Sunday, January 23, 2005

Image Hosted by


What I bought and what I thought, week of January 19!

Like Johanna Draper Carlson says in the afterword, this 12-issue series is the culmination of Andi Watson's career so far. It's got all the themes he's dealt with in previous efforts like Breakfast After Noon and Geisha, and he blends them skillfully as always with his typically clever, distinctive art style and design sense. If Watson's art gets any more minimal, he'll be doing Matt Feazell-type stick figures! Anyway, Love Fights succeeds as a romantic comedy/drama as well as superhero pastiche or even superhero satire, story types I usually just don't go for as a rule. He even gives us an fanciful and open-ended resolution, but it rings true to life and is free of contrivance, so it satisfies immensely. Another outstanding example of what can be done with the medium; I don't know whether it will become a landmark in comics history or anything, but it is an extremely solid work from a consistently innovative and accomplished creator, and these days who could ask for more? A+

Bendis is propelling Walker and Pilgrim from one situation to the next at rapid speed; no sooner than we got a resolution of sorts to the kidnapping and torture of Deena than we get right in to the murder of the covert hero Blackguard, or someone masquerading as him anyway, and the disappearance of the power gem which gave him his abilities. Those of us who have been reading for a while have invested enough emotionally into these characters where we understand and care about what goes on; others who are newer may feel differently. As always, be it nifty message-board satire or intense, dark and angularly expressionistic action scenes, Mike Avon Oeming turns in another outstanding art job. A

John Watkiss's art, with its sloppy inks and constant flat-plane three-quarters perspective, is as ugly as a dog's hindquarters, but he does a good job of telling a story and that's what gets this Blade Runner-by-way-of-Franz Kafka future fantasy by. It's fairly obvious what's happening to our protagonist, and you can make an educated guess as to where this is all going, but writer Jason Hall and Watkiss are pacing it nicely, so I'm engaged, for now. A-

With publications like his Making of Astronauts in Trouble, Proof of Concept, and now this, Larry Young seems to be taking a keen interest in playing Toto to our Oz company and pulling back the curtain to reveal the Wizard pushing buttons and turning wheels...and the looks we're getting are very interesting. Just like the title says, this is each of Brian Wood's original scripts for the recently concluded limited series, and to be honest I didn't spend a lot of time re-reading them since I know how they turn out but it is interesting, though, to read his scene and character descriptions and then go refer to how artist Becky Cloonan interpreted them. And speaking of Cloonan, she contributes new single illustrations for each individual script, and they're wonderful, almost worth the price of admission themselves. A-

We get a fill-in artist this time out, name of Ronald Wimberly, and while his stuff is still kinda rough and unpolished, I liked it- reminds me a bit of people like Kaluta, Wrightson or Jeffrey Jones when they were just getting started. He does a nice job on the interludes which depict the events on the world which Elaine Belloc created for "practice", they look at first like Native American art, then resemble, oh, Byzantine or somesuch...but they're all imaginative. Good thing, too, Writer Mike Carey is advancing this storyline along at a snail's pace. B+

Actually, as an actual story this isn't all that bad- in this issue, we get more emphasis on the mystery of what's in the basement at the BPRD's new Colorado digs and a bigger spotlight on Johann, the ghost in the containment suit, who I kinda like, and less of the new Captain Scarface Zombie guy, who curiously doesn't get listed in with the gang on the inside front cover. It's just presented in such a straightforward, bland way that it just doesn't grab me where I like to be grabbed, and while I realize that Mignola himself is often deadpan script-and-dialogue wise, this is different, and I really can't explain why. I know John Arcudi can do better (or at least did with Major Bummer, a long time ago now), and the lettercol goes out of its way to describe how tight he is with Hellboy's creator...but he's gotta shoulder the blame for this being such a flat read. No blame to artist Guy Davis, though, who gives the proceedings what life it has, especially the scene towards the end where Johann gets the computers going down below and unleashes a gang of ghosts. Not a disaster, but not a real success yet either. I'm holding out hope for a satisfying ending, which is is short supply around comics these days. B+

God, Bendis, will you get on with it? I liked the business with the new White Tiger, but I'm really wishing that he would wrap up this thing with the hopped-up former Kingpin Bont, the Gladiator, and DD in chains because it seems like it's been going on for about 25 issues now. Of course, it's well-drawn as always, but my patience is wearing thin. B

Revised. After having thought the matter over and having re-read a few issues, including this one, I've decided that I was a bit too harsh on this. And since this is a blog and not a print review, I can exercise my freedom of choice and rethink my position a bit. I'm still not completely happy with this whole series; Millar shouldn't be so eager to bite the hand which feeds him, and as someone who has a life, thank you, I nether want nor appreciate yet another "get a life" message from someone whose makes his living writing the very same object of scorn that he chastises his readers for embracing. But after all is said and done, Millar ended this with the same tone that he bagan it, and except for the Killer, kept his characterizations pretty consistent throughout- and the ending would have certainly been more of a copout if Wesley had repented his evil mission accomplished, I suppose. And of course, there's one opinion I haven't rethought: J.G. Jones's art is as always a joy to behold. This issue: C+. Entire series: B-.

Despite the fact that I did get a laugh out of the last page and Kyle Baker at least remembered this time to put a ink line around his figures so we could distinguish them from the cut-and-pasted pastel backgrounds, this was tiresome. If I wanted to watch Tom and Jerry cartoons, they're airing the real thing every day on Cartoon Network's Boomerang channel for free, or at least as part of my cable package and I don't need to drop three bucks a pop on them. While his Plas take was fun at first, apparently Baker has no ideas left and is wasting his time as well as ours. C-

No comments: