Matt Fraction/Barry Kitson – Comic: The Order #1

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If he’s not one already, Matt Fraction will be the next superstar writer of comics. He’s already cut his teeth making the mind-splitting insanity that is Casanova. He’s begun to ease his way into the mainstream comic world at Marvel, initially by teaming up with Ed Brubaker (Criminal, Captain America), one of the best writers going, for fantastic The Immortal Iron Fist. After that he wrote the under appreciated but very good Punisher War Journal. And now he’s set to truly enter the Marvel fray with his super-hero team book called The Order.

The Order takes place post-civil war, focusing on the California wing within a 50-state coalition of governmentally accountable “super teams”. At any moment, a team member can be fired and replaced by one of a legion of government fill-ins What’s more, they only have a year at the job. They are a lot like The Avengers, in that they have to handle basically all levels of super villainy in the state of California. In Issue #1, they fight an inferno-inducing, out of control super villain who is burning up large swathes of California. It’s a fantastic shot to the senses and something akin to taking a bullet train straight through the heart of American history and pop-culture. You’ll get chills over Fraction’s handling of the Watts Riots. He places in motion an anything-goes-anything-can-happen-devil-be-damned narrative that is truly a rush to read. Even though it’s not Fraction’s first Marvel book, it does feel like this is the first true Fraction book. More so than any other Marvel book he’s written to date, he’s really letting his signature style out in this series.

And then on top of all of this you have Barry Kitson. Kitson seems to parry everything Fraction throws at him. There are hints here of really great artistic expression that, if left to grow, could match some of the wild experimentation of J.H. Williams III on Promethea. We’re really getting that rock star free-flow in his style.

Very lofty opening salvo. Now let us see the follow up.