Thursday Comics Hangover: Ants and giants win a miserable week

Maybe I was just in a bad mood or something, but I didn't find much enjoyment in the comics I bought yesterday. The new issue of Godzilla in Hell is a total bust — a real downer of a serious, clunky monster comic after last issue’s greatness. The 28th issue of Astro City continues a depressing trend with that series; what began as commentary on superheroes has basically become a boring superhero anthology comic. Warren Ellis’s first issue of Karnak feels like the same mainstream Warren Ellis we’ve seen a million times before: some edgy torture and a few lines of absurd, self-aware dialogue. The art by Gerardo Zaffino looks pretty cool at first, until some action happens and you realize you can’t tell what the hell is going on. (If you can explain what Karnak does to the bullet that’s fired at him in a scene late in the book, I’d love to hear it. All Zaffino drew was a blurry finger and some speed lines. I have no idea what was supposed to have happened there.)

It wasn’t all terrible. I enjoyed the first issue of The Astonishing Ant-Man by Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas. Spencer is writing the most fun mainstream superhero comics in the business right now, and his word-heavy comics are a delight. It takes time to read an issue of a Spencer comic, as opposed to the breezy “widescreen” approach that Ellis has been taking for a while now. But I’m a little annoyed to be getting another first issue of a comic that launched with a first issue in January of this year. I suppose this relaunch technique is supposed to attract new readers, but it just feels like the story lurched into a bad gear for a moment before correcting itself. It's an unwelcome stutter in an otherwise very funny, very big-hearted comic.

Luckily, my week was saved by the seventh issue of John Allison and Max Sarin’s Giant Days. Every issue of this comic, about three young women becoming fast friends at college, is better than the one before. You don’t have to have read the rest of the series to understand what’s going on in this issue: Esther took a class on the New Testament as a joke, but now she’s in danger of failing; Susan has engaged in a torrid, secret love affair that finds her buying condoms three boxes at a time; and Daisy is busy worrying about everyone else all the time. Allison’s script is simple and funny and character-based. Sarin’s art is cartoony and expressionistic. It’s the most enjoyable comic of the week, and the only clear-cut win in a week full of disappointments. All the bluster and sameness of the new books this week felt like silly kids' stuff when compared to this humor comic about life in college. It's sure to be a high point in your week, too.