Monday, March 20, 2006

And now, the belated second installment of
Periodic ruminations, castigations, disseminations and assorted frustratingly exiguous semi-cogent observations in regard to comics I have read, weeks of March 1-19!

S: Paul Pope; A: Pope, with Jose Villarrubia
On the one hand, it's another plus-size helping of great Pope artwork, but on the other, well, it's a Batman story...and while one can't help thinking his time and energy might not be better spent with more lofty (if less lucrative) pursuits, at least he's putting a pretty good spin on the old cast of characters. And that artwork, with its retro-futuristic costume designs and equipment, not to mention the sheer andrenaline rush he evokes (even during the calmer moments, of which there are more than last isue) is well worth the price of admission in my book. A

S: Grant Morrison; A: Yanick Paquette, Serge LaPointe
Morrison's good intentions are shot in the foot by Paquette, whose art is fine overall in that Terry Dodson kind of pin-up way, but who doesn't seem to understand that it's impossible to toss cars with a broken arm...and the whole cause of Sally Sonic's sordid situation was that she looked like a teenager, even though she was an adult, so it might be in everyone's best interest if she was drawn like one. Still not a deal breaker, though- Bulleteer is an interesting character and of all the cast so far, I'm most curious about how she'll play her part in the upcoming Seven Soldiers #1. Not a failure, but not exactly a ringing success either. B+

100 BULLETS 70 (DC/Vertigo)
S: Brian Azzarello; A: Eduardo Risso
The wheels of Azzarello's labyrinthine plot grind slowly onward, and now more than ever I think I should sit down with the last 25 or so issues and refresh my memory about some of these characters. As always, wonderfully illustrated- Risso's art is never as opaque as the scripting. B+

DMZ 5 (DC/Vertigo)
S: Brian Wood; A: Riccardo Burchielli
Well, whaddaya know- last issue I was ready to give up on this title, but by giving us a simple story about our protagonist's struggle to get back his jacket and press pass after it was stolen, Wood really engaged my interest for the first time. Yeah, I know, eventually we'll be back to the big-picture stories but this time, in my book anyway, small-scale is a winner. B+

FELL 4 (Image)
S: Warren Ellis; A: Ben Templesmith
Small-scale is the order of the day every day with this title, which is part of its raison d'ĂȘtre. While I have my doubts about the legality of Fell's solution to his floater problem, the way he goes about it further soldifies the admiration one feels for this low-key and somewhat likeable cop who wants to do the right thing, even though none of the other residents of his horrible hellhole of a city want to or care to. Big part of this charm is Templesmith's art, always walking the fine line between caricature and impressionism, kinda like Kyle Baker crossed with John Bolton. A-

S: Bob Burden; Images: Sam Gaffin
Well, this is the big fumetti issue I've been hearing about for what seems like 20 years, and it's OK, I guess, with some funny lines here and there- mostly via Forrest Ackerman, of all people. The heavily Photoshopped photos are mildly clever, too, although they are too stiff and posed to work well with the words. Problem is, most of the time all this just lies there on the page and is nowhere near as clever as you want it to be, and that's kinda sad. C+

S: Steven T. Seagle; A: Becky Cloonan
As so often is the case with first issues, Seagle feels like he has to introduce all his plot threads at once, like he wasn't sure there was going to be a second issue or something. Despite this, he's aiming at a number of targets and I think with time he'll hit most of them- there's a little wit here, which is the one thing that distinguishes it the most from its thematically similar cousin Y: The Last Man. Vaughn's scripting is so dry and earnest that you don't think he could have fun in a comic if he tried. Seagle, on the other hand, seems to be out to take a wry look at sexual mores and organized religion (a very popular subject in Vertigo offerings these days)...and I think he's off to a good start. Becky Cloonan keeps him honest, with her playful depictions of most of the principals, mom and stepdad and cousins especially, and her storytelling is as good here as it was on DEMO. So far, I like. A-

FABLES 47 (DC/Vertigo)
S: Bill Willingham; A: Jim Fern, Jimmy Palmiotti
As fill-ins go, this wasn't bad, and it was nice to see Jim Fern's art again. He really deserves an ongoing showcase for his fine-line GrayMorrowErnieColon-isms. Story-wise, I couldn't care less about the Pinocchio-like protagonists but I did appreciate how Willingham ties this in to the main storyline by showing us what happens to them after they become human. Now can we get back to the main storyline? B+

Coming soon, in part the third: HELLBOY: MAKOMA 2, SEVEN SOLDIERS: FRANKENSTEIN 3, LOCAL 4, and NEXTWAVE 2, and that's not all!

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