BEST OF THE WEEK
What I bought and what I thought, week of February 9!
A Bollywood version of Zelazny's Lord of Light, as filtered through Bend It Like Beckham. Guess maybe the synchronized schoolgirl volleyball players on pages 2-3 put that in my head. Anyway, Grant Morrison gives us a light, lively script which is ably illustrated by another of his best collaborators, Philip Bond. Nobody can genre-bend like our boy Grant. Right now, as with so many first issues, it's kinda hard to get a handle on where this will go, but so far so good. A
GOTHAM CENTRAL 28
With Michael Lark gone (except for covers) and Brubaker right behind him, a lotta people are preparing last rites for this title, a bit prematurely maybe- but for now it seems determined to remain strong as ever as Greg Rucka returns with a look at what happens when a Flash villain's Gotham hideout (which begs the question, do Batman villains have hideouts in other cities, and so on?) is discovered by a couple of Latin kids and a police officer, with grisly results. Longtime GC inker Steve Gaudiano gets to show what he's got as he assumes complete art duties, and he does not disappoint. While his ink style is as sloppy and distracting as the fill-in artist we've had for the last couple of issues, it's tempered by great layouts and pacing, and better figure drawings. A-
In this issue we get a fill-in from Bite Club's David Hahn, and while I thought he was about eleven kinds of wrong for the sanguinary snark of that title, frankly I love his work here- it just suits his clean, babyfaced style a hell of a lot more. Heck, some panels here even remind me of Chris Sprouse, and that's high praise, as far as I'm concerned! Only one complaint- the stylized squiggle he puts on everybody's ears (like Fred Hembeck's elbow and knee spirals, only with sharp edges) just looks dumb. This being said, I would be perfectly happy if the uninspired Buckingham/Leialoha art team was sent packing and Hahn were to take over on a permanent basis. Story-wise, Bill Willingham gives us a side-trip involving Jack B. Nimble (and to a lesser extent, Thumbelina, pun somewhat intended), who has stolen a bunch of the late Blackbeard's money and goes to Hollywood to become a filmmaker, and becomes a major player by throwing a bunch of money around. Now, honestly, I didn't believe for a minute that it would be that easy to set oneself up as a big-shot film producer; I would imagine that nine times out of ten there are dues that have to be paid and channels to go through. Also, I seriously doubt that anyone would be interested in seeing a three-picture Lord of the Rings-style trilogy of films about Jack the Giant-Killer, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the third, which involves some sort of elaborate revenge fantasy for our jack and actually doesn't sound too bad. Still, Willingham gives us a sequence of events which manages to convince, without too many "fables", if you will, so I can happily report that this was the best issue of this book I've read in a good while. A-
SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL 1
Hoo boy. Beautifully drawn, even with revisions, but the plot is straight out of a 50's drive-in B picture. Fortunately, I like 50's drive-in B pictures, so I can laugh at the amusing joke and tolerate the unlikely premise. And did I mention that it's beautifully drawn? B-
Things happen this time out, thank goodness, but the players are so poorly defined that you can't tell 'em apart without the scorecard they neglect to give us, the mystery is banal, and the dialogue these characters spout is leaden and nowhere near as street as its writer thinks it is. But hey- I'm just a poor Kentucky boy, how do I know how the brothas talk? Which is what Phillips is banking on, I'm sure. Again, the excellent art by Shawn Martinbrough is wasted on this mediocrity. C
MIA: ULTIMATES 2 3.