4 min read

Second's Out

Singing the #2s Blues.
Second's Out
"– who holds the wheel of fate in his hand!"

My comics are back in shops, and I'm back in your inbox! That's how it's got to be these days - I'm busier than a bee with various things, including packing and sorting decades' worth of comics for my new home/a good home. Time is very much against me on all fronts.

And against comics, as well. We're in a land where long or even medium-sized runs cannot be counted on - something I know all too well - and the curse of the five-issue ongoing is looming over us as that big face in the sky loomed over Philip K Dick. A big worry on that score is the dreaded "second issue drop", when the collectors drift away and the readers/retailers you didn't hook with #1 make their displeasure felt. A big second issue drop can kill a comic stone dead, which is very bad if you've put all your reputational chips into a story you need fifty issues to properly tell. So it helps if your #2 issue is more than just "chapter two" – if there's a major twist in there, a memorable event of some kind.


Why, it's Immortal Thor #2! Fancy that!

The cover for IMMORTAL THOR #2, by Alex Ross, showing Thor preparing to fight Toranos on top of the Statue of Liberty.
Alex Ross does it again.

I would read this one quickly, and without consulting the internet first, because people are going to spoil the absolute crap out of it.

I'm serious - content mills will devote multiple "articles" or even (god help us) videos. Social media's going to have opinions. Some readers will be deeply cynical (especially those who've made deep cynicism their brand), others will be curious and excited about where the story's going. And all of this will create screenshots - spoilery screenshots of pages and panels by the incredible art team of Martin Cóccolo and Matt Wilson that you'll want to see and explore first and on your own terms. Beware the spoilers!

And even saying that comes perilously close to spoilers right out of my own mouth – so let's move on.

The cover of FLASH #1, by Mike Deodato and Trish Mulvihill, showing Wally West as the flash punching a barrier of some kind between him and the reader.
Meanwhile, at the distinguished competition...

I'm trying to be a little better about bigging up books not by myself - I've been very bad at that in these pages - and Flash #1 is a fine place to start on that policy. It's on shelves at this very moment, it's written by friend of the parish Si Spurrier with art by Mike Deodato Jr and Trish Mulvihill, and it makes for a nice jumping-on point for those, like me, who've lost track of the Scarlet Speedster a little bit.

The book catches you up immediately with where Wally is in his life, where he's succeeding, where he's failing, and it promises some major upheavals from that starting point. Si and Mike Deodato match well, creating an intricate style that feels accelerated but demands a slower pace of reading, which will end up rewarding the reader as the revelations build on each other. It's an approach that's both new and also reminiscent of the Mike Baron era - oh, and in the spirit of "necessary issue #2s", you should keep an eye out for issue #2, so make sure to ask your retailer about that.


The boys are back in town.

Just time for a quick look at another #1 - Marvel Comics #1, that is! This panel is very dear to my heart, because it formed the basis of Marvel Comics #1000 - in which I made it plain that these three were not only the Three X's from Mystery Comics (or was that Mystic Comics? My deadlines are too tight to waste time checking today) but also the Enclave from Stan and Jack's FF. There was a whole bunch of yet-to-exist continuity baked into that revelation - Adam II as Horton's second attempt at the Torch, the creation of "Him" turning out to be Adam III aka Adam Warlock, etc. Lots of fun to be had connecting strings of old continuity, I find.

Anyway, we resampled this panel at the start of the book - the "eight bells" standing in for the eight decades of Marvel up to that point. This moment, the moment the Torch was demonstrated, was clearly positioned as the moment the Marvel Universe began. Tough luck for ol' Green Jacket! I guess I figured two unveilings of the Torch was too many, and opted for the one with the more memorable "scientists' guild" over the one overseen by a couple of random schmoes. Maybe for the 90th I'll give those two their due - as it currently stands, the appearance of the Enclave here is just a cruel reminder that those reporters will never be seen in continuity again. So it goes...

...and absolutely none of that has any bearing on this! You wake with a start in your tent, you are Hannibal crossing the alps etc. In 1939, with the absence of a dime still keenly felt in our pocket, all we know about this bunch is what we were told on the previous panel - that these are the Scientists' Guild representatives, and that one of them apparently wears two overcoats. And check that nightmarish perspective! The long shadows! We're back in horror movie mode for this - these are the villagers coming to see the monster. They're not carrying burning torches, but they might as well be. More of that in coming weeks, as we inch closer still to the actual meat.


Another newsletter in the bag! And very slightly earlier in the week. So, on weeks when I'm on comic shop shelves, this is still the place to find me. Love and strength to all who need it, and I'll play us out with "Looking For The Rain" by UNKLE ft. Mark Lanegan & Eska.

If you Judas me, man, I will kill you if I can.