BEST OF THE WEEK:
AND OTHER SUNDRY REVIEW-TYPE WRITINGS
or, what I bought and what I thought, week of June 15!
SEVEN SOLDIERS: KLARION THE WITCHBOY 2
A wonderfully nuanced chapter in the ongoing crossover series. For more, see Last Call. A
DEATH, JR. 2
The first issue was clever, but uneven. This one kinda ups the ante a bit by going away from Garbage Pail Kids-style antics into a real kind of story, complete with evil adversary and terrible trap for not only Jr. but his poppa as well. There was a nice sense of gravity to these proceedings, and that gives me hope that this isn't going to be an Amazing Screw-On Head-style weirdness-fest, but more along the lines of Courtney Crumrin, fantasy-adventure with a gothic vibe for the young and the young at heart. And speaking of Courtney, as always Ted Naifeh does an excellent job of illustrating the proceedings. A
A troubling and serious turn in the life of Deena Pilgrim is the sole focus of this issue, and its ramifications for the rest of this series should be profound. I don't see how Bendis is going to credibly work this out with any sort of happy ending at all. The usual solid dramatics on the title that I believe BMB likes to write. A
JLA CLASSIFIED 8
Well, if you're going to rehash one of the hoariest cliches in the history of written fiction, that of the "world of evil opposites", then it helps to at least play it for laughs and even refer to it as you go along. All things considered, I'm enjoying this series the farther I go, and even though there's a dark cloud hanging overhead, in the words of the immortal B.J. Thomas, "Those blues they sent to meet me won't defeat me". A-
While nobody's looking, Brian Bendis has crafted a very involving little mini-epic here on his penultimate arc, starting out humbly with the encounter group, but gradually ramping up the madness via supernatural creatures and gothic horror, and even some tense superheroics via a conversation between two of the therapy group participants at the end. Didn't I tell ya about the guy in the cap and shades? Huh? None of this would be half as effective without the moody work of Alex Maleev, it goes without saying. Oops, I just did. A-
Nice to see the title character participating in his own comic again. After what seems like a whole year of farting around, Mike Carey is finally gearing up for what promises to be the epic to end all epic, at least epic insofar as his Lucifer comic goes. This issue we get lots of interesting character interaction and entertaining spins on theological and mythological notions, which is why I got interested in the first place...so I'm pleased for now. A-
BLACK DIAMOND: OFF-RAMP
A teaser for three upcoming AiT/Planetlar series. For more, see Last Call. B+
It's not easy to put one's finger on why this is such a disappointing conclusion- the characters are still likeable, and on the whole, it's still fun and imaginative. But part of it may be that this too-pat, somewhat cliched and very tidy resolution comes across as more Hollywood sitcom than Bollywood epic, and there's never any real sense of consequence or danger, crucial to the reader's implicit participation in the narrative. And perhaps the genial and light-in-tone, albeit very well done, Philip Bond art (nice cover, especially) should shoulder some of the blame there. Guess all we can do is chalk it up to the mighty stumbling once in a while, and even so, it's more of a letdown than a disaster. This issue: B. Entire series: B+.