“I’m hoping this all aligns exactly with my fanfic, Stan. If not, I will be very disappointed.” Gravity Falls does a lot with that line- points out the obsessive nature of fandom, lampshades Soos’ equally obsessive love of Stan- but it’s also a rather appropriate way to describe the challenge Gravity Falls’ writers must have faced when writing “A Tale of Two Stans.” “Not What He Seems” needed to properly set up the show’s biggest revelation so far in a way that would be satisfying to both those who’d guessed at it in advance and those who hadn’t; “A Tale of Two Stans” needs to elaborate on that reveal while meeting the same expectations, along with juggling the trials of exposition. It’s remarkable that it does so well in the face of those challenges, even if it feels like no episode of Gravity Falls before, especially in terms of its surprisingly serious nature.
|SAGA #30||IMAGE COMICS|
|ARTIST: FIONA STAPLES||WRITER: BRIAN K. VAUGHAN|
Not many books make it to thirty issues, independent or otherwise, and the ones who do can hardly ever expect the continuing success that Saga has. Over the weekend it won Best Continuing Series and Best Penciller/Inker (for Fiona Staples) at the Eisners, at a point in its run where many books are near-forgotten. With that said, it’s interesting to see how Saga #30 both completely changes the book’s game while returning other things to their roots.
|GOTHAM ACADEMY #8||DC COMICS|
|ARTIST: KARL KERSCHL||WRITERS: BECKY CLOONAN & BRENDEN FLETCHER|
|COLORISTS: SERGE LAPOINTE AND MICHELLE ASSARASAKORN||LETTERER: STEVE WANDS|
Tone is a hard thing to nail. It’s one of the most necessary parts of good fiction: if you can’t make a sad scene feel sad or a happy scene feel happy, then nobody will be able to get invested in what you’re creating. In many forms of fiction, nailing that tone is also a team effort. Bad acting can ruin what’s supposed to be the biggest moment in a film, for example. That’s how Gotham Academy #8’s greatest flaw kicks in. In the aftermath of Sybil Silverlock’s death, Karl Kerschl and colorists Serge LaPointe and Michelle Assarasakorn provide us a dreary, somber setting fitting for the funeral that occurs wherein. But that setting contradicts the lighter, more romance-focused story, which misuses the grieving Olive and makes the issue seem clunky and misguided.
|THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #12||IMAGE COMICS|
|ARTIST: KATE BROWN||WRITER: KIERON GILLEN|
|BONUS ART: JAMIE MCKELVIE & MATTHEW WILSON||LETTERER: CLAYTON COWLES|
|DESIGNER: HANNAH DONOVAN||EDITOR: CHRISSY WILLIAMS|
It’s an odd time for The Wicked + The Divine. The end of its first year wasn’t just the end of a year of issues- it was truly the end of the book as the readers knew it, as it suddenly killed off its narrator and another main character and permanently altered the expectations of its readers. To have usual artists Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson take a break now may seem odd, but as it turns out, it’s an excellent choice going into the book’s third arc, Commercial Suicide. Not only does it reflect the book’s shift in perspective to a different cast of characters, but it’s also a reflection of how the book has expanded its scope. In fact, this month, the focus isn’t even on the death of Laura- it’s on the aftermath of Inanna’s death, through the eyes of both the people who cared for them personally and the people who just want to soak up the gossipy aftermath.
|THE WOODS #14||BOOM! STUDIOS|
|ARTIST: MICHAEL DIALYNAS||WRITER: JAMES TYNION IV|
|COLORIST: JOSAN GONZALEZ||LETTERER: ED DUKESHIRE|
Last month in The Woods, Maria described how the students of Bay Point have shifted their focus from “survival” to “living”. While elements of standard teen stories have always had a presence in the book, they always took a bit of a back seat to the more pertinent problems of being chased by aliens or discovering otherworldly civilizations. While there’s a new threat on the horizon, most of our cast are blissfully unaware of that fact, and that leaves them to explore two classic teen concepts: “relationships are hard!” and “drugs are bad!” Luckily, we’ve gotten to know and love these characters enough by now for this to still be rather engaging.