Monday, January 19, 2004

Image Hosted by


What I bought and what I thought, week of January 14, better late than never!

JACK STAFF (Dancing Elephant) 12
My admiration for Paul Grist's work sometimes enables me to overlook things that would drive me crazy in lesser creators' efforts- case in point, the dubious physics behind the bank vault escape in this issue or the non-explanation of how Charlie Raven (the "Greatest Escapologist of the Victorian Age!"- get him in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen right now!) was able to survive 127 years after being drugged and buried alive. But Grist's standard type-and-graphics incorporation, along with his tricky-in-a-fun-way non-linear storytelling style, completely blinds me to such trivial things. I've been waiting for the resolution to this storyline for so long, and my anticipation has built up so much, that I was bound to be a bit disappointed, and I was- this was all tied up a bit too neatly, plus the aforementioned issues tempered my enjoyment somewhat...but you know what? I don't care. This is vibrant, fun, vital storytelling, and everything that's good about comics, specifically "genre" comics. I wish more creators could be "off" as spectacularly as Paul Grist. A

Status quo for this arc. Imaginatively woven plotline by Bill Willingham, with several subplots clamoring for your attention. Each issue, he introduces new characters, some familiar, like Jack Horner, and some which I oughtta know but can't recall (Thrushbeard, the blind "Kay" fellow who can see the evil in people). And it's all made a challenge to read by the hit-and-miss pencils of Mark Buckingham, who never met a human anatomy that he could portray adequately, and the indifferent inks of Steve (where's my paycheck) Leialoha, whom I know can do much better. A-

H-E-R-O 12
Twelve issues in, and sadly this series, which stared so promisingly, has shown signs of running out of steam. This issue takes a less-than-fresh premise, which has been done before in films such as Switch, and makes it as lively as is possible in a PG rated comic book, I suppose, with one or two humorous lines and situations, but it just doesn't add up to a comic that excites me much. Ably illustrated by Leonard Kirk and Wade Von Grawbadger, late of the unlamented-by-my-holds list JSA, and they're as stolidly capable as always. Of course, if I had somehow been magically transformed into a voluptuous female super-being, I know what I'd do- I'd never leave the house! But cheap jokes aside, with this issue the death watch begins. B+

1602 6
Glory be, things actually happen in this issue! And they're actually somewhat diverting! It's as if Gaiman suddenly got excited a few weeks into writing and began to try, and good for him. However, the diagonal lines that are Photoshopped on top of the art, in an effort to make it look old or blurry or somesuch, are still a major annoyance. B