Monday, February 09, 2004

With the preceding post in mind, here are some comments on the comics I bought in the last two weeks. I probably won't go into too much depth, since there are a lot of 'em, but I wanted to put my two centavos worth in just the same.

Books I picked up the week of January 27, alphabetically:

GLOBAL FREQUENCY 11: This book has been such a rollercoaster ride, and has been most enjoyable when Warren Ellis gets an artist who's able to effectively realize and spice up the often formulaic scripts he writes for this series. This issue we get Jason Pearson, an artist we don't get to see nearly enough of if you ask me, and he does a stellar job of illustrating a tale which is just a bit different from what he's established previously, detailing an attack on Global Frequency HQ and focusing on the coordinator Aleph. A definite peak in this up and down series. A

HELLBLAZER 192 A couple of guest appearances from the DC/Vertigo supernatural stable make this even more enjoyable, and this arc has been pretty darn enjoyable anyway. Mike Carey is proving that he can spread himself as thin as he likes, with no decline in quality. Makes him sound like peanut butter, doesn't it? A-

LEGION 29 I've really grown quite tired of this title. Too much superheroics and convoluted pseudo-science. It's mostly well drawn, but this once-promising book is dying on the vine. I'll be dropping it after this arc concludes. C+

THE LOSERS 8 Well, I liked this one, which is essentially an episodic look at the individual characters, all dealing with their individual pursuits, in between (I assume) missions which will resume next issue when the regular artist Jock comes back. There's not a lot of explanations regarding who's who and why they're what they are, but that's OK-I like Andy Diggle's handling of this type of story a lot more than his lackluster turn on Lady Constantine, and he has an affinity for this sort of action/caper movie type thing. I remain an admirer of the art of fill-in Shawn Martinbrough, who did a typically great job of illoing this and last issue. Hope to see more from him very soon. I think he needs a regular title again. A-

MIDNIGHT, MASS: HERE THERE BE MONSTERS 1 Ther original Midnight, Mass limited series, detailing the adventures of Nick-and-Nora Charles-ish supernatural menace fighters Adam and Julia Kadmon was very enjoyable, despite its troubled behind-the-scenes story of editorial interference and a lackluster artist. This second try gives us a much better artist, and is still a fun read despite some very dire and surprisingly violent goings-on within. Good start. A-

POWERS 36 Now here's a title which issue in and issue out is very well drawn and always tightly written, and I think gets taken for granted because of it. This, the finale of not only this title's first run (a relaunch is planned, with the next issue being V2 #1, I believe) but the most recent story arc is very strong and explains a lot about not only main protagonist Christian Walker, but the world he inhabited before we met him. And no ads! I wanna know more about the interesting-looking villianess with the black spandex suit and the green pigtails...but I won't hold my breath. A

WALKING DEAD 4 This is as well done as always, with nicely dialogued scripting and carefully detailed art...but this is still, when you get right down to it, a soap opera. Granted, it's a soap opera with zombies shuffling around in the background, but's 99 1/4 percent pure soap just the same. And while there's nothing wrong with that, I could use a little less of the daytime drama and a little more of the stuff like the frantic escape from the gun shop in the city. And this being said, I'm still not sure where this is all going and I'm sure as shootin' gonna stick around long enough to find out. B+

WANTED 2 Here's another one of those books that gives me the feeling that there's a hell of a lot more going on in, subtext-wise, that I'm able to see after a couple of reads. It goes without saying that it's beautifully illustrated- J.G. Jones is great. And you can't help but get caught up in the delirious glee with which Millar shows us the sordid details of our protagonists indoctrination into the world of the super-criminal. And if all the "fuck you"s are a little too reminiscent of Michael Douglas in Falling Down, well, that's OK, they're still kinda fun, albeit mostly bad-style fun and the influence is blended smoothly. So what I'm trying to say is that I'm enjoying Wanted, but I keep asking myself "Is this all there is? What am I missing?"... A-

Comics purchased week of February 4, in alphabetical order:

I've become something of a CC fan in the time since #1 came out, having acquired and read the trade collections of the first two limited series in that interval. It's winning fantasy in that Harry Potter tradition, but isn't especially imitative of any particular source and is often very clever. This issue is no exception, as Courtney gets involved with a group of magically-empowered schoolmates who cast a spell on one of their number, transforming him into one of the "night things", which means that in order to restore the kid's humanity, she'll have to deal with the titular Kingdom, which is never a safe thing to do. I knew creator Ted Naifeh was a fine illustrator from his past work, but I had no idea that he could be such an effective and clever writer as well. I firmly believe that this is one of the best fantasy series coming out these days and is very underrated by almost everyone. A

MY FAITH IN FRANKIE 2 This enjoyable series takes a couple of unexpected turns this time out, with relationships between the four principal characters taking a turn for the worse, perhaps, and a whole different background for the entire series than I anticipated after reading #1. I'm really coming to admire the clever and energetic work of penciller Sonny Liew, and as always any Marc Hempel, even inks only, is always welcome. A-

SANDMAN PRESENTS: THESSALY, WITCH FOR HIRE 1 I was familiar with Neil Gaiman's petite Thessalonian witch from his Sandman run, but declined to pick up her previous showcase miniseries, probably because I wasn't all that impressed with the art. But even though the same artist returns for this second try, I'm more inclined to be interested this time because I've come to appreciate what writer Bill Willingham's up to in Fables, and am curious to see whether he can bring the same smart blend of real-world and fantastic to another series. McManus isn't terrible, far from it, but his style never seems to be comfortable with itself; it's often too cartoonish to be realistic and too realistic to be cartoonish, and as a result is neither here nor there and just sort of lies there on the page. He has a real problem with anatomy as well and draws some of the most awkward action sequences I've seen in a while. Oh well, I'm still interested, since this issue does little more than introduce the players and sets up the plot of what I assume will be the bulk of the next three. I hate to bail on 4-issue series, anyway, and the covers are stellar. B.

And since I'm trying to make this an all-for-one, one-for-all comics post, here's what I'll be getting Wednesday, according to the Diamond shipping list:
(I hope- I still haven't got #15 yet!)
H-E-R-O #13
(Actually, I won't be buying this- I won a set of the first 6 issues on eBay, for only a buck more than this trade would cost)
1602 #7

And that's all! Really, the only one I'm looking forward to much is the new Fables...but you never know about Hellboy: Weird Tales. I have a copy of the new Mojo magazine put back for me, too, so I'll probably pick that up in place of the Losers trade.

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