Nonplayer #1 and Fear Itself #1 [At the Mercy of The Crowd]

This is what I get for committing to a weekly blog feature. Life gets busy and I get inconsistent.

Between my new gig in Dark Horse editorial (Which is going really well, not to mention being extremely exciting. Watch out, comic fans, we got some good stuff coming down the pipe… and I helped it happen! Go team!), my new bike (Loads of fun and good for staying in shape. More on this later…), a family visit to see my grandma and just enough other assorted life stuff, it’s been a challenge to sit down and write a review of some new comics I recently read. Sorry about that.

And now, some quick reactions to recent new releases…

Nate Simpson’s Nonplayer has been the talk of the town in comics land, and for good reason. This comic is chock-full of beautiful and engaging art that’s crisp, fresh and instantly classic. The plot in this opening shot is equally intriguing and seems to be setting up two story lines: The real life of a young gamer in a futuristic world and that of her avatar in an immersive 3D gaming experience where, it seems, the NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) may be sentient. Between intense art duties and a tall-order script, Simpson has bitten off a lot with his first series. If he can chew it, this is gonna be a legendary comic.

Fellow DH assistant editor John Schork accidentally purchased two copies of Marvel’s new big event comic Fear Itself and kindly passed me his spare. I’m not as up-to-date on the major mover-and-shaker Marvel titles right now so I may not have fully appreciated every scene of this issue, but I enjoyed the setup of what seems to be a classic “Good versus Evil” event. Marvel’s take on gods—both Greek and Asgardian—has always interested me, though the rules in which they interact with humans have often seemed inconsistent. Between Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente sorting this out with the Greek pantheon and Matt Fraction taking the reigns of Asgard, not only do these gods seem to make more sense, but seeing how they affect Earth is all the more interesting as some strictures are now applied to this interaction. Having a classics degree and having studied tons of ancient Greek and Roman literature, I love seeing how similar situations play out in modern comic book universe. Anywho, Fraction and Stuart Immonen’s Fear Itself didn’t start with the literal or metaphorical explosion like Brian Bendis and Mark Millar’s recent Marvel events did, but I liked that change of pace and enjoyed the slow build this issue set up. It worked perfectly for a guy who isn’t too current on Marvel books of late and pulled me in. Now I want to know what’s next!

More At the Mercy of The Crowd coming soon!

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