Saturday, October 16, 2004


What I bought and what I thought, week of October 13

Somewhat routine (how many times now have Bendis and Oeming done that tiny-panel-suspect-investigation thing since V1 issue 1?) until the intense last third, which gives us (finally) a really interesting new wrinkle in the ongoing lives of our principal characters, and pushes this issue to the front of a pretty even pack of good-not-great comics. A-

Outstanding follow-up to the not-bad 1st issue as writer Greg Pak continues to expand and refine his concept. Much of this issue is given to philosophical discourse between the title character, the team of scientists who gave him birth (one of which reminds me of Futurama's scientist Professor Wormstrom, for some reason) and the young lady who shaped his visual look; and while it comes dangerously close to a "talking heads"-type story it is, fortunately, leavened by fine dramatics, and Charlie Adlard's art is once again top-notch. Another great read, doomed to indifference. A-

Is it just me, or did it seem like this storyline would go on longer than this? Hasty-seeming, but no less satisfying, conclusion to the story involving a crime scene processor who is prone to remove evidence and sell it on eBay, redeemed by the usual great Lark/Guadino art and, again, well-written dramatics with the leads. Gotta give Rucka, Lark, and co. credit for working the Bat-rogues gallery into the story without actually showing any of 'em, which should pacify the "GC would be a great book if it didn't have the Bat-villains in it" retinue. A-

Gotta give Howie credit for being ambitious- it's a doozy of a conspiracy theory he's cooked up to provide the raison d'etre for the title characters, taking elements from many diverse CT's of the past and jamming them all together. As always, there are elements that are germane to every Chaykin story- in this case, the smug, arrogant, hateful Aryan blonde bad girl ringleader; and this issue is her showcase. A definite improvement from the exposition-heavy issue 4, with lots of fun snarky dialogue, and Chaykin the artist is drawing like he never went away. A-

100 BULLETS 54
One step closer to the resolution of the New Orleans storyline, which is beginning to seem padded and overlong...but at least it's got Dizzy Cordova in it, so it can't be all bad. I won't pretend to know how Azzurello intends to wind this up- hopefully it won't be too convoluted and far fetched. Risso is solid as always. Up till this issue, there had been a strong Miles Davis/Jazz influence, which has led me to rate each issue as a Davis album. This issue gets the aptly named Decoy, a later effort which features very little actual playing by the artist, which correlates to the holding-pattern feel of this story. B+

Snow White, unsurprisingly, gives birth to a litter of half human-half wolf pups in one sporadically amusing set piece while the Fabletown election is decided and the candidates deal with their new status. Involving enough, I guess, especially if you're a regular reader and inclined to care...but I can't help but feel a bit of ennui creeping in in regard to this title. B+

Lotsa bickering and in-fighting as Elite leader Vera Black strives to ascertain the identity of the person who killed the certainly-deserving corrupt ruler last issue. Again, if you're inclined to care about these characters, going back to the ones involved the Kelly/Mahnke/Nguyen run on JLA, like me, you'll be interested. If not, then your mileage may vary. B+

After this, the pat and yawn-inducing resolution to the opening storyline, I'm resigned to the fact that I will just never understand what it is about writer Brian Vaughn that inspires such admiration in many. Some creators you "get", some you don't, and I just don't get what it is that makes Vaughn so special in many eyes. No harm, no foul, I guess. I'm sure the problem's with me, not him. Now artist Tony Harris, his work I've always liked...and while much of it has been very nice, some of it is just too stiff and finicky, with some frankly bizarre facial expressions, and doesn't have the freewheeling flair of his Starman days. This will be my last issue. C+

It's been so long since #2 saw release that I had totally forgotten about this miniseries. Interesting idea by Brian Bendis, about a covert operation involving Latveria, the question of where super-badguys get their weaponry, a group of superheroes including Captain America, Daredevil and Spider-Man, and S.H.I.E.L.D., and the evident wiping of the memory of this action from the minds of most of the participants. Dialogue, fine; character interaction, great; Gabrielle Dell'Otto's art, a bit on the murky side but still well-painted and imaginative. Gotta dock this a notch, though for a very un-cost effective 22 pages of actual story for four dollars; the rest is given to a reproduced excerpt of a phone conversation between fictional characters which doesn't seem to add anything else that we don't already know, and some "behind-the-scenes" art features which would be better served in the inevitable hardcover edition. C+

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