Monday, August 23, 2004

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCatch-up time, get it? Ketch-up! Get it? Huh? Between my trip and my hiatus, I have gotten very behind in reviewing comics. I shall now attempt to rectify this and list three weeks' worth in one post. Hold on, here we go...


Best of a so-so week. For once, I enjoyed one of Beto's stories as much as I did Jaime's. "Dumb Solitaire" was a great character study, and cleverly worked in some familiar faces from some of Gilbert's prior opuses. Jaime did an especially fine art job on "Life Through Whispers", and continues to build this Ray/Maggie/Doyle thing to some sort of conclusion, about which I can only guess. A

In which we're introduced to Kaz Kabuishi's somewhat-disagreeable-but-likeable-all-the-same girlish figure of an apparent badass Sci-Fi Western-style mercenary, and get a lesson in Texas Hold'em style poker, all the rage these days. Me, I prefer seven-card stud, a game which makes you concentrate on other players' hands. Looking forward to seeing where this is going. A-

Joe Kelly's trying hard to develop these characters and this concept, and at least to me it's working more often as not. It's not quite rocking my world, but I don't feel like I'm wasting my time, either...especially when I look at the art. B+

About as efficient and as satisfying a reboot as one could hope for, I suppose, especially if one was hoping for that sort of thing. Me, I was hoping for something more along the lines of a well-told Swamp Thing tale, and I suppose this doesn't disappoint- the scripting was sharp if unadventurous and the art wasn't terrible, except when it came to drawing more-or-less normal humans. That being said, I have no further desire to see what happens next. Definitely one to read in a trade collection, in case you're wondering. B+


Very good finale to Ed Brubaker's "Unresolved" story arc, with lots of great character interaction, a fine take on Harvey Bullock, and a typically outstanding art job by Michael Lark. GC isn't going to revolutionize the industry, but it is nice to know that you can read a Bat-book and not have your intelligence insulted. A

Consistently consistent in its consistent excellence. More I shall not say. A

100 BULLETS 52
More in N'Awlins with fave nouveau Minuteman Dizzy Cordova, Wylie Tymes and Agent Shepherd against a background of booze, jazz references, and heavy black ink. Apparently Tymes has a bit of a history in NO and is running afoul of his past while keeping Shepherd forcibly restrained. No clue where this is headed. I would rank this issue, in keeping with the Miles Davis theme, as In A Silent Way, a solid, brilliantly played, often innovative effort-but far from complete as far as the big picture goes. A

After reading three issues of this series, anybody who still thinks that Howard Chaykin wrote the likes of Angel and the Ape, American Century, Bite Club and Forever Maelstrom is either an idiot or just isn't paying attention. It's great to have ya back, Mr. Chaykin. A

Consistently consistent in its consistent excellence. Well, what do you want me to say? OK, since you pressed me I will bitch a little about how this issue seemed to meander a lot. Just a little more conciseness in the conversations would go a long way, Mr. B. A-

Weird War Tales this time in a flashback to Bigby Wolf's involvement in WWII. The pun at the end made this old Universal horror flick fan laugh out loud. Nicely scripted, inconsistently drawn...but inconsistent art is a given with this title, regardless of who's doing it. That doesn't apply to the James Jean covers, by the way, which are always stellar. A-

Yeah, I know that this came out a few weeks prior, but this is when I got it. What can I say. Things just keep on going from bad to worse, and Charlie Adlard is doing a great Simonson impersonation on the art. While it seems kinda brief, it's still consistently consistent in its...oh, you know. A-

Titles like this drive me nuts. For the most part, it's everything its detractors say it is, and that covers a lot of ground. Myself, while I deplore the plot contrivances to which Meltzer has resorted to, I realize that he's just trying to give this spandex slugfest some emotional heft, and make us care- to give us more than another soulless cosmic mishmash like JLA/Avengers, and I think that's a worthy goal. Sucks that he had to step on some fanboy toes in order to do so, I suppose. Despite reading here and there and everywhere about how heinous these events are, and how many plot holes and inconsistencies there are, and its dubious medicine, and the fact that this is just another excuse to show men in tights brawling...I find it an involving and mostly well drawn read, even though apparently I should know better, and still want to know how it all turns out. Guess there's just no accounting for taste. B+

Tischman tries to liven the proceedings up by throwing logic and prior characterization out the window, and the good news and bad news is that he succeeds. Dave Hahn's art is still no less inappropriate, but it's kinda beside the point to complain now. One issue to go. C+


Consistently consistent...oh, all right. All sorts of mythological, theological (same thing, to some), and human-ilogical characters are converging on Yggdrasil, that nutty crazy old World Tree well known to many Thor fans, and Mike Carey has done his best to make the plot threads as gnarly as its roots and branches. Doozy of a cliffhanger, nicely scripted and competently drawn as usual, and all wrapped in a great Mike Kaluta cover. That being said, Kaluta's been infatuated with that symmetrical mirror-image layout thing for a long while now, and I'm beginning to find myself hoping he gets tired of it real soon. A

Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's visual interpretation of the old Neil Sedaka chestnut "Breaking Up is Hard to Do", nicely done but not as resonant or involving (with me, anyway) as last issue. Maybe if I was a bit closer to its target demo-graphic, if you'll excuse the expression, or if I had recently experienced something as awkward and painful as breakups tend to be, I'd be more enthused. But hey, it was still very well executed, the visual equivalent of "uneasy listening", if you will, so you may like- there's something to be said for a tale well told. A-

You know what this book is? See the above review of Sleeper Season Two 2. Bendis haters, which seem to be multiplying like cockroaches, will of course disagree. A-

H-E-R-O 19
Lots of rubble in this one. Not terribly bad, actually, an improvement over last issue's book-long, tiresome extended fistfight, but it's too late to revive my interest. Since this book's kaput in 3 months, I'll stick with and see how it all turns out, I suppose. B+

Retired, has-been superhero is lured out of his garden to face an imminent threat, and life lessons are learned, along with a not-so-subtle nod to those who want to hang on (spiritually) to the comics they loved growing up. What's the old saying? "Physician, heal thyself". As one of the choir he's preaching to, I found this a slight but not-bad giant monster fight tale, rendered just well enough in the sloppy pseudo-Adams stylings of Brent Anderson. B+

This one's going on hiatus, so I don't think I'll be dropping it because I actually enjoyed this one, thanks to the character stuff- he's given us the most likeable (not to mention sexiest) bearded lady in (dare I say) the history of comics, and previous sore spot dialogue by inker Gary Martin was much better too. And Steve Rude is one hell of a mighty, mighty artist, let me just say. B+

The star of this particular show remains artist Tony Harris, who really had been gone from comics for too long. Writer Brian Vaughn is setting everything up slowly but surely, and it's interesting enough to keep me curious about what's going on. I just hope he intends to give us some sort of payoff sooner rather than later. B

This storyline started promisingly, but kinda petered out in abrupt fashion without giving us much insight into any of the issues it raised. Maybe Milligan was concerned about short attention spans, who knows. The normally reliable Javier Pulido seemed somewhat uninspired as well, often giving us slovenly anatomy/perspective (Chris in the pool chair on the second-to-last page, for example) and routine staging. An all-around disappointment, 'cause I thought this was gonna be a good one. C+

To review later: Flight Vol. 1 and three graphic novels I recently received from Mad Yak Press: Texarkana, The Supernaturalists and Subatomic.

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