Friday, April 04, 2003

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Time now for
What I bought and what I thought, week of April 2

1. 100 BULLETS 43
It was very difficult to pick a clear cut #1 this week, but this one edges Daredevil 45 by virtue of catching me up with a character that I liked from a previous story arc (and thought got a bad deal), and then surprising the hell out of me at the end with a character that I thought dead. If possible, this consistently excellent month-in and month-out book has just gotten more interesting. A

I enjoyed this as much as I did 100 Bullets, so perhaps I could rank them 1a and 1b... mostly satisfying conclusion to the "Lowlife" storyline with, like 100B, a surprising return at the end. Marred slightly by an awkwardly paced and drawn climactic scrap between DD and the Owl, necessary but just not very well done. I have been a huge fan of Alex Maleev's art here, and he's been flat out brilliant over the course of his tenure, but his rendition of the Owl blows chunks and he struggles with fight scenes– which I find perversely refreshing in today's comic book artist climate. A

It speaks well for current-day Marvel that they let Chris Giarrusso have such a prominent platform for his cutesy and amusing cartoons. There are a lot of hardcore Spandex fans out there that will turn up their nose at this, but I think it's clever and fun and I hope this is an ongoing. A

As always, love the Jaime Hernandez art and story– this issue sports, I believe, the best art I've seen in quite a while from him. Some odd religious symbolism and lotsa girl-on-girl making out this time around...a plus for me, I suppose, but not everybody would think so. And, as always, I fail to be engaged by Gilbert's story even though I recognize the strong craft that goes into it. So the grade is low, but the quality is high. B+

Speaking of girl-on-girl action, here's a book which could have used some...instead, we get silly, heavy-handed, forced dream sequence humor for all but the last two pages. I wonder if there's a twelve step program somewhere to wean me off this comic...every month I piss and moan and say that THIS is the month I drop this book; and every month I buy in the event that SOMETHING significant will happen. Sad. C-

Since my haul was so light, I picked up issue #1 of THE CLOCK MAKER, from Image– an oversize book which reminded me a bit of Terminal City here and Hellboy there (mostly in the art style). The tabloid size format is a bit awkward, and it was all getting acquainted-type exposition, but the story was interesting enough and well drawn by Mignola imitators Matt (Day of Judgement (DC)) Smith, Zach Howard and Michael Halblieb. Not sure who did what, although I recognize Smith's style in the opening scene. I added this to my holds folder, and I hope I can scare up a copy of #2 before #3 comes out. If I had reviewed it when it came out, it would have gotten an A-.

I also acquired a set of SANDMAN PRESENTS: LUCIFER 1-3 on eBay, and got them yesterday, FINALLY enabling me to read #3 and finish the story (I already had 1 & 2). It was well worth the wait. Mike Carey was still kinda feeling the character out– you can tell in a uncharacteristic line here or odd plot twist there– but his skills were already strong enough to get this across in smashing form, and he sewed the seeds for many of the storylines that are blooming now, four years later. I hope the Native American girl comes back someday, and knowing Carey I bet she does. Altogether, a strong A.