Sunday, December 12, 2004

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What I bought and what I thought, week of December 8!

100 BULLETS 56
I still think this arc is overextended, necessitated by the inevitable trade collection I suppose, but it's really kicking into high gear now as all the characters (except for poor Gabriel) are drawn closer together and we find out some interesting stuff about Wylie Tymes' past life as a Minuteman, especially his relationship with Agent Shepherd. The most Tarantino-esque chapter yet, and Eduardo Risso is, as always, amazing. A

Wow, 12 issues already. My, how time flies. Anyway, in this final issue we get two stories- first one featuring poesy by Brian Wood, with Becky Cloonan doing a superb job of bringing out the lyricism in Wood's verse, and featuring that series staple: the by-now requisite vague, unsatisfying ending. Story two features Wood art and Cloonan script, and catches us up with two characters from very early on, and provides closure of, yes, a vaguely unsatisfying sort. DEMO was very much a rollercoaster ride for me- sometimes fascinating, sometimes offputting, but I'm happy I took the trip, if nothing else but to be introduced to Cloonan's art. She wore many hats during these twelve issues, and pulled them all off in smashing fashion nearly every time. So...where do we go from here? This issue: A-. Entire series: B+.

Bill Willingham continues to advance his plot slowly, showing us how the principals are adjusting to their new roles, setting up what must surely be the next big storyline involving Boy Blue, Bluebeard's missing assets, and the introduction of a new character who seems to be similar in function to Santa Claus is Coming to Town's Winter Warlock and makes a surprising claim. As always, I'm interested in where he's going with all this, enough to overlook the game but unexciting art of Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha. A-

Brubaker takes one more pass at Catwoman, and gets Josie Mac involved as well in part one of what promises to be a pretty good two-issue story. I'm not so fond of the Jason Alexander art (who knew that George Costanza could draw?), which is not terrible but is inked in a fashion that makes regular inker Steven Guadiano look like Terry Austin. Perspective is good, figure drawing fine, staging too...but those black blotches all over everything are just annoying and once again Loughridge's colors make the whole thing even murkier. Nice cover by Mike Lark, who will be missed. B+

Writer John Arcudi will always earn slack from me for Major Bummer, but to be honest I haven't been all that crazy about any of his other subsequent projects, and this is no exception. One misses Mignola's deadpan absurdist humor, Roger the homonculous is once again mis-characterized, and this new zombie Captain guy seems only to have been introduced to be a jerk and give Liz someone to argue with. But, as a longtime Hellboy reader (and I'd imagine newcomers would have trouble with all the unexplained events from previous stories), I am interested in what's going on with Abe Sapiens, the business in the basement of the BPRD HQ with Johann the Ghost Bag, and kinda like the way Arcudi's writing I can give this a pass so far. What makes this mini worthwhile, though, is the excellent art of Guy Davis, who's just brilliant these days. B+

Another so-so story enlivened by above-average art. This whole thing is reminiscent of one of those straight-to-cable flicks that end up on Cinemax late at night, usually starring Shannon Tweed or Traci Lords or some washed-up male athlete or film star taking whatever he can to prolong his career. Characterization is fine, the mystery is decent if not particularly compelling, dialogue is better than last issue's but still scans awkwardly. I'm still loving Shawn Martinbrough's lively and expressionistic art, which reminds me a little of Jerry Grandenetti (one reason why I think I like it so much)- all full of sharp angles and deep shadows, but I wish he'd been given a better story with more sympathetic coloring. Maybe next time. B-

Not in my holds this week, but I think that may have been store error: Powers V2 7. I'll pick it up next chance I get.

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