrison, Graphic India)

This book is essentially the first of its type, and one that is likely to initiate a trend through international comic publishing.  Grant Morrison’s creative work is often tied to his well known occultism and Chaos Magick, which really breeds into the idea that he sees creativity as esoteric and myth traditions as a deep well from which to draw stories of all type from.  He has recently stated how concerned he is about superhero characters, which he writes as pantheist Gods, being too tied to the State inside the Big Two.  Through he did announce the Multiversity Too at SDCC 2015, he also announced that he wants to de-emphasize American superheros in general and was going to focus, for a time, on the folk stories of India.  Since he really does draw these traditions into all of his archetypal stories, from Batman to JLA, his work 18 Days is a more direct line to Indian Hindu myths with Krishna being a central character.  The first issue of 18 Days really is a lot of set-up, with mostly narration telling about an epic war growing.  There are not a great deal of characterization or dialogue introduced, but they are setting up something that seems to have a great deal of substance.  It is hard to discuss the story itself because there is little yet to translate over, but if you like Grant Morrison’s more cerebral work then this should be at the top of your list.  We personally are very drawn to the religious and mythological aspects of comics, and so we cannot recommend this book high enough.  Immediate add to our pull list!

Batman #42 (Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, DC Comics)

This is the second issue into the return of Batman after Convergence.  As most know (*Spoilers*), Bruce Wayne was killed when going after The Joker in Endgame and now Jim Gordon is trying to take up the mantel.  In this issue we see how the he is being adopted into State mechanisms by being accountable to the police force, but in general also finding it difficult to really bring the kind of physical thrust that Batman did.  These last two issues have not had the kind of draw that the previous arcs did, especially the first two or three arcs of the Snyder/Capullo run.  This feels a little antiquated as we saw, for so long, these stories about Batman dying and someone else trying to take up the roll.  Grant Morrison did this better in Batman & Robin, and this is the another kind of annoying attempt to redo a very well worn Batman story(Zero Year anyone?).  The end of the issue holds some promise, and of course the characters and art are as sharp as ever, but we are really hoping it takes a more interesting shift in coming issues.

No Mercy #4 (Alex de Campi and Carla Speed McNeil, Image Comics)

This series can correctly be labeled as one of the interesting books from the diversity of the Image Renaissance, this one focusing on a series of teens who are stranded in the Mexican desert as their school trip goes very wrong.  The camping out process is starting to wear thin for us, and the creators seem to know this, but it still was a bit of a long-shot to just keep them there another full issue.  Now that we are starting to see it open up with what appears to be a sort of “military-industrial complex” conspiracy angle, which feels both forced and boring.  This series started with an incredible first two issues, but the last two have been disappointing at best.  This is one to stick with at least through the first arc simply based on the strength of its start, but I hope it reclaims the sharp characters and visual stortelling that made its premiere so interesting.

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