Friday, June 20, 2003

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What I bought and what I thought, week of June 18


Alan Moore is at his multiple-layered best, blending not only his ABC universe (heretofore previously unseen in these pages) into the current ongoing storyline, but also introducing some commentary about recent world events at the same time. As always, the Williams/Gray art team is stellar; especially the way they draw Moore's pulp hero homage Tom Strong and his family as being slightly less realistic than protagonist Sophie Bangs and her surroundings. Special mention should go as well to colorist Jeromy Cox, who colors the book entirely in monochromatic hues until the last page, and creates a feeling of apprehension and oppression by doing so. It's not often a colorist has such a strong effect on a book. There's usually always a lot going on in Promethea, but it's been a while since I've looked forward to the next issue as much as I am right now. A
It's nice to see that Mike Carey isn't spreading himself too thin, which is what I feared might happen when he started writing Hellblazer. Fortunately, instead we now have two great books written by the best writer in comics today not named Alan Moore. The dual storylines continue, we get even more of a reason to sympathize with our protagonist, and there's a cliffhanger ending which I don't think will stand for a minute but I don't see a way out of. Art-wise, fine but Gross and Kelly don't illustrate the Tsuki-Yomi scenes nearly as effectively as Dean Ormston does. Just my opinion. A
This series keeps getting better as we keep finding out more about Holden Carver's past and the noose keeps tightening on his present. I like the camraderie between Carver and the Genocide character, ably gotten across by the great Sean Phillips. The coloring, a liability early on, is once again excellent. A
Bendis continues to put Matt Murdock through the wringer as he strives to maintain his not-so-secret identity with minimal cost to his friends and loved ones. Well written as always, and I especially liked Luke Cage here...but the script, which is 1/2 fight scene, doesn't play to Alex Maleev's strengths until the end, a teté-a-teté between the Kingpin and an old acquaintance, annoyingly drawn to look like his movie incarnation. A-
This penultimate issue was delayed for a long while, but it's worth the wait. Robert Morales has hit all the right notes script-wise, and handles the interrogations of Isiah Bradley by Hitler and Goebbels and modern-day Phillip Merritt by Captain America with razor-sharp dialogue and smarts. Kyle Baker's art is still too sloppy and loose for me to fully embrace it, but he still does an above average job, much tighter than when this series began, almost as if his enthusiasm increased with each issue. I'll be watching Morales's projects in the future, for sure. A-
This one had me for a while until the Man Ray cameo caused a major speed bump. It's a noble ambition to want to enlighten your audience about the great artists of the early 1900's, but it needs to be done with more subtlety and not Lucy-show style cameos. You remember, Lucy would get into some scrape or be visiting a movie set or something, then some actor would amble in stage left and Lucy would gasp in amazement "It's JOHN WAYNE! Oh my goodness!!". This is the only way this Jason Hall can think of to shoehorn these real people in his work of fiction and it's as obvious as a wine stain on a white tablecloth. Otherwise, a bit of an improvement over the previous two issues; the dialogue has less exposition and sounds more natural. Art-wise, I still think Cliff Chiang is a bit overrated by many, but he does illustrate the events in capable but unremarkable fashion. The coloring by Dave Stewart is, again, very nice– lots of reds, golds, blues and muted greens. But nobody buys comics for coloring, do they... B-

I also picked up CLOCK MAKER 4 but I haven't read it yet because I haven't been able to get #3. I'm told it's coming from another store.