Sunday, February 29, 2004

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What I bought and what I thought, week of February 25

"Tremble before the might of Ghidorah!" "You do not need to wait for me, I've been here since yesterday.' 'Cute'." "I think someone may have reactivated the Max identity." "That's what you call 'the path of least resistance'." The first two of these dialogue snippets represent moments which made me laugh. The second two represent cliched paths avoided. Nine times out of ten, when you put these things together in a comic book, you hook me. Excerpt no. 3, in particular, represents a nifty twist on a twist that I didn't see coming. Lots going on- and this is just part one! It's troubling, though, that sales seem to be so low for this series- hopefully, many out there have been won over by the trade. Hopefully, 'cause I'm not ready for this to be over just yet! A

Mostly satisfying conclusion to John's most recent world-threatening crisis, with a couple of surprising moments and a nice overall art job by Marcelo Frusin, whose art beginning to look a lot like Pete Snejbjerg's to me. Marred slightly by the feeling that this whole arc was pretty much a teaser for the upcoming Swamp Thing monthly, and a pat resolution that seemed like something that was too big to pull off as quickly and easily as it was. A-

Fresh off all the attention I've been paying to David Bowie's music, we get introduced to another kind of "star man", who is a pawn in monster Magellan's scheme to revenge himself on our protagonists, the Nick and Nora Charles-esque Adam and Julia Kadmon and thier immediate family. John Rozum seems to be in the same sharp groove as he was in the MM limited series of two years ago, and he has an artist in Paul Lee who's capable, in his somewhat stiff but well rendered style, reminiscent of the artwork found in Gold Key horror comics of the early 60s, of visualizing some of Rozum's more outre ideas such as this issue's glory hand ghost. Another pretty darn good concept and title that isn't selling in big numbers. A-

No Alan Moore, no Chris Sprouse- this is gonna be terrible, right? Uh...not exactly. Against all odds, Geoff Johns (of all people) and John Paul Leon have crafted a pretty darn good story about a Bad Luck Schleprock type that comes to Milennium City, determined to make friends with our hero. This story had the feel of what Moore was doing early on when he launched his ABC line, and I enjoyed it much more than I expected. Leon's art would seem to be totally unsuited to this sort of character, but he reins in his sloppy tendencies and gives us a nice job. Slight, but enjoyable. B+

Typically convoluted ending to this typically convoluted arc, with more characters blasting and hitting and talking per panel than any comic this side of JLA/Avengers. And as with that series, in 1978 this sort of storyline would have been a gas, but in 2004 it just comes across as sort of quaint. Sound and fury, signifying nothing as the saying goes. C+


I like the Thessaly character, but I have to say that I was mostly disappointed in this mini series, which was readable but not particularly captivating. In #'s 3 and 4, Thess tracks down the beings that sicced a supernatural menace on her in issue 1, and deals with them in perfunctory manner- mostly shown in single panel illustrations with lots of narrative explaining what was going on. Not exactly a gripping, thrill-laden read, and it almost read like a first chapter or teaser for something- most likely Fables, with all its myriads of mythological and legendary characters, which writer Bill Willingham launched not long after this was published. Shawn McManus' art was better here than in the latest ongoing (issue 2 out next week!), probably due to Andrew Pepoy's inks. Too bad Pepoy's not on board for the current series. Anyway, glad I read 'em, but I don't recommend this particular mini to anyone unless you're a Gaiman completist. These issues: #3, C+; #4, B+; entire series: C+

Early stuff from Paul Grist, which bears little resemblence to the style he's in now. Mostly, these are inconsequential slice-of-life stories, some with an unusual twist here or interesting character there, and mostly serve as a look at where these creators were early in their career. Don't know if I'll get the next issues in the series; God knows I love Grist's work but I'm not inclined to be a completist over it. B