**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horse Shit
By Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
This book was my biggest disappointment of the week, you know I have been loving this series since it first hit the shelves last year. Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba have been doing outstanding work on the series up this point. So why my disappointment with this issue? Well, for the first time the story felt forced and contrived to me. One of the joys of Daytripper up to now is how ‘real’ the stories have felt, everything about Bras and the people around him play out just like they would in the real world with you and me, Bras is just an average guy living a completely normal life. Yet, there is a magical quality about the things that happen to Bras, and not only because he dies at the end of every issue, but everything up to point where he dies has such a familiar and natural flow to it. One of the strongest elements of Daytripper is that Bras is a nice guy that everyone can relate too, the stuff that happens to him could happen to any one of us and many of the situations that Moon and Ba create in the series have occurred in my life. The excitement of falling for a beautiful women on vacation, stressing about work, living in the shadow of your more talented parents, or your first kiss as a kid while away on a family trip. When I am reading Daytripper it feels like I am staring into a mirror and reflecting on past memories of situations I have found myself in during my life. There is something about the character of Bras that is both fascinating and familiar to me at the same time.
This issue is really the second half of a story that started in the last issue. In issue #6 a major plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil, turns Bras life upside down and changes him forever. The crash affects him in two ways, Bras believes his friend and coworker, Jorge, was on the ill fated flight and is most likely dead, and to make matters worse Bras job as the obituary writer at the local newspaper places him in the position of having to write dozens of obituaries for people on the flight. It’s almost too much for him to handle, but he finds the courage to honor the dead from the crash by writing beautiful obits while still struggling with the pain of not knowing what has happened to his friend Jorge. The last issue ended with Bras finally getting a call from Jorge, letting him know he is still alive, but not coming back to his job or his former life. Bras attempts to drive to Rio to see his friend, but dies in a car crash on the way there.
The events in this issue take place five years after the plane crash and Jorge’s disappearance. The strength Bras found after the crash has finally allowed him to finish writing the novel he had been working on for years. The novel is well received and Bras has become famous as a result, but he is still troubled by not knowing what has happen to Jorge. Bras finally gets a clue to his friends whereabouts when a postcard arrives from a hotel halfway across Brazil. Despite the protests of his wife who feels Bras should just leave Jorge alone, Bras still feels he owes it to Jorge to find him and at least speak to him about why he has abandoned everything in his life. It doesn’t take long for Bras to find Jorge, living like a hermit on the beach. Unfortunately for Bras, Jorge has completely broken with reality and the meeting Bras after all of these years sends him into a psychotic rage, killing Bras with a knife and then killing himself.
I guess my disappointment with this issue is Bras just isn’t the nice guy that I remember from other issues, he’s famous now, but has become distant and cynical because of it. He is dismissive of his wife’s concerns and seems rather selfish in his pursuit of Jorge. I found myself agreeing with Bras wife that he should just let the matter drop and let Jorge go. There are flashbacks in this issue showing the first time Bras and Jorge meet and those scenes show the fun loving younger days of chasing women and big dreams for the future. Contrasting those flashbacks with the finally meeting between the two just seems forced to me. Jorge’s actions at the end of the story just doesn’t make any sense to me, nothing that I have seen in previous issues would lead me to believe that Jorge would act the way he did.
I don’t mind that Bras was murdered, he was killed rather brutally in the first issue and I don’t even mind that his dead was senseless, most of his deaths have been. I guess it was just the fact that it was his best friend that killed him this time around, and it bothered the shit out of me. For the first time in the series I actually felt manipulated by Moon and Ba. There was none of the subtlety and natural flow of events from other issues, it was heavy handed and in the end Bras death at the end of an issue didn’t fill me with a sense of wonder, it just pissed me off.
By John Layman and Rob Guillory
John Layman and Rob Guillory kick off the ‘Just Desserts’ story arc in fine fashion. Tony and John have to investigate the murder of man who is found with a Grey-Tailed Pygmy stuffed down his throat and it just gets crazier from there. What I like most about this issue is for once Tony has a good day. Tony’s boss isn’t giving him a hard time anymore (thanks to a little timely ‘intervention’ from John), he solves the crime and gets the girl! I’m sure John Layman has some nasty stuff in store for Tony in the future, but for now it’s cool to see Tony having his day in the sun.
The Invincible Iron Man #27
By Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca
Well it looks like Tony Stark is finally going to stop pissing and moaning and start kicking some ass. The Hammer girls finally put their plan in motion to take Stark Industries place as the primary weapons supplier to the US government, although the plan is a little silly since Stark Industries is kind of broke right now and Tony doesn’t seem very interested in selling weapons anymore. As cool as it is to see Tony finally fart out his armor to do something other than open crates and fly to business meetings, it’s Pepper Potts that really shines in this issue. She makes it clear to Tony that she is not interested in just being his helper, but she wants her armor back! It’s nice seeing Tony squirm around under Pepper’s unrelenting pressure and finally giving in. Oh and War Machine is back to help Tony out, I think. Hopefully, Iron Man and War Machine will put ‘Detroit Steel’ out of it’s misery in the next issue.
By Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver
This issue makes me sad, not because it is bad (it’s actually quite good), but it just shows how badly Hickman’s Fantastic Four is spinning out of control right now. I wish Hickman would show some of the focus he is showing here in this book on the Fantastic Four. So what is the story in this issue? Beats the hell out of me, I’m still not sure what we are suppose to be seeing here, but finding out is going to be pretty damn cool. My vote for best new hero of the year has to go to Leonardo Da Vinci, the guy is a complete bad ass, sporting mechanical wings and a groovy Jesus beard. How could you not love this guy? This is just one of those stories where the plot takes a back seat to the shear coolness of the characters and the world they exist in. More please!
Avengers Academy #1
By Christos Gage and Mike McKone
I decided to pick this book up and wasn’t disappointed. In case you have no idea what this book is about, think New Mutants only the kids are mostly dysfunctional assholes. I like that Christos Gage didn’t go the pussy route and make them a bunch of cute kids. Gage is creating that season of Real World, where not only does everyone hate each other, but they have superpowers to do something about it. Any bets on how soon before Hazmat irradiates someone for leaving the toilet seat up? This looks like a book that has the potential to be a lot of fun, and the twist at the end made me laugh. I thought the upcoming cross-over with the Thunderbolts was a strange choice, but after the reveal at the end of this issue they may have more in common than I had at first thought.