As you can see, I've been catching up on my reviews for the four parts of Buffy Season 9 - given the lack of response, it seems pretty pointless to keep doing it, but I'll probably continue to the end of the season just due to my own neuroses. Anyway, as of yesterday I'm caught up on reading them, and it's interesting how consistent the quality of each one is: A&F is still solid and periodically gripping, Willow is patchy but with a worthwhile story, Spike was entertaining but left you wondering "what of it?" after every issue, and Buffy is still the worst of the lot. The end of a comic series tends to be the best part, though, for the same reason TV season finales do, so there's been an overall upward swing now that they're starting to pull out the stops (I recently found out where that expression came from, someone ask me and make my day).
Sadly it looks less and less likely that the team is trying to put one over on us by claiming that there won't be a major crossover. That's okay, but it would have been cool, you know? At least everyone is dealing with the end of magic (except for Spike, who was merely dealing with...wait, what was Spike's series about again?). I still believe in B/A, but I think it will be good for my mental health to stop hoping that the finale will cement their reunion. Instead I'm going to hope for a mention of it - "You know what this means, Buffy. It's time for you to talk to Angel." Also, thanks to my particular fleet of ships, the suspense about how the characters are going to be divvied up for Season 10 is killing me. This could be the kickoff of Spike/Faith. It could happen.
Anyway! Season 9 does not constitute the entirety of comics that I've been reading. Cool huh? Top of the line, of course, is Saga. There was one point where I felt that the story took a very slight dip in its quality, but then everything else more than made up for it. That one point was Alana bonding with her father-in-law - they talk about how they both care about the same person and suddenly all the bad blood is resolved and the family has gained a source of magical clothing to boot (which is one of the only things that their ship couldn't provide for them, but actually, it's kind of neat that their material needs are covered, so we don't have to wonder about where their money comes from or watch them trying to get jobs. Personally, reading that kind of plot causes me a lot of empathic stress). There's also the matter of timing, which has been nagging at me. It's been, what, a month since Hazel was born? About a day since her grandparents showed up? At this rate, we'll never see her crawling.
But things really got moving elsewhere. From the beginning I haven't been as enamored of Alana as Marko, but the flashback in which they met gave her character a whole new level. And we learned about the book! As a sassy dirty-mouthed young mother, she doesn't have much that I can relate to, but seeing her flip out over something she read and beg the nearest living person to read it too so they can talk about it, well. That's pretty much what I did after I finished the first volume of Saga. Still doing it, actually. So Alana's my girl now, that's how it is. (So is Hazel, because I've always hated romantic comedies too.)
Also there's that incredible thing this comic does which is I did not intend or expect to like Gwendolyn and now I don't know what to do. The Will wasn't quite a favorite either, especially since his parts might mean I have to look at The Stalk again, but the way he and Gwendolyn managed to scoop up Slave Girl and almost instantly started to resemble a family of their own has me dying for more. Looks like soon we'll have an encounter between them and Marko/Alana/Hazel (they really need a last name, please). I wonder when Prince Robot will be back?
I'm following the new Friendship Is Magic comic too because of course I am. Actually, I'm one issue behind on this one and am maybe saving it until I'm bored or feel like indulging myself - it's $4 rather than $3, and it's good but not necessarily vital to my existence, so I'm not prone to purchasing it automatically as soon as it's out. I like what they're doing, though. The comic is clearly geared more toward the adult fan base than the intended audience for the cartoon, but not to an extent that would make it unsuitable for children. The characters and world are adapted faithfully, but with a lot more opportunity for in-jokes and continuity nods. It's probably not the artist I would have chosen, since I'd want everypony to look just like they do in the show, but that's not to say the art isn't great. The background detail especially is a good time. I'd recommend this series to any grown-up person who likes the show but isn't scary-fanatical about it.
Sometime before Christmas there was a big Dark Horse digital sale and I took advantage of it by snagging a big stack of Hellboy. I've been meaning to get into it since forever, so as you can imagine I was pretty psyched. Unfortunately...well, I don't really know what's wrong. There was nothing in particular that I didn't like, it just didn't grab me as a whole. I had loved the two movies based on Hellboy, and I thought I'd be really crazy for the main character, but there just didn't seem to be enough of him in a character-development capacity. Maybe I haven't gotten far enough? I've read the equivalent of three or four graphic novels' worth, so that doesn't seem quite right. One way or another I'm sure I'll reread at some point, and maybe just keep doing it until I either love it or figure out why I don't.
Finally, today I was at the library for the first time in rather a while, and right in front of me like magic there was a display table of graphic novels, and amongst them was Persepolis, which of course I checked out and began reading in a church while the organist practiced, which is a rather weird and magnificent experience. This is an excellent book and I can't wait to finish it and then watch the movie again. I wish all history and international affairs were presented in comic form.
So, unless I'm forgetting something, that's what's happening in word-pictures for me. If it looks like a lot, well, it's been a long time since I've written about [anything]. I assure you I've been doing more than reading comics since I was last around.