Sunday, November 21, 2004

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What I bought and what I thought, week of November 17!

Daisy finally gets to pull the big train job, but gets into (naturally) more than she bargained for. All in all, Kazu Kibuishi gives us a tightly written chapter three, with a minimum of character stuff and an exciting fight on the train, really well illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi the artist, who annoys me sometimes with his propensity to draw literally square chins, a quirk which stands out like a sore thumb in his otherwise deft cartooning style. The back feature, featuring one of the smaller, less deadly robots seen in the main story and done by some "Rad" somebody or another, is drawn well enough but didn't make a lot of sense. Best of a somewhat lackluster week, and for all I know it actually came out a couple of weeks ago...but I got mine last Wednesday, hence its inclusion this week. A-

Here's another title which came out a week or two ago; but I got this to complete my run after I won issues 1 through 8 in an eBay auction. I've found this to be an interesting twist on Hebraic folklore, and writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have done a surprisingly good job of writing the character stuff. This is the most recent issue to date, and in it we find out the aftermath of an HIV test for the two modern-day leads (there are lead characters shown in flashback as well), not a happy one, of the title character gets to throw down with a golem made of iron. I plan on writing a stand-alone post soon, with my opinions on all nine (the tenth may come out before I do, but I hope not!), so I'll go into more depth then. But for now, I am very interested in this unfortunately lame-duck book, and this was another strong chapter. A-

Again, very little screen time for Lucifer himself and a lot more for his devoted servant/warrior Mazikeen, as she has an issue long, relevant-to-advancing-the-current-plot dialogue with her mother Lilith. If you've been following along to this point, another well-done chapter. If not, well, you may not agree- but this book is too complex and too far along to be constantly backtracking now, so too bad for you. Go get the trades, they're great and you'll know what's going on now. As usual (except for last issues excellent Marc Hempel fill-in), competent, if not especially inspired, art by the Peter Gross/Ryan Kelly team. A-

We check in on "As The Zombie Staggers" in back-to-back weeks, as our harried band of survivors moves in to the prison facility that they found by chance last issue...and makes a surprising discovery. Y'know, I'm just not excited about this book anymore- it's so unrelentingly gray and downbeat that I just don't look forward to reading it. I still have a vague curiosity about what's at the bottom of all of it, and hope someday that writer Kirkman gets around to explaining- unlikely to happen anytime soon 'cause it's selling well enough to where Image will let this go on and on for a long while. Knowing this, I can begin to feel my patience fade away, and this is looking like the next book I drop. But not just yet- I want to find out what the deal is with what they find in the aforementioned prison. B+

H-E-R-O 22
Mildly disappointing finale to the big Robby Reed storyline, and the series as a whole. On the one hand, it was nice to see a lame-duck series actually get some closure...or at least a somewhat decisive ending, something which would have been nice for many of the great cancelled series of years past- Helfer/Baker Shadow; Chase, Young Heroes In Love, anybody? But on the other, the plot twists weren't all that twisty, the dramatics were kinda overblown, and I can't help but think that this was a four-issue story stretched out to six-ish. I also was disappointed that poor Joe the Electro-Woman didn't get a satisfying resolution to his/her story like all the other characters did. Wile I didn't love the last 19 issues as much as I did the first three, after all is said and done, at the end of the day, and other cliches, this was a mostly well-done comic, often fun, and it's too bad that it got canned. B+

Finale to the storyline in which Chris Chance impersonates some sort of young cult leader/religious figurehead/faith healer, which sees Pete Milligan pushing all the familiar buttons that he's hammered repeatedly for the late 15 issues, and for me at least the returns have diminished to the point that this will be the last issue I buy. I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is about Milligan's Target that leaves me cold, and for the answer I think I have to go all the way back to the 70's and the original Len Wein/Dick Giordano version of the character, who did the same thing Milligan's Chance does, but without all the overwrought angst...and those adventures were just plain old a lot more fun and interesting to read in their 70's non-conflicted simplicity. Milligan's Target is so dreadfully earnest and sincere and ponderous, that reading each issue almost sucks all the air out of the room. Fun is not in Milligan's agenda- he wants us to really identify with a man who impersonates others for a living and loses his own identity in the process, and while I have nothing against psychodrama per se, even when mixed in with modern action-thriller cliches, what I do have a problem with is plunking down 3 books for a dull, enervating reading experience. So I'll give props one more time to Cliff Chiang, who really has done a nice job illustrating these melodramatic goings-on, and bid a sad adieu to this book, which I had high hopes for at the beginning but lost me in the angsty murk. C+

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