Sunday, March 27, 2005

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What I bought and what I thought, week of March 16!

OWLY: JUST A LITTLE BLUE GN lists the following synonyms for the word "warm": affable, affectionate, amiable, ardent, cheerful, compassionate, cordial, empathetic, genial, gracious, happy, heartfelt, hearty, hospitable, kind, kind-hearted, kindly, loving, pleasant, responsive, sincere, soft-hearted, sympathetic, tender, warm-hearted, whole-hearted. For "winning" we get acceptable, adorable, agreeable, alluring, amiable, bewitching, captivating, charming, cute, delectable, delightful, disarming, dulcet, enchanting, endearing, engaging, fascinating, fetching, gratifying, lovable, lovely, pleasing, prepossessing, sweet, taking, winsome. "Sweet"? affectionate, agreeable, amiable, angelic, appealing, attractive, beautiful, beloved, charming, cherished, companionable, considerate, darling, dear, dearest, delectable, delicious, delightful, dulcet, engaging, fair, generous, gentle, good-humored, good-natured, heavenly, kind, lovable, loving, luscious, mild, mushy, patient, pet, pleasant, pleasing, precious, reasonable, sweet-tempered, sympathetic, taking, tender, thoughtful, treasured, unselfish, winning, winsome. OK, that's enough. I'm just trying to come up with a different way to say what everybody else is saying, and everyone who's read any Owly stories knows: they're good. And you feel good after reading them. And that, boys and girls, is a hell of a thing and something we don't get nearly enough of these days. A

100 BULLETS 59
After the surprising events last issue, we change locations and catch up with Loop Hughes and Lono, fresh outta the joint and looking for Victor, in sort of "we're putting the band back together" fashion. Vic's kinda in a situation, though, which plays itself out in Eisnerish fashion, if Eisner was inclined to indulge himself in graphic sex and violence. Anyway, another strong chapter, force-of-nature-ish Ed Risso does another great art job, and apparently Dave Johnson is going to give us 70's Blaxploitation movie homages as covers for a while. I don't advise reading this immediately after reading Owly. A

This time out we get the betrayal we all knew was coming, doled out in punishing fashion for our boy Holden. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if there wasn't one or two more twists before we're done; the one constant Ed Brubaker's given us throughout both series is that Sleeper has more twists than Chubby Checker after ingesting an eightball of coke. A

Not much actual plot to speak of, all things considered, mostly another issue full of expository dialogue and Adam Warren's trademark wacked-out technogeekishness. But the characters are as likeable more often as they are disgusting (fortunately- I doubt we'll see six issues' worth of them regurgitating their nanotech flesh back on each other to patch damage, at least I hope not); Rick Mays does a great job with his faux-manga art style (or to be more precise, faux Adam Warren-style manga art), even though he really needs to practice drawing people (in the rare occasions he's asked to do so) over the age of 25, such as Nick Fury this time out and the John Constantine he gave us in the Zatanna one-shot of a few years ago, that look their age; and the big scene in which Gothic Lolita downs the bomb-bearing cargo plane was exciting, with lively dialogue. So, even though I'm still not particularly attracted to the current run of teengroup titles from Marvel, I'm really liking this one so far. A-

The events of Identity Crisis have definitely made this a tad less enjoyable that they would have been otherwise- I especially wish Giffen and DeMatteis would have laid off the "Sue is pregnant" jokes. Otherwise, just as breezy and funny as ever- while it is indeed a little offputting to see Guy Gardner macking on Mary Marvel (who may be 14-ish de-powered, but definitely looks older when in her Marvel powered aspect), remember, this is the same Guy who hit on the grieving-for-her-dead-parents Gypsy immediately after saving her from Despero back in the 80s book, so it's pretty much in character. Oh well, what can I say, I like these characters, seeing them go through their paces is like watching an episode of a favorite classic sitcom. Kevin Maguire's art is as smooth as usual, and I was a bit surprised to note that longtime inker Joe Rubenstein's ink line has become very subtle and graceful and quite different from what it was back in the day- almost Craig Russell-ish! Now if things just don't go to hell- whoops! Bwah-ha-ha. A-

Well, for what it's worth, I liked this one better than Battle Hymn. Another 24-style espionage thriller, garishly colored by persons unknown (Jason Richardson is credited with "flats", which could apply, I suppose, whatever "flats" are) and sloppily drawn by one Jason LaTour and interesting enough, I suppose, if not particularly engaging one way or the other. A man is on the run from a couple of suit-and-sunglasses government agents in a seedy town in Mexico, and gets mixed up with the daughter of the big fish in that little pond. Will it get better as time goes by, a la The Losers? We will see. B+

Surprisingly straightforward urban action thriller from Grant this time, which doesn't quite read like the Mad Scotsman we've all come to know and love and leads me to conclude that either he's employing ghosts or is experimenting stylistically. I like the concept, like the whole "Subway Pirate" culture notion, like the computer with the kinda-sorta face of Jack Kirby plus the clever almost-tie-in to previous Guardian lore, including the less-comic-relief-ish Newsboy Legion...but I seriously doubt that it's possible to rip a squarish section of skin off a man's back using only a hook, dramatically valid and ugh-provoking, I suppose, but also a little "oh come on" provoking from your humble scribe (calling Dr. Scott at Polite Dissent), plus of course Jake's family just happens to be on hand in the subway to serve as obvious hostage bait. Art-wise, Cam Stewart does a nice Chris Weston impersonation. A lot here to like, but, again I hope it gets a little better eventually. B+

I've never participated in a group therapy session; don't really have any desire to do so, and if this is what Bendis is gonna give us- a Rashomon-style retelling of Daredevil's assumption of the Kingpin's mantle, then I'm not so sure I'm going to enjoy this very much. Not that it's badly written per se, and I certainly don't want DD to go back to fighting the supervillain of the month anytime soon...but I'm not buying a book titled "Hell's Kitchen Residents in Therapy", I'm buying Daredevil, and quickly lose patience with stories told exclusively in flashback. None of this is Alex Maleev's fault, he's as good as always. B

Lackluster fill-in art from the Giuseppi Camuncoli/Lorezo Ruggiero team prevents this actually diverting and important-to-the Mike Carey "John vs. his evil demon kids" chapter from taking off. I know I've been disenchanted with Leo Manco's stint and miss Marcelo Frusin more than ever, but they've got to be able to do better than this. B-

I hate to bail on limited series (at least I think this is limited, God help us if they're trying to stretch this out into an ongoing), but I pretty much know how this is going to turn out, and my long-held distaste for John Watkiss' ugly art is more pronounced than ever. C


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