Fairest Vol. 5: The Clamour for Glamour (Vertigo Comics, 2015) was a fun read, even though it wasn’t completely satisfying as a series conclusion. The title arc occupies six of the seven issues in the collection. The main focus was on Reynard the fox, who was given a glamour spell to change into a man. His hubris leads him to hitting on Snow, which leads her to have one of the cubs fly him into exile. Next thing he knows he’s being dropped onto a Louisiana farm, where his lack of experience as a human man gets him into all sorts of trouble. The tone of it reminds me of the other Fables spinoff, Jack of Fables. Artist Mark Buckingham does a good job as solo writer, with Russ Braun providing most of the art. The arc makes oblique reference to events in the main series that I haven’t read yet, but not enough to be confusing or overly spoilerish (according to spell check that’s not a word, but I’m using it anyway). The conclusion of the arc also signals the closing of the Farm, which is done in a rush. The final issue of the series brings Bill Willingham back as writer, with art by Meghan Hetrick.It follows Goldilocks as she roams from one Fables world to another, trying to start revolutions and gain power. It’s not even a final conclusion, because it leads into the graphic novel Fairest: In All The Land.
Morning Glories Volume Eight: Rivals (Image Comics, 2015) is hard to even summarize if you haven’t been following the series. Maybe even if you have tried to keep up: this collection includes a discussion of one of the issues from the online “Morning Glories Study Hall” (which I’ve been using to help keep track of the labyrinthine plot of the series)–an oblique acknowledgement that the story has gotten extremely complicated. In the wake of the failed insurrection against the school administration in the last collection, we find the remaining students trying to marshal their forces. They still think they can defeat the faculty and gain their freedom, and they are working on it on several fronts: an independent school newspaper, a plan to disrupt a traditional athletic contest, and running against the student body president who has always been unopposed.
B.P.R.D. 1946-1948 (Dark Horse Comics, 2015) collects the miniseries filling in the “missing years” of young Hellboy and the BPRD. I had already read the 1946 and 1947 ones in trades, so I was just catching up on 1948. The story was by Mike Mignola & John Arcudi, colors by the stalwart Dave Stewart, and art by Max Fiumara, a newcomer to the Hellboy universe. Fiumara is another great find: his work has the atmosphere (and monsters) a BPRD story needs, and he designed several striking new characters, especially Prof. Bruttenholm’s love interest, a female scientist named Anna Rieu. Bruttenholm and a BPRD squad travel to Utah to investigate a monster incursion that seems to have been caused by an atomic bomb test. Complications ensue, of course, with many big monster battle scenes. Back at headquarters young Hellboy is trying hard to fit in. The final panels show him with a hacksaw in hand, contemplating cutting off his horns. This is a handsome hardcover compilation, which also includes two short stories and all of the sketchbook material from the original individual collections.
Constantine, Vol. 2: Blight (DC Comics, 2014) continues the New 52 adventures of John Constantine. Much of the action ties into the Forever Evil crossover event that was going on in DC’s books at the time. I hadn’t read a word of it, but the basic idea–beings of pure evil from an alternate dimension taking over Earth’s heroes–is explained in context. And most of the actors in these issues are from DC’s magical cast: those who have aligned themselves with the evil Cold Flame, and those who stand with Constantine in opposition. Indeed the story goes out of its way to include virtually all of those characters: it’s almost overkill, although it’s fun to see them all interacting with The Spectre and angels. The Voice of God even makes an appearance (maybe) in the form of a small talking dog. In addition to all of the crossover action, the collection ends in a cliffhanger.