NOAH by Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel and Niko Henrichon shows the impulse to do Biblical epics didn’t die off with Cecil B. DeMille. This story of Noah getting his ark up and running despite the interference of a local warlord and his own doubts whether humanity should survive works well as spectacle (it’s apparently based on Aronofsky’s recent movie) — not great art but entertaining. Though I’m not sure switching out the usual portrayals of decadent civilizations for eco-destructive ones really worked.
THE SUNDERING FLOOD was William Morris’ last romance, in which a boy and girl on opposite sides of the eponymous river fall into long-distance love, then go off and have adventures, which in the girl’s case means getting captured a lot (disappointing given she starts out as something of a free spirit). This moves faster than usual for Morris, and I found it more engaging than much of his work. However Morris’s action scenes remind me of the long, inferior stretches in Malory where there’s nothing but endless tournament after endless tournament (i.e., not terribly interesting). Part of this is that as a historical writer, Morris dwells much more on details of medieval life that Malory didn’t bother with. Pleasant enough to read though, and what a lovely cover by Gervasio Gallardo (all rights to current holder)
WOLVERINE AND THE XMEN: Tomorrow Never Learns by Jason Latour and Mahmud Asrar starts off well as the Jean Grey School gets seriously weird (Krakoa the living island is now Krakoa the Living School Grounds, there’s a supply of bamfs around to provide instant teleportation). Unfortunately the plot — Askani warrior hunts down Quentin Quire for the evil he’s going to do when he acquires the Phoenix Force — is stock X-book stuff, and very convoluted, plus the usual angst and guilt from Wolverine.
THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black has a teenager wake up from a wild party to discover everyone else has been victimized by vampires, which leads to her, her slowly turning ex-boyfriend, and a seemingly helpless vamp (“No-one has ever saved me before.”) journeying to one of the Coldtown ghettoes where vampires are quarantine, with the protagonist planning to wait there until she knows for sure if she’s infected. I like this much better than I expected — Black writes well, and in many ways this seems to undercut the cliches of the post-Anne Rice vampire fiction by showing that under the beauty and celebrity, vampires really are just disgusting corpses who feed on the living. The stretches of internecine vampire struggles, though, I largely skimmed. In a minor note, Fables writer Bill Willingham gets to be a vampire victim.
CHEW: Taster’s Choice by John Layman and Rob Guillory has “cibopath” Tony Chu reluctantly recruited by the federal government to use his super power (psychometric flashes from anything he eats) to solve crimes (one nibble on a victim’s finger …). I thought the later volume I read was fun enough, but this is really gloriously, goofy fun with a lot of eccentrics and weird psionics (like a woman whose restaurant reviews make you actually taste the food when you’re reading her). Great job!
DC REBIRTH by Geoff Johns and various artists launched DC’s latest continuity-mangling Big Event, which while implying it will fix the problems of the New 52 will probably make them worse (as every reboot since Crisis has managed to do). This has the pre-Flashpoint Wally West warning Batman about what’s coming, Lois and Clark watching the New 52’s Superman die at Doomsday’s hands (“Perhaps he’ll recover as I did.”), Batman learning the Joker’s not one man but three (I can’t even guess where they’re going with that one) and we learn Dr. Manhattan is secretly behind the entire New 52. While I was never a fan of the New 52 reboot, I have no faith whatever’s coming will be an improvement, particularly as the same creators who thought the New 52 would be a great step forward are still running the show.