Saturday, June 05, 2004

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What I bought and what I thought, week of JUNE 3!

It's pretty easy to say that this series is by far the most effective Hellboy spinoff yet because of the presence of Mignola, and his somewhat singular writing voice. While many fine writers have attempted, and some have done very well, no one can get just the right scripting tone like he can. Plus, it's a continuation of one of the more compelling HB storylines, the very first one. But I think that what has really gotten this particular endeavor across, to me, anyway, is the outstanding art job that Guy Davis has done, wonderfully abetted by the vivid hues of colorist Dave Stewart. Between this and The Nevermen, Davis has really been on a hot streak. Not coincidentally, he's also finally figured out how to draw women that don't look like Howard Cosell. Of course, this is not perfect: sure, a major cast member dies at the end of this issue, but if you think this m.c.m. is gonna stay dead then I have some choice property I'd like to sell you. But that's a minor quibble, and hopefully next issue we'll find out for sure. B.P.R.D.: A Plague of Frogs is proof, at long last, of what many of us longtime Hellboy fans suspected: that there are good, interesting tales to be told about the supporting cast. Took 'em long enough! A-

Now, I haven't been a regular Swamp Thing reader since the middle of Rick Veitch's ill-fated run back in -what?- 1986?, so I may be jumping to a wrongish conclusion- but isn't this little Swampy vs. Téfe vs. Abby vs. John Constantine tango essentially the same thing that's been played out by every subsequent writer since Alan Moore pulled up his roots and shambled elesewhere? There have been a lot of writers that have tried their hand at this title, and it seems that every time I'd idly pick up a copy, this (or variations on it) would be going on. Sure, we have a few wrinkles, this time out- and not all of them on Sargon's Professor Farnsworth-like body- but there's a "been-there, fought-that" feeling that keeps nagging at me even as I enjoy Andy Diggle's otherwise fine writing. Dialogue's great, especially with John Constantine (who it would seem Diggle was born to write, his tepid Lady Constantine notwithstanding) and Téfe, and the dramatics are just right, not too maudlin but still affecting. The usual Enrique Breccia complaints apply- wonderful mood and horrifying imagery, but the human form (especially the female) is a challenge. I think I'm willing to stay with this despite the deja vu because I honestly believe Diggle (and hopefully Wil Pfiefer after him) intends to go in a different direction after the preliminaries are over. We'll see. B+

That's it! Light week, huh! Like I had hoped, the new Mojo magazine came out, which meant that I didn't have eight bucks attached to one of my usual twenty-something dollar purchase weeks. Morrisey's on the cover, not exactly an enticement for me because I've never been a Smiths fan at all, but there's a nice previously unpublished Lennon NYC photo gallery, an article on Graham Nash (an artist that I find interesting in spite of himself), and Morrissey-inspired lists of the 100 most miserable songs ever recorded in various musical genres. As always, good readin'.

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