Friday, March 07, 2003

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What I bought and what I thought, week of March 5!

1. PROMETHEA 25 For those of us who have been keeping the faith while Alan Moore delved into the mystic, this issue is our reward, as Moore explores the ramifications of what happened back on "our" plane of existence while the "true" Promethea was away in smashing fashion. Besides the excellent dramatics and unpredictable events, this is also an amazing tour de force for the J.H. Williams III/Mick Gray art team, surely one of the best in comics these days. A+

2. POWERS 29 Brian Michael Bendis veers from familiar territory this time out and creates, with a lot of help from Mike Avon Oeming, a feeling of shock and dread. While this arc is still superficially reminiscent of other storylines in this series (and a few others), and in particular is beginning to remind me of Kingdom Come, one has to give BMB total credit for upping the ante so successfully. A

3. 100 BULLETS 42 It's kinda difficult sometimes to keep coming up with ways to praise Brian Azzurello and Eduardo Rizzo. This is just the latest strand in a huge tapestry, and it's just as excellent as the last one. I hope they don't take too long to resolve the backstory of Wiley Tymes. A

4. HELLBOY: WEIRD TALES 1 I broke down and bought this, even though I'm still kinda expecting to get this in the mail one of these days, when someone gets through bitchslapping Ted Rall...anyway, I couldn't wait. Nice start for this anthology series, with John Cassiday's wonderfully drawn and moody lead story taking a reluctant back seat to Andi Watson's great follow-up, about HB's birthday and a rare look at him during down time. It's lots of fun and Watson's idiosyncratic style works very well. Story three, essentially a teaser for an upcoming non-Hellboy related Dark Horse comic, was confusingly written and poorly drawn, often resembling those grubby old Tony DeZuniga-inked four-pagers that used to appear in DC's supernatural books of the 70s. Cassaday's serialized Lobster Johnson strip, drawn in a deliberately 40's style with imitation yellowed pages to match, is agreeable but brings none of the nutball fun that Mignola would have. So 2 yea, 2 nay, and a big "not bad" for an anthology series. B+

5. SPIDER-MAN: BLUE 6 I'm glad this disappointing nostalgia exercise is over. Hard to put a finger on why this left me so cold, especially since I enjoyed the previous Loeb/Sale effort Daredevil:Yellow a lot...guess I can chalk it up to over-familiarity with the source material. Someone who's new to comics might feel differently, I don't know, but the Peter/Mary Jane/Gwen Stacy triangle was old hat back in 1974. Here's hoping the previously golden pair mine a fresher vein next time out. B

6. CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHAT PRICE GLORY 1 Since I only had 4 books to buy this week, I decided to take a shot on something I hadn't planned on picking up...and I chose this because I just love Steve Rude's art. Rude does his best Kirby imitation here (but still looks, to my eyes, like Russ Manning inked by Dick Ayers), aided by longtime Kirby inker and letterer Mike Royer (which really brings back those memories of 1972) but it's wasted on a convoluted, senseless script which never establishes a clear tone and often reads like a page or two has been edited out, which I suppose is entirely possible. I know Bruce Jones is a fine writer, but he really isn't on his game. Still, he has two issues left to get himself out of the corner he's apparently painted himself into. B-