Sunday, January 04, 2004

Image Hosted by


What I bought and what I thought, week of January 2!

Ol' Conjob has unwittingly been duped into unleashing a Big Bad into the world, and in the process has pissed off and alienated his friends, fellow mystics (nice Phantom Stranger cameo- he should at least be happy that he didn't get his shoes pissed on, like the last time he guested) and latest girlfriend, leaving him all alone to combat the menace. Of course, to longtime readers this is nothing new- the "darkest before the dawn" scenario has been a Constantine staple since the Moore Swamp Thing days. The difference is the great pacing, characterization and dialogue Mike Carey uses, and the great synergy he has going with artist Marcelo Frusin, the most sympathetic collaborator he's had this side of Jon Jay Muth. Hate to say it, but doesn't JC look a bit like Bonnie and Clyde sidekick Michael J. Pollard on the cover? A

I don't think I'm giving too much away when I say that this issue is Warren Ellis' sequel to Wells' From the Earth to the Moon, and it's mighty clever and even a wee bit sad, if a bit on the far-fetched side. But hey, it's not like we look to Planetary for gritty realism anyway. Most interesting to me were the back-and-forth between Elijah Snow and John Stone and the fast-paced takedown of the Four's William Leather, which was the only action scene to be found this time out. Wonderfully illustrated by John Cassaday, as usual, especially in the sequence showing the iron sphere crashing to earth. A

The penultimate chapter of this Mad Magazine meets Tolkien Top 10 spinoff continues in pretty much the same vein as the previous three: clever Alan Moore script and fun Zander Cannon art, albeit with a few less Easter eggs than we've come to expect and a bit lighter tone than last issue's. This will read really well when it's collected, so if you're on the fence about getting it when it comes out, then please keep my recommendation in mind when it does. A-

Thanks to my good friend, Mik Cary aka the Stupid Llama, for selling me his copy! Anyway, I gotta say this isn't half bad (and a definite improvement over last year's awful JB one-shot)...Paul Dini takes the moldy cliche of "Santa's ill...and Christmas will be canceled unless somebody can make his run for him!" and enlivens it with the standard JB cast, plus a couple of welcome new additions. His efforts are almost sunk, though, by the slapdash, apparently-reproduced-from-pencils art of one Jose Garabaldi. Even though his work was very hard to follow sometimes, he does have a deft hand with facial expressions, especially Jing's, and while my initial reaction was disgust I eventually got my bearings and came to tolerate, if not particularly like, it. If nothing else, it was as lively as the script, so all in all I'd say it worked. But next year, Santa, I want Stephen DeStefano back. B+

While this is a definite improvement over last issue's snooze-fest, and a full 25 pages of Chris Sprouse/Karl Story art (try as I might, I can't ID where they swiped the cover) is always welcome, it's pretty obvious that Alan Moore's departure has robbed this book of whatever spark it had. I'll buy till the inevitable cancellation or Sprouse leaves, whichever comes first, but I'll always regret the way this book turned out, because it had so much promise at the beginning. B+

Well, it's been proven that Kurt Busiek can be a real good writer when he's not churning out formulaic junk, and in the past his Astro City series has been the proof...but this mini-series, and in particular the last two issues, have proven that his attention is occupied with making a buck and he's spreading himself too thin. Derivative in every possible way, and sloppily illustrated by the overrated Brent Anderson, this story of a lawyer who tangles with the Mob and the ghostly vigilante who is striking fear into the criminal element of 70s Astro City was readable (Busiek's too talented for it not to be) but unexceptional, like this entire miniseries- with the exception of one issue which was a clever play on the old Superman/Lois/secret identity cliche. And one issue does not a five-issue mini make. This issue: C Entire series: C+