Saturday, April 24, 2004

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What I bought and what I thought, week of April 21

Detractors will no doubt find more of what bugs them in this issue: lots of talk talk talk, panel after panel of nothing but dark, static, passive art, and for chrissakes nobody dresses up in spandex and throws a punch until the very end! What's a fanboy to do? Well, for starters realize that this is the thinking man's Marvel comic, and the usual rules don't apply...and then appreciate another issue of this smart, sharp, and deeply resonant superhero drama for what it is, and not what conventional "wisdom" says it should be. And, yes, there are some disappointing, but hardly out of character, sexist remarks on the part of Luke Cage, but I've heard and read worse, believe me...and the wary-yet-easy relationship between Cage and our protagonist is one of the most interesting things in this particular issue. I think we should appreciate Bendis' remarkable Daredevil while we can...I'm pretty sure, given the direction Marvel seems to be headed in, he'll be throwing his billy club at the Mandrill and wearing armored shoulder pads again soon enough. A

This title keeps getting better and better, thank goodness, as Kirkman and Moore tug on the heart strings a little, then throw a curveball right at you with a sudden and shocking death that I frankly didn't see coming, and makes the objections I had about the supposed spoilers I saw in the previews of the first Charlie Adlard-illo'ed issue completely irrelevant. It's pretty much established that this title's more about the people than it is about the zombies, kinda like if we really got to know Duane Jones and the people in that house in Night of the Living Dead...and that's OK by far as I'm concened the main appeal is finding out what the heck they're gonna do next. These people are in deep shit, and I don't see a way out for any of them. A

The focus is still on Mazikeen, Elaine Belloc and company, but this one is a lot better because of a newish character they encounter and the resultant spanner that Maz & EB may throw in the works, plus the introduction of another unexpected character at the very end. And just in case we forget who the title character is, we get a brief but interesting interlude which maps out the problem that they all will face in upcoming issues. A solid chapter. A-

All the intriguing ideas presented in issue 1 are developed further in issue 2, and this is promising to be an interesting, imaginative series. Mike Huddleston's art jumps from style to style all over the place, and it's to his credit that he can keep it all consistent. Nice cover, too. I wish I could say more, but I get the feeling that Deep Sleeper's just getting started, and I don't have a good feel for where it's going just yet. A-

All the usual objections apply once again, but after all is said and done Pete Milligan's crafed a nice little thriller here in the last three issues. The ending, once again, threw me for a loop (I think the underlying theme of my comics reading this week was "I didn't see the ending coming"), but all the dramatics ring true, and the action (such as there was) was fast-paced and worked well. As unexpected as this ending was, however, it was equally as unsatisfying- and while I realize life's like that sometimes I still feel that it kinda invalidated everything that set it up. Oh well. Cliff Chiang has made a believer out of me with an outstanding art job, the best I've seen from him yet. So why am I not more enthusiastic about this otherwise fine comics series? Don't know...but I hope to figure it out in the next few issues. A-

Pretty good week for comics, all things considered.

I also got the Love Fights trade, but I'm waiting until next weekend, when my shop has a storewide 25% off sale, to pick it up. Heh heh.