Friday, May 30, 2003

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What I bought and what I thought, week of May 28

The last three issues of this title have been significantly more involving than the previous 16, which suggests that Ed Brubaker is simply much better at low-key dramatics than fast and furious action. Of course, it also helps to have a collaborator as gifted and sympathetic as Javier Pulido, no knock on the previous illustrators, some of whom are excellent in their own right. Cam Stewart has a hard act to follow, 'cause he (and Darwyn Cooke, too) have been upstaged. A

Now this is as good as it gets these days when it comes to fast and furious action. It takes more than dropping your action in page-wide panels to acheive a true widescreen feel, and the Hitch/Neary duo have it down cold. Plus, it's got to make it easier when you have a scripter providing you sharp and intelligent events to drop in those panels. A

I'm fairly sure that Warren Ellis most likely wrote this maxi-series in advance, quite possibly before artists were assigned...but his scripts, with their inimitable terse, menacing dialogue is simply so much better when a strong illustrator's at the helm that it makes me wonder. Chris Sprouse and Karl Story, longtime favorites of mine, have melded perfectly with Warren to make this the best entry in this series so far- even though the ending was a little rushed and was a bit too tidy for my taste. And that's been another reoccuring theme so far in this series. Oh well, this is still an excellent book and I kinda wish that Sprouse and Story could just do the next three issues and to heck with the artist-go-round. A

Well, the big plot twist in this one kinda left me scratching my head as to why and wherefore but otherwise this was another outstanding issue. It was great to see Marcelo Frusin back on the art chores- I've come to regard his John as second only to Steve Dillon and Sean Phillips. Also nice to see JC and the Swamp Thing have a little tete-a-tete, and makes me think it would be nice to see Mike Carey try his hand on ol' Swampy if he's looking to add a third book. A-

5. JLA 81
There's some bitching about the direction of this book on the internet, but I'm enjoying this three-part story just fine and actually think it's Kelly at his most focused. The art by fill-in artist Duncan Rouleau and Aaron Sowd is significantly better this issue as well, prompting me to wonder if some words (or constructive criticism) might not have been exchanged between pages of #80 and this issue. Anyway, I have no complaints this time out but I'm also looking forward to the return of regulars Mahnke and Nguyen. A-

6. INHUMANS v6 1
I usually enjoy Inhumans stories, of course depending on the creators, so I decided to pick this up even though I hadn't pre-ordered a copy. Wish I could say that I was handsomely rewarded, but this is not the strongest or freshest of premises and the art is somewhat awkward and bland. Still, it's readable and will hopefully get better. B+

7. LEGION 20
I'm not sure how wise it is to totally derail the train of your storyline with a silly and pointless book-length dream sequence, no matter how many nods to prior Legion history DnA jam in. Kinda comes across as padding for a hoped-for trade paperback which, given DC's corporate indifference to this book, is hardly a given unless Abnett & Lanning know something they're not sharing- since as most people who follow this sort of thing know, DC's way behind in collecting the Abnett/Lanning/Coipel Legion run so far. I suppose if you've got to have filler, for God's sake make it well drawn filler and current artists Chris Batista and Mark Farmer are certainly living up to their end of the bargain. So I consider this a misstep, but it's early and the jury's still out on this arc. C+