Saturday, December 06, 2003

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What I bought and what I thought, week of DECEMBER 3!

Alan Moore is bowing out of comics, and in particular his ABC line, and I think it should be obvious to all that Promethea, not League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is the title that is closest to his heart because he's using it as a platform to turn out the lights and lock up before he goes. Nearly all the ABC characters have cameos, except the Top 10 cast, and they're all involved in trying to prevent Prom from bringing about the end of everything as we know it in what's shaping up to be science (represented by Tom Strong, Jack B. Quick (in an amusing scene), and the other ABC characters) versus imagination and faith conflagration, and who knows what will happen, besides Moore of course. And if that wasn't enough, we get the answer to a major mystery that's been a subplot of this book since its inception, quite out of the blue. Story aside, we also get the latest in a series of incredibly innovative artistic exercises from the J.H. Williams / Mick Gray team, who seem to outdo themselves every time out. Make no mistake, this is not a reader-friendly narrative, and it's not one of those "good jumping-on points" that you hear so much about. Moore's writing this, and the next five issues (I assume) for those of us who have been along for the ride from the beginning. Buy the trades, and get caught will be worth your time and money. A

For some strange reason, I had the voice of Jerry Lewis from The Nutty Professor in my mind as I read much of this all-stops-out battle issue. You know- "Always with the hitting and the explosions and the lightning and the arrgh and the ugh and the bang and the pow". Or something like that. Anyway, this was exciting to read, and there were a couple of nice character scenes for Thor and Iron the Hitch/Neary art was as solid as ever. But I'm docking this a notch for the feeling of padding; I mean geez, wasn't twelve issues enough to wind this arc up- and the dumbass jingoistic French-baiting joke Millar had Cap spout. That and the crass (but not unsurprising- they've mistreated him since issue 1, it seems) treatment of Bruce Banner kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. A-

Here's another series as a whole that felt padded-out, a six-issue one, no less- and this issue in particular was talky, talky, talky to the point of being tiresome. One has to wonder whether FKATJL wouldn't have been better served in a one-shot format. Anyway, overall this wasn't a total disaster, in fact was funny more often as not despite the meandering script; Kevin Maguire can still draw curled lips as well as he could twenty years ago, and I'm glad there will be another mini upcoming, but c'mon fellas, tighten it up some next time. B+ Entire series: A-

With all the talk going on around about how to bring a more diverse (and consequently larger numbers of buyers) audience to comics, especially young kids and teenage girls, we now have this as a shining example of the shortcomings of the direct marketing system and the wrongheaded mindset of those making the decisions at the highest levels. This title, which wouldn't have been out of place as a Disney Channel series and would seem to be a natural for just those demographics, or the Buffy crowd, sold so poorly that what was originally announced as a six issue series was truncated to five, and as a result will most likely not be collected and placed in bookstores, where one would think that it could reach the audience that would appreciate it most. I sincerely hope that the DC braintrust didn't think that the spandex-loving fanboys would be fact, I'm really surprised this saw print at all (maybe favors were owed), and have to wonder exactly what DC expected the audience to be when it was...and it 's definitely not encouraging when they do put out something slightly different and no one cares. For once, it wasn't so bad to read a book concerned with adolescent power fantasies, but I suppose because the empowered in question were teenage girls, then that just wasn't cool. Oh well. This issue in particular wasn't too bad, all things considered, and came across as a tad disjointed because of losing one whole issue to develop the script. It was also nice to see Jason Bone back on inks for a great deal of it. Bad Girls was a very well-drawn but unassumingly scripted little series that wasn't a whole lot of fun but was pleasant enough, and deserved a fairer shake than it got. Soon to be a fixture in quarter bins within two years, and may even get a cult following someday. This issue: B. Entire series: B+