Pick of the Week

10.29.2003 – Arrowsmith #4

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Writer – Kurt Busiek
Penciller – Carlos Pacheco
Inker – Jesus Merino
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Richard Starkings & Comicraft

DC Comics/Wildstorm/Cliffhanger – $2.95

I hate my local store.

I usually buy my comics at a big store in mid-town Manhattan. This is the kind of place tha does so much business that it can afford to order a lot of copies of most every book out there. When I’m working in the area, or if I have the time to travel there, I usually make it a point to make my Wednesday purchases at that store. If I don’t have the time then I am forced to buy my comics at the rinky dink little hole in the wall store in my neighborhood. It’s a terrible store, the kind that fuels every negative stereotype about comic book stores and their readers. But I can put up with that for the five minutes it takes to get my new comic books. What I can’t put up with is a store that doesn’t seem to care about ordering books that aren’t associated with Marvel. This is the second month in a row that I’ve gone in on a Wednesday at 1pm and could not find a copy of the new Arrowsmith (or Bad Girls for that matter). It isn’t like this is some black and white indie press book put out by some start-up publisher, this is a major release from DC Comics by two of the bigger creative forces out there. These things make me angry.

Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest…

Last month in Arrowsmith, our young Aero Corps volunteers saw their first real action in the skies and the results were pretty bloody. This month, Fletcher Arrowsmith struggles to deal with the reality that flying in the Aero Corps and fighting in the war is not as romantic as he thought it would be and that people he cares about (and even people he hates) can be hurt and killed. I’ve never served in the armed forces myself, but I imagine that this might be a common experience for some people who get their first taste of combat. As time moves on and Fletcher finds that he is becoming a rising star in his Aero Corps unit, he can’t bring himself to enjoy life anymore. The memories of his fallen friend and comrades are too powerful.

Kut Busiek has filled Arrowsmith with so many great ideas. In the ground war, armies don’t use artillery so much as release the “Mist of the Ravening” which causes soldiers to revert to a violent, animalistic state that causes them to turn on each other. Afterwhich, the Vampire Squad is sent in to feed on the survivors. This ain’t your grandmama’s World War I.

Arrowsmith is such a good book. Everything about it works. The writing is sharp, the art by Carlos Pacheco is excellent, and the fantasy world that the two have created is totally believable. This is a world that I want to spend time in and read more about.

Conor Kilpatrick
Will never make Ace at this rate
E-Mail: conor@ifanboy.com

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