The Middle Ground #46 | Not the droids you're looking for

For everyone who is tuning in waiting to find out how much I liked those Top Cow books I was sent after last week's surprisingly controversial* column... You're going to have to keep waiting, I'm afraid; they've not arrived yet. I suspect that the powers that be at Top Cow are still working out how to ensure as many papercuts as possible during my reading experience, personally. Let's hope for next week, perhaps? Instead, I'm going to steal a leaf from Chad Nevett's internet tree and abuse the extra eyes that might be watching this week for some Random Thoughts.

Two comics I've really enjoyed recently, but feel like I can't review them properly because I know people behind them: Jason McNamara and Paige Braddock's The Martian Confederacy, Vol. 2: From Mars, With Love and San Francisco-based anthology The Comic Book Guide To The Mission. The former is a follow-up to the "You probably haven't read it, and you're all missing out" science-fiction-plus-sex-and-drinking graphic novel from 2008 that not only has one of the best openings I've read all year - It mixes sentiment, comedy and character in a way that just makes me wish that McNamara could write the Fantastic Four, in a really odd way; you'll know what I mean when you read it - but reads like a weird mash-up of JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboot and Venture Bros in all the right ways, and hopefully finds a massive audience this second time around (It's out on March 28th). Meanwhile, Mission is pretty much what the title says it is, as well as being one of the few books I've read that actually feels like San Francisco, if that makes sense. It's put together by friend and onetime fellow io9er Lauren Davis, who turns out not only to be one of the most talented and organized people I know, but a amazingly good editor to boot - there's a really nice sense of place (Suitably) and variety to the book, and that helps it go beyond just a "You've been to the mission? You might like this!" experience and become something more fulfilling. Find out more about it at the Skodaman Press website, and more about The Martian Confederacy at that particular website. Both are highly recommended.

That * from above? That'd be because, hi. It's the internet. Everything can be controversial when you look at it in the right way.

One comic I've enjoyed recently and mention here so that others can follow in my footsteps and pick it up: Boom! Studios' Dracula: The Company of Monsters. I should've known from the plot presence of Kurt Busiek that there'd be more to this reborn Dracula tale than I was expecting, but the slow burn and constant zigging-instead-of-zagging completely won me over. Some great art by Scott Godlewski and tight scripting by Daryl Gregory just sealed the deal.

Speaking of Boom!, you know what I'd love to see some more of one of these days? Potters' Field, the Mark Waid/Paul Azaceta series about the detective finding names for the nameless dead. I was re-reading the collection of that this weekend, and wishing there'd been more after the initial mini and follow-up one-shot. Now that Azaceta's not Spider-Man-ing any more, maybe he'll have some free time to return to this series sometime soon. I can dream...

If I'm biting Chad's style, can I pretend this is an official crossover between Robot 6 and CSBG?

The one good thing about the Top Cow comics not arriving in time for this week's column is that I can put off the potential backlash if I don't like them for one more week. It's odd; I went from having no interest in reading them to having a very specific interest in reading them - pretty much to address my disinterest and prejudice - to then being scared to read them: Being called out by so many people, and in so many places, for my admitted-prejudice - and in such strong terms, in some cases - made me worry about what would happen if I still held such negative opinions after actually reading them. Will the internet sky cave in? Will I still be standing afterwards? Tune in next week, same time, same channel... as long as the mail arrives, that is.

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