Staff Picks – Week of 08/05/2019

The Flash #70 Josh Williamson (w), David Lopez & Howard Porter (a)
DC Comics

Scott says: Flash: Year One is upon us and, in true Barry Allen fashion, it speedily went from ‘ok maybe this’ll be good’ to ‘daaaaaamn that was great’ in my estimations. ‘Year One’ is a treatment that’s been given to a spread of DC characters at this point, and while Barry’s first twelve months at the helm may not be as revelatory as Master Wayne’s was, it’s set up to be a blisteringly fast and fun run through Barry’s past, with a healthy dose of continuity tweaks and new vantage points to boot.

What I enjoyed so much about this issue is, unsurprisingly, it’s pace. Porter’s art does wonders to maintain a constant tone of speed and being hurried, while Williamson’s script reflects the same – Barry’s late to a crime scene and we as the reader feel it, with all dialogue in the moment short, sharp and impatient.

If you didn’t get a chance to swing by the store and grab a copy of the first issue, make sure you don’t miss out on the next. This isn’t a trade-waiter, that’s for sure.

The Magic Order TPB
Mark Millar (w), Olivier Coipel (a)
Image Comics

Paul says: Magic Order is the first series to spring out of Netflix’s Millarworld purchase last year. As such it’s a resoundingly commercial book with a high-concept idea at it’s core, written by an oft-controversial creator. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s always been a strong commercial sense in Millar’s books, something for which he (rightly or wrongly) takes a lot of flack for. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with knowing where your audience is and what they like to see. This, however, avoids the usual pitfalls of a Millarworld book. It isn’t overly salacious or melodramatic. It doesn’t contain an abundance of sex and violence. When you get down to it, the threat isn’t even that world-threatening. What it is, is a story about family dysfunction and how judgements of character made about children can bleed out across generations and effect those children into adulthood.

Millar, through some smart writing and with the aid of some beautifully atmospheric art by Copiel and evocative colours by the incomparable Dave Stewart, gives us an entirely believable ‘Otherworld’ where magic is used to protect the world and control of that magic is in the hands of one benevolent family. Unluckily for us, someone else wants to run the show, more because they feel there’s scores to settle than because they want to be boss. It’s Sopranos meets J.K. Rowling, make no mistake. The book is lovingly done with plenty of scope for more tales, despite it’s closed loop ending. That’s the thing I like most about Millar when he’s on: not the ability destroy worlds but to build them.