The current arc started with a promotional issue for twenty-five cents to draw in new readers, which was a really neat idea, but the issue was terrible. Not just "worse than I've come to expect from this series" but "worse than I would expect from a much lesser series". The controversial topic they decided to explore had a gaping plot hole that would have instantly cured the controversy if anyone had tried to address it, the token transgender character is intensely unlikeable, and the plot twist in the end is a spontaneous manifestation of magical powers to defeat some shit monsters. The spontaneous powers got something of an explanation in the next issue, but you have to understand what I'm saying about the monsters here is not that they were poorly imagined, but that they were composed of the characters' own shit. Wacky random horror, sure, that's what we're all about here but at least when Dogma used this idea over a decade ago, they came up with the word "excrementals".
The next issue hit a new low. I'm sick of Prince Robot, I still don't understand why Klara stayed behind, and if a character had to die (a character did not have to die), it shouldn't have been Izabel. I'm holding out to see Gwendolyn and Sophie again, or more accurately, Sophie and LC. I also still have some hope for Upsher and Doff, or possibly The Will, but I don't know if our core cast is ever going to get the magic back.
Might let go of Animosity too, but that doesn't hurt as much.
Um, I'm not sure why I'm using a spoiler cut here. I mean the only problem is that there's not really anywhere for the story to go, and I don't even particularly remember too many specifics from the last issue, except that they were hinting at some additional supernatural stuff (dead returning, a dragon) which turned out to be enemy animals playing tricks. So that kind of felt like the world had a chance to expand but didn't take it. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
In brighter news, I picked up a book from the library that I had been meaning to read for a long time: How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. As an instructional art book, it was a bit better than I expected, considering the range of subject matter and technique they were trying to cram into a slim volume clearly intended for young fans. As a study on classic Marvel, and comic book art in general, it's absolutely fantastic.
The titular Marvel Way can essentially be boiled down to the simple principle of "exaggerate everything", but the visual aids shine a whole new light on it, especially when they show a comparison to straight realism. While you're reading a superhero comic, you don't notice the proportions of a vigilante relative to a well-muscled man of the real world, or how changing the camera angle can make a panel more exciting. You do notice that the final product has a gaudy, shameless style shared with comic books of all stripes, but just the thought that every little bit of that is intentional is so fascinating to me.
Also the text is written by Stan Lee, and you know what that means: lots of exclamation points and ridiculous jokes. I'll be using this book in earnest to improve my comic art, but I heartily recommend it to anyone who's interested in Marvel or in superhero comics in general, whether or not you draw.
Oh! While I was in England I took a wander through a comic shop because of course I did, and I found a couple issues of New Defenders and one of Wonder Woman in the bargain bin, both from the 70's or 80's. I had no idea what was going on in any of them, but I love going through old Marvel series and finding connections to other series that I know better, or characters I only know through adaptations or reputation. This time it was Moondragon declaring her love for another lady, so I guess that happened earlier than I thought, and an appearance from the New Mutants (yay!).
Also discovered that DC of that era really does have the same "feel" that I'm always seeking in Marvel, and maybe I need to curb my prejudice a little. I only got the Wonder Woman one to prep for the movie, but honestly, it was a pretty good comic.