Friday, August 15, 2003

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What I bought and what I thought, week of August 13

Satisfying finale to this overall excellent, if a little stretched-out, limited series. By focusing on the thoughts and feelings of not only Barbara Gordon but the supporting cast as well as opposed to a clever plot or fight scenes or existential angst of some sort or another, writers Dixon and Beatty have done that all-important thing- create sympathy and empathy with the title character. If you can do that, then that's half the battle. The other half is carried by artists Marcos Martin and (especially) inker Alvaro Lopez, previously unknown to me, who do a great job of adhering to the established Year One series Mazzuchelli template but bring their own style into play as well. Just like last issue's subway train scuffle with Blockbuster, again we get a rousing set piece- a somewhat improbable, but no less exciting scene in which Babs pursues and eventually brings down the Killer Moth & Firefly's helicopter. Suspension of disbelief...always talked about but seldom accomplished. If you haven't been picking this series up in "pamphlet" form, then I strongly suggest you get the trade paperback, which I'm sure is coming out soon. A

While I really wish Rucka hadn't resorted to using Two-Face (and to a lesser extent, Batman) in such a prominent manner- I tend to be more involved with the non-superheroish elements of this book- this still was an excellent finale to an excellent arc, and the final scene redeems all. I love the already great relationship between Detective Allen and Josie Mac. Michael Lark has really grown into his comparatively new, looser style. You know, Allen reminds me of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption guy, Michael Wilbon. A

3. FABLES 16
Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Certainly not Bill Willingham, who is doing a marvelous PR job for that oft-maligned huffer and puffer. Although he kinda comes across as a cross between one of Neil Gaiman's Sandman characters and Wolverine as portrayed here, he is still the most interesting character in a large group of interesting characters. In this particular issue Bill zigs when I expect him to zag, and delivers a twist or two I didn't figure on. The art by Buckingham and Leialoha is still doesn't yank my crank, but they have some nice moments. A-

4. POWERS 33
First we get Quest For Fire, then Conan the Barbarian, now Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When Bendis gets around to the Thirties, I anticipate Citizen Kane...or maybe even The Roaring Twenties with Zora in Priscilla Lane's role. Aw, I kid. Actually, the concept Bendis is developing actually works quite well in the context of what's already been established, and this issue makes a lot of things clearer...even though, really, the gist of this issue's story is an argument that's been posited in many different places...Watchmen, Kingdom Come, to name a few of the recent stories that have dealt with similar themes. Bendis doesn't really add much to the debate, but we'll see what happens as this progresses. Mike Avon Oeming has a field day, as does colorist Peter Fantazis, but Oeming should be careful with his panel layouts...not since the halcyon days of Thriller have I been misdirected so often. A-

5. JLA 84
Ask and ye shall receive! All I wanted was to see Kelly, Mahnke and Nguyen back together again, with the League facing a suitably world-threatening menace and a de-emphasis on the heavy-handed political allegory. And lo and behold, that's what we get, and less than a month after last issue's debacle to boot! The menace looks to be a strong and interesting one, but Joe kinda flubs a bit with his usual strong point- characterization, especially in regards to Batman. However, Bats may be suffering from the same malady that all the villains were, so I'll give Kelly a Mulligan. Part one of what promises to be a good 'un. A-

6. H-E-R-O 7
Don't go in for Jackass-type shows myself, nor do I particularly enjoy the company of dumbass fratboys...but I don't mind laughing at them whenever the opportunity presents itself as it does in this amusing, but slight, skewering of that particular sub-sub culture. The art by fill-in guys Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy reminds me a lot of JLA's Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen...and that's a compliment in my book. B+

7. JSA 51
Hector Hall gets a little self-respect on in this effectively handled, though somewhat predictable coda to the events of issue 50. We Legion fans even get a little treat in the form of a puzzling cameo by our favorite 30th century supergroup...but one which features members which aren't part of current continuity. Foreshadowing...or poor research? To coin a phrase- U-Decide! Anyway, almost everything gets tied up somewhat neatly, the bland-when their-run-started but eventually very good Kirk/Champagne art team goes out with a bang, and I'm prepared to bid this book (which I've grown somewhat bored with) a fond adieu...but then they go and throw in a final scene with a JSA splinter group which appears to have some promise. Sigh. Guess I'll wait a while longer. B+

Lu cimapar pohi vufacay hiyo meha bedate. Icinet fesahi lemiyew balaret oyo vu isasale tal tidepih dotulu. Cuto lono wiloca sulog se; givixu mote para narila eti. Omomu bafe cive ta pola eri dilie focu car latolet. Resev otieseh hete lide riwa namez! Anila ube idin cuh careyal cikapet domen iyan; nocene nawiyi tokuyo be tema ter heti ivi. Tetatup dieb mi leracan lofurom socasor xosie tetor. Ihane siciy nagez ge neneci yexay cis sece: Ri cal yusew sibol nodas cahet refuro teni yanoge; itan tilirut abenar icu eloyur. Kamer uni pe. Oricir con nu hier. Osalare viem potirog gare lebi aqaroy rodocif fa! Me doho daditi re sonev mos hanir otayet cu: Dudina imaso efatet cato vitepar lo bareli elamonih! Now you know what my general impression is of almost every issue in this series so far. Oh yeah. The art is quite good and so is the coloring. Clem Robins' lettering is well done, too, but I fail to comprehend why he bothers.C+

I also had the lovely Nicole at my comics shop place Witchblade Animated 1 and 1602 1 in my folder for next week. The more I thought and read about them, the more I decided I wanted to get 'em. I'll review them next week. Better late than never.