Saturday, June 14, 2003

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What I bought and what I thought, week of June 11!

I had a fat stack this time around, and there wasn't a stinker in the bunch. On a lesser week, any in the bottom four could have been in the top five.

I think perhaps it would have been wiser to pare this 9-issue limited series to perhaps seems a bit stretched out. But why do I rank this #1 every time out? It's the personal touches that writers Beatty and Dixon keep throwing in: Jim Gordon's peevish exchange with Robin, the back and forth between the Bugs, and Barbara and Jason Bard's hospital encounter are all written true, and there's been a refreshing lack of contrivance and the usual superheroic posturing throughout. And if a man can fall in love with an ink style, I think I'm smitten with Alvaro Lopez' slender, but nuanced and expressive line. A

While I'm not crazy about Mark Buckingham's art, it serves adequately. Art's not the point with this book, anyway– it's the paces Bill Willingham puts his rethought fairytale characters through and he's set all this up beautifully. A

It kinda bugs me that I didn't notice that there were two sets of artists on this interesting (for once) Elseworlds book. Guess it's because I haven't seen Dave Johnson interiors all that much. A bit disappointing, but still well done. Fortunately, I like Killian Plunkett's work too. A

Here's where not being a regular Bat-book reader bites me on the ass because I'm just not familiar with the relationship between the characters in this issue's cliffhanger ending. Oh well, it's a minor thing– this is still outstanding police drama, well illustrated as usual. A

H-E-R-O 5
One small, but annoying thing about the beginning of the new arc is that the principal character is much less likeable than the previous arc's principal, so the rooting interest just isn't there for me. But even so, this super-heroes-meets-American Beauty-style storyline looks like it's going to be as well thought out as its predecessor so it's all good so far. A-

Somewhat low-key but satisfying finale to the storyline in which the Grrls give up drug dealing and get real jobs. Overall, this has been an amusing, effective series and Jim Mahfood's angular art style grows on you after a while. I hope we see more one of these days. A-

JSA 49
Well done superhero slugfesting, with more characters than you can shake a Star-staff at and the best art job yet by Leonard Kirk and Keith Champagne, just in time to get dismissed from the book after next issue. The scenes with Billy Batson, Stargirl and the Shade continue to be highlights, and there's an intriguing twist to the Eclipso storyline as well. Oh well. One more issue to go! Will I change my mind about dropping this book? Stay tuned...A-

Yes, I know that the current plotting conceit will be very important down the road. But that doesn't make last issue or this one any easier to sit through. At least there's dialogue this time around, but overall this is a well-drawn (although Oeming slips a bit in the climactic battle scene) but dull sword-and-sorcery yarn. I think it was Warren Ellis that said if people wanted to read this sort of thing then Marvel would still be publishing Conan, wouldn't they? B+

Somebody slapped an old Invisibles cover on this one. I gave up trying to figure out the deeper significance of all this a long time ago, so I'm just gonna enjoy the purty colored pictures and hope that this will all come together at the end like Grant's Flex Mentallo series did. That's one of the best comics series ever published, in my own humble opinion. Parts of this issue reminded me of David Cronenberg's Videodrome, a compliment in my book...B+

I'm beginning to be ashamed of myself for continuing to be a voyeur to the ongoing heartbreak, tragedy and overall bad stuff that Terry Moore puts his characters through. It's like that old saying about passing by a car wreck– you are horrified, but you can't not stare. And yes, he's as pretentious as ever while he's torturing both his leads and his readers– but he's so darn effective at it that I read in spite of myself. Is there a twelve-step program somewhere I could take part in? B