Overall, the Revolution has not been kind to many of the works of certain writers. I wanted to focus partially today on two kudos for two writers who don’t see a lot of that around here. It is easier and often more entertaining to complain or be critical, but when we see good work here at the Revolution, we like to give credit where credit is due.* So without further ado…
Matt Fraction’s Uncanny X:Men Annual #2 (Dark Reign) is a great bit of writing. Namor exudes, through words and action, the leadership and toughness we expect from him, along with cool egotism that somehow makes Sue Richards weak in knees.
Without knowing Marvel continuity in painstaking detail, I will say that Namor acted completely in character. And Emma’s actions throughout the book not only fit well with her leaning at different times, but Fraction helps explain the flow of Emma’s decisions and actions in a way that doesn’t scream exposition.
Fraction is nobly assisted by some excellent artwork, but it just helps to accent a well crafted story.
Backing into this story in one of the main titles would have been accomplished in a few pages, but this is one occasion (and Annuals are a great place to do this) where going back and laying it all out to bring readers up to speed (or refresh their memories) enhanced the title in general and made for a good read. It even manages to make Dark Reign more interesting to me, knowing that Emma Frost may still be on the side of the angels (as much as that happens in the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe).
Judd Winick has been hit and miss for me for a long time. I like what he did in Green Lantern, while I was not happy with his Green Arrow. I liked what he did in The Outsiders, while I did not like what he is currently doing with The Titans.
Looking back, it has always been more about what stories he has to tell that I had issue with than how he tells them. The way he wrote Kyle Rayner was especially full of honest emotions and solid character work.
If I had only had read Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned before, I would not have been surprised. Winick tells the story so well I hesitate to even try to summarize it, so I will focus instead on how he tells it.
It is in black and white, yet through his words and art he is able to express a depth of emotion and an identification with the characters that makes it difficult to keep a dry eye. Winick masterfully weaves in the things of life: humor, sadness, fear, courage, loss and meaning, without it become heavy, preachy, or trivial. I know that I am a latecomer to this story, that it was Eisner nominated and industry greats have praised it. Better late than never.
One last bit of credit to go out to comic book creators of all stripes. With rare exception, the fact that we are commenting on your comic book here means that you are already good at your work. We read mostly mainstream comics, and to even get hired to work on them is major league.
Whether we as readers agree with your choices, see the characters the same way, or maybe place more importance to previous stories than your editors would like, it is hard to deny that you are skilled creators trying to catch the elusive lightning in a bottle.
Deadlines, rewrites, editorial mandates and even bad days cannot take away from the fact that we respect creators well enough to keep coming back to see if you catch the lightning this month. So by all means, keep trying.
*The Revolution’s opinions are by no means monolithic. While the three of us do have some overlapping tastes, there is a lot of room for disagreement. We put my name on the column just to point that out. Rokk especially likes to differ with me, if not on the generalities, than certainly on the specifics.