FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics vol. 2: Wish You Were Here by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez
A staff person at the comic book store sold me the first volume of FBP as a good comic for fans of the tv show Fringe, which was a really effective sales technique as well as being true. When I found myself at the comic book store again itching to buy something, volume 2 was a natural pick. Alas, it had been some time since I had read volume 1, and I felt a little lost as I made my way through this one. I vaguely remembered the characters and hoped I’d pick up a greater understanding of the plot as I moved along (sometimes you just have to trust the storytellers). It mostly worked, though I’d still recommend reading this one pretty closely upon a read (or re-read) of volume 1. It involves the two agents of the FBP visiting Nakeet, Alaska for a special experiment where they’re plugged into a machine to allow their minds to create a reality; it’s not meant to bleed into the real reality, but of course, it does in certain ways. A little confusing, but intriguing.
Fables vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
Late Fables is nothing compared to early Fables, unfortunately. I think the series really ran out of steam near the end, but this final installment is still worth a read. I’m not a fan of the final story arc between Snow White and Rose Red, which was fabricated out of nothing and undid years of deliberate character development. That arc is resolved here in spectacularly anticlimactic fashion. Other threads, too, are wrapped up very quickly. Half the volume is finishing out the main storyline and the other half consists of epilogues telling the final stories of certain characters. I rather enjoyed these (particularly the ones featuring Snow White’s and Bigby’s kids), but I’m a sucker for extended epilogues (I wouldn’t have minded if Return of the King had gone on another half an hour). And while I didn’t care for the last story between Snow White and Rose Red, I was really moved by their epilogue, which takes places thousands of years later. Not a triumphant conclusion, but not a bad one either.
Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu
Zoe is a “booth babe” with a loser for a boyfriend and no direction in life. One day while on a break at work, she’s sitting outside and notices a man standing out a window in his apartment building. She decides to ask to use his restroom, and he obliges – and they strike up a romance. It turns out he’s quite a famous novelist. Because Zoe never reads novels, she hasn’t even heard of him, which makes it easy for her to remain oblivious to a big secret he’s hiding. He’s quite a bit older than her, eccentric, egotistical. There’s definitely a flavor of a Woody Allen film to the story – until the end, which throws everything for a major loop. I was feeling pretty lukewarm to the story until I got to that point. Then I had to sit there for a long time and really consider whether I like the way it ended or not. And I ultimately decided I did. You’ll have to read to find out, but it doesn’t end like an Allen film, which I think is really the point (I avoid anything he does like the plague now). Bagieu is a French comic and I look forward to seeing what else of hers gets brought to the US.
Rat Queens vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic
I was in the comic book store wanting to buy Lumberjanes, Nimona, or the second Rat Queens, and all that was available was Rat Queens. One out of three isn’t bad (for my wallet in particular), especially when Rat Queens is as awesome as it is. The second volume collects issues 6-10, and the new illustrator (Stjepan Sejic) begins with issue 9. I really dig Upchurch’s art, but I like Sejic’s just as much (and he’s not an abuser, so extra good human points to him). His lines are a little cleaner, but each character is just as easily recognized, full of sass and personality. I could describe the plot to you, but the characters are really the draw here. We get a little backstory on them, seeing a vulnerable side to each – but no worries, there’s also plenty of bloodshed, foul language, sex, and even some full-frontal male nudity. While a good bit of the story revolves around Dee and a secret person from her past, she still remains the most unknowable to me. Wiebe really seems to love Hannah, and while this is an ensemble story, it’s easy to see how she may be the series’ overarching protagonist. And I mean, she is pretty awesome. Highly recommended.
Strangely for me, all of these graphic novels were published for the adult market. All were personal copies except for Exquisite Corpse, which was provided by the publisher.