Free Comic Book Day: Part Two

It’s been a week since FCBD, and I’ve had a chance to read the issues I picked up. There were a lot of sampler issues this year, which give you a taste of what’s out there, without giving you the whole pie. Some are good, some less so. Marvel and DC pulled through with full issues involving Spidey, Thor, Captain America, and Green Lantern, all good choices to remind people that the upcoming movies are spawned from a pre-existing mythos. Decent stories, all in all.

The one I was most looking forward to was Locke & Key, which I’d heard a lot about. In this case, the story spanned a full issue, but read much faster than a full issue would. There are nine full-page panels, and a lot of panels with neither dialogue not captions, so the 28 pages read more like a short story with big pictures. Nevertheless, it’s enough to give a taste of what the series is about, while telling a small, complete story in the process. The premise seems interesting enough, as do the characters, and I’m more interested now in picking up the series than I was before I read it. Call that mission accomplished for a freebie.

The Dark Horse split issue of Baltimore/Criminal Macabre was one I hadn’t heard about, though both series seem dark enough to be right up my alley. I’m not sold on them yet, and of the two I think I prefer Baltimore, though Criminal Macabre might have more potential to tell interesting individual stories. Both are worth looking into further.

One I picked up without knowing what it was, was the Worlds of Aspen issue, which teases several series by Aspen comics. This one failed a bit. I was really looking forward to it after flipping through it in the shop last Saturday, but the stories are short, giving a taste of the individual worlds of the stories, but giving almost nothing of the characters within them, and therefore, not much reason to care or be interested further. Longer, contained bits of bigger stories might have worked better for this freebie. The exception was Lady Mechanika, which teases a conflict between some of the characters while giving us a taste of the steampunk-inspired world they live in. That one I may look for in the future.

The biggest surprise was Mouse Guard. In all honesty, I picked that one up for my kids, but on the way out I heard an adult remark how ecstatic they were to have picked up a Mouse Guard collected book, which surprised me. I read the story, read it to my kids, and even read it again on my own afterwards. It left me with a warm glow of a small story much enjoyed, and hinted beautifully at the greater world and the roles of the characters within it. I’m definitely intrigued enough to look for more in this title. I don’t seem to be the only one who likes it, given the interest and acclaim it seems to have garnered after a quick online search, and I wonder how this title slipped under my radar in the first place.

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