It’s the last day of April, and I didn’t cover as much of Warren Ellis as I had planned, so here’s a quick look at some of the comics I didn’t get around to talking about.
Anna Mercury: This series is early in its run, with a lot of potential for fun stories and exciting settings. It centers around England’s task force for exploring the multi-verse, but instead of infinite earths, the alternate universes are small fractions of a world (the first example is just a pair of countries). The best part is the title character, Anna. Ellis and artist Facundo Percio do a great job of portraying a real adrenaline junkie, the kind of hero who is out of place in the real world. Anna shines in her life-threatening job, dressing up like a sexy caricature and throwing herself into danger. Outside, in the real world, she is Anne Marie Britton. Her life is made up of boring, almost unbearable segments of normalcy between action-packed attempts to save entire worlds.
Planetary: Ten years after it started, Planetary finally finished late last year at issue #27. It takes place in the Wildstorm universe, telling the stories of a company dedicated to keeping earth free from tyranny, but not free from chaos. A lot of the characters are Wildstorm re-imaginings of classic comic heroes and villains. Some are interesting takes on the characters (the evil Fantastic Four are especially brilliant), some seem exploitative (like the Constantine and Nick Fury copies). Planetary hits its stride a little late, but once it does it’s a really fun read. John Cassaday’s art is brilliant, full of exquisite detail and gorgeous sets.
Ministry of Space: A three issue mini-series showing an alternate history following WWII if Great Britain had arranged to be the world power, built primarily on their space program. Ellis shows what are, in his opinion, the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional British mindset.
Aetheric Mechanics: This black and white graphic novel is essentially just a copy of Sherlock Holmes in a fictional England set upon by it’s neighbors in a war of powerful machines.
Wrapping up, I strongly suggest anyone looking for new comics pick up the following:
Graphic novel – Black Summer
Ongoing series (still new enough to get into now!) – Gravel and Anna Mercury
Free long-form webcomic (updated weekly) – FreakAngels
And in closing, here is a speech Ellis gave about comics.