Friday, January 31, 2003

Image Hosted by
Best of the Week

And now, what you've all been waiting breathlessly for...
What I bought and what I thought, week of January 29, 2003

1. LEGION 16 Abnett and Lanning are certainly bending over backwards to make sure we get a good look at the new Timber Wolf they've presented us with. For the second straight issue we get TW in a scrap in which he shows what he's made of, this time throwing down with those villainous Legion mainstays, the Fatal Five. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I enjoyed this issue as much as I have any in the last year, despite the fact that it's pretty much a non-stop spandex slugfest...and we all know that I'm nine times out of ten bored to tears by spandex slugfests. Difference here has to be the great character interaction. In a slugfest issue. And that, boys and girls, is why I'm still hanging in there with this book. A

2. THE NEVERMEN: STREETS OF BLOOD 1 This is one genuinely weird comic book, which is why I like this and its miniseries predecessor so much. Ostensibly rooted in the real world, it is full of surreality, and features a grotesque cast of characters that, when set to action in the stories Phil Amara writes, have the feel of a half-remembered, hazy dream. Or maybe I should lay off smoking Opium. Anyway, gotta give a lot of credit to Guy Davis, whose game but often pedestrian work on Sandman Mystery Theatre I was hot and cold on (I always thought he drew all his women to look like Howard Cosell) but here he seems to be less reined in, and it works very well given the more fanciful nature of Nevermen as compared to SMT. Anyway, I'm definitely looking forward to what happens next. A

3. THE TRUTH: RED, WHITE AND BLACK 3 Kyle Baker's art is still annoyingly indifferent and sloppy, but Robert Morales' story is growing on me to the point where I'm willing to overlook Baker's sloth. This has become a very compelling tale. A-

4. SHANG-CHI: MASTER OF KUNG FU 5 I wish I could be more excited about this nostalgic limited series, and I'm beginning to think I should have waited for the trade...I think it might read better collected. As with the previous issues, good, if overly Bond-influenced, script by Doug Moench and sometimes great art by Paul Gulacy, and a darn good read that I don't think I'll be tempted to repeat. Well, OK, maybe after issue 6 comes out. A-

5. GOTHAM CENTRAL 3 Solid issue, with an interesting story and Dave Mazzuchelli-like stylings by Michael Lark, whose normally fine inking line has been replaced with one that looks like it was done with a mop. I was mulling over dropping GC, but now I think I'll stay around. A-

6. X-STATIX 7 Mike Allred cranked it up a notch on this issue, I think, and as a result I was more interested than I have been for the last couple. I think I like Venus Dee Milo in her Madman-ish one piece red jumpsuit better, although wearing it makes her alias completely irrelevant. B+

7. THE FILTH 8 The level of sadism and unpleasantness this time out is much less than what we got last time, so that's a step in the right direction, and Chris Weston also bounces back a bit on art. Morrison's needlessly obtuse plot is actually beginning to make a little more sense on its own terms, like his great Flex Mentallo did, so there's hope of making heads or tails out of it before it's over. Or so I keep telling myself. B

8. GLOBAL FREQUENCY 4 Lackluster, sloppy art by one Roy A. Martinez, whose work I'm totally unfamilar with and am not inclined to research further, torpedoes another good script by Warren Ellis. It does no good to write one's trademark cynical, terse dialogue if the bodies it's coming out of look stiff and awkward and poorly proportioned. B-

9. JLA 77 Speaking of lackluster, here's another shrug-inducing fill in, not terrible as fill-ins go but not all that shibby either. Kelly, Mahnke & Nguyen, come home! C+