Monday, September 13, 2004

What I Bought and What I Thought, Week of September 8th

By far the most entertaining and enjoyable comic I read this week. Fast-paced and funny, with jokes flying right and left, much of it directed at convoluted superhero comic time-travel stories. I expect no less from Kyle Baker the writer. My problem lately- and the reason why I initially passed on this- is with Kyle Baker the artist, and the sloppy, Aragones-meets-Kricfalusi oddball style he's developed over the last decade or so along with his straight-outta-a-Dennis the Menace-comic book lettering, not to mention his day-glo, hamfisted coloring. Fortunately, it appears that he's kinda grown into it, or perhaps I'm just growing accustomed- either way, (at least in this issue) it's not a problem. I'm looking forward to reading the first eight and the next few, even as I prepare myself for the inevitable cancellation. A

100 BULLETS 53
Part three of the "Long-haired amnesiac Minuteman Wylie Tymes kicks around New Orleans while Agent Sheppard remains tied to a chair" storyline, difference being that stuff actually happens and characters get developed this time. Two issues in, and I have no clue about what exactly Tymes thinks he's doing, a positive I think, and it's a treat to see Risso and his amazing shadows depict New Orleans and its nightspots. Another outstanding chapter, and in keeping with the Miles Davis/jazz theme this issue is designated In A Silent Way, another strong outing which points at interesting developments down the road. A

Deena's in a real bind this time, as she falls into the hands of a powered thug with a grudge, and neither Walker or the rest of the force has a clue where she is. On top of that, Walker's still dealing with his own past in the form of a young girl that he once rescued, who now has powers of her own and apparently a connection to Retro Girl on top of that. Plus, the powered are beginning to chafe a bit under the worldwide ban imposed upon them. Bendis is doing a typically efficient job of nudging each of these threads along, not as talky as last issue, fortunately. And Mike Avon Oeming once again delivers a solid art job. A

Brubaker gives way to Rucka with this arc, and while I tend to prefer the 'Baker man I think Rucka's gotten off to a strong start with this tale of a shooting in the line of duty gone skewed, and the unscrupulous forensics guy that likes to take objects from the scene and sell them on eBay. As always, outstanding art in that down-to-earth Michael Lark style, and more grubby, muddy, downbeat colors by Lee Loughridge. A-

Our beleaguered group finds refuge with a veterinarian and his extended family, as they seek help for lead Rick's son, who was accidentally shot by one of said family. More outstanding post-apocalyptic soap-operatics, without a single shuffling zombie for once...and funny thing, I didn't even notice until long after reading it. Ably illustrated by Charlie Adlard, who does a nice job of channeling Simonson without appearing too derivative. A-

Well, I prefer Lugosi vs. Chaney when it comes to Frankenstein vs. Wolf Man throwdowns...but this isn't bad. Mostly fun Weird WWII tale, a fill-in to let Buckingham & Leialoha take a break and get caught up, I assume. Nice of writer Willingham to acknowledge the similarities between this two-issue tale and the recent Image-released series Black Forest, of which I was unaware until my friend Mik Cary pointed it out the other day. B+

Conclusion to this 4-issue limited series, a wee bit hard to follow with all its metaphysics flying around but satisfying nonetheless. Doesn't quite hit the same emotional highs of #3, but it doesn't really need to because your sympathies are firmly in place. Mike Huddleston does a bang-up job of depicting the frenzied action swirling all around the more calm one-on-one final stand between our hero and the nutjob guru who opposes him. Don't know if I enjoyed this enough to be moved to buy any further installments in the Deep Sleeping one's saga, but I'm glad I read this one. B+

Howard Chaykin takes about 6 pages to make explicit what most of us who are paying attention figured out two issues ago, and that mars this issue somewhat. Still, nicely drawn as usual, there's the usual quota of Chaykinish snarky dialogue, and it does move the proceedings along I'll give this a B+ and hope for better next time.

Speaking of Chaykinish snark, here's a passable approximation of it in this, the final issue of this mostly dull limited series about a Goodfellas-style bloodsucking family. Lots of fighting, explosions, double crosses (no pun intended) and a really-out-of-left-field finale makes this a bit more lively than the previous five would suggest, and redeems this somewhat after all is said and done. The art was all wrong, and I wish there had been more bite (ouch, I'm full of puns today) in the script, but if you happen across the inevitable trade collection someday at a substantial discount, you could do a lot worse than to pick this up. B. Entire series: C+.

Later: three books from Atomeka Press, including Totally Bricktop, The Dave Johnson Sketchbook, and A1: Big Issue O. Also, The Supernaturalists.

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