Friday, April 21, 2006

By the Raggedy Rings of Raggador, it's time once more to gaze into the Unseeing Eye of Jaybacardio as we viddy another installment of the BACARDI SHOW NUDE NEW COMICS REVIEW!

What she brung and what I sung, weeks encompassing April 2 through 20.

S: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti; A: Luke Ross
So I'm bored with Hex going up against corrupt town bosses or officials, and what do we get? A corrupt nun that runs a town instead! Adding a love interest (that I wasn't aware of in my admittedly tenuous knowledge of Jonah's past history) does spice it up a bit, and the resolution wasn't as much of a fait accompli as previous issues have this was one of the best issues yet. Still, artist Ross depicts our boy so much like Clint Eastwood that what with all the nuns running around I couldn't help but be reminded of Two Mules for Sister Sara...and I doubt that's what Graymiotti had in mind. A-

S: Wilson; A: Matt Smith
Typical. Last time out I expressed my disappointment with this stillborn adaptation in snarky style, so I guess I should report that I found this final chapter a bit more rousing than the previous five. Maybe if I hadn't already read the novel and saw the craptacular film, I'd have been more favorably disposed. But, as they say, if its and buts were candies and nuts, we'd all have a safe and happy Fourth of July. Or something like that. Again, read the novel and skip this. C+

PLANETARY 24 (DC/Wildstorm)
S: Warren Ellis; A: John Cassaday
This is the very picture of streamlined storytelling economy as Ellis manages to seamlessly pick up all the long-simmering plot threads and advance his plot, even if he's perhaps the only person who recalls all its ins and outs, and even works in a number of references to long-ago issues past. Jakita, the Drummer and Snow confront Warren's James Bond anagram John Stone, and we get the skewed origin of his Fantastic Four anagram, known here simply as the "Four". Typically well-illustrated by Cassaday, the past master of freeze-frame action sequences...and is it me, or does he channel the Bryan Hitch/Paul Neary style in the Four's origin? Oh well- it is frustrating that we can't get a monthly, or bi-monthly even, shot of this still-excellent book, but I'm perfectly content to enjoy it as it comes. You may already be aware of it, but here's a pretty thorough Planetary site.A

S: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi; A: Guy Davis
Okay, Mignola, you can do whatever you want to Liz or Roger or even Abe, but LEAVE KATE CORRIGAN ALONE! Aw, I kid- this is less a standalone story as it is a continuation of previous B.P.R.D. miniseries, as agent/historian Corrigan goes in search of a rare tome in a small French village which can possibly bring the Roger the broken homonoculus back to life, and encounters a chap named Thierry, who has a weird haircut and an even weirder library. After a tentative beginning, Arcudi has hit his stride- all the characters are well handled and nicely dialogued- or perhaps I'm just used to him being around by now, hard to say. Guy Davis is still doing the best work of his career. Even though it will never be able to match a Mignola Hellboy story, its sister publication has developed into a solid read all its own. A-

S: Warren Ellis; A: J.H. Williams III. DC/Wildstorm, ($2.99)
Well, you weren't expecting a happy ending, were you? Good, because we didn't get one. I've read here and there about this ending being an example of the dreaded Women in Refrigerators school of plot resolution, but I don't buy it- who else's death would have provided any sort of impact? And it's not like any of the victims, and that includes Jones himself, were simon-pure anyway. It was unexpected, surprising, nasty and brutal and while it does make me sad due to the loss of an interesting character, it was satisfying for that reason. Taken as a whole, this mostly depressing exercise in nihilism all dressed up in Ian Fleming/Dashiell Hammett clothing is probably the best thing Ellis has attached his name to in years, and that includes Planetary, simply (or perhaps not so simply) because this is more grounded in human emotion, and kudos to Ellis for extending himself a bit beyond the detached air he's displayed before.of course, none of this would resonate at all without the outstanding graphics of Williams, who is able to take the scripts and enhance them, taking them out of the realm of the written word and bringing them to squalid life. My, I'm waxing all poetic, aren't I? Anyway, great series and bring on #7! A

FABLES 48 (DC/Vertigo)
S: Bill Willingham; A: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha
Mowgli gets center stage this issue, as his search for Bigby Wolf leads him to engage a battle to the death with the leader of a Russian wolf pack, in a nicely done and very savage scene. For once, I thought Buckingham and Leialoha did a great job. For contrast, we get an interlude with Rose Red and Bigby & Snow White's kid pack, what implications are there, who the heck knows. If you know what I'm talking about in regards to any of this, then you'll understand that this is another solid issue that advances the story along in fine fashion. If not, next review, please. B+

S: Andrew Cosby, Keith Giffen, John Rogers, Mike Lieb. A: Basil Wolverton, Paul Reinman, and a whole bunch of unknown illustrators
No comic this trivial should risk such a title. Do I detect, with this and Marvel's Romance Redux series, a trend a-birthing? Once more, the Boomers take another bunch of obscure public-domain reprints and re-dialogue them, with scattered chuckles and groaners throughout. My favorite was the last story, something about a mystic and a ordinary guy who looks like a roughed-up Jimmy Olsen, and time travel via hypnotism- but Ward throws a bunch of jive-talking and shizzle-dizzle in the mix and I couldn't help but laugh as the bowtied fella macks on a lady with "I'm yo candyman, girl, whiff on this -pssshhhh- my breff don't even stank!" Your mileage, as the saying goes, will vary. It's always great to see Wolverton art under any circumstances, but this kind of hijinks is about as inessential as it gets. Save your money and buy this Powerhouse Pepper reprint book instead, it's twice as funny. C+ (Original grade B)

S: Steven Seagle; A: Becky Cloonan
Two issues down, and I'm still on the fence, I'm afraid. It's hard to take such a stick as the lead character tends to be and make him interesting, but Seagle and Cloonan acquit themselves well on that score- plus, Seagle's given him a compelling supporting cast, and that's usually half the battle. As always with Cloonan, the art is worth the price of admission...but Seagle's going to have to come up with some more clever plot twists to really grab me. A-

S/A: Paul Pope with Jose Villarrubia
Honestly, this isn't really all that different or better, plot-wise, form your run-of-the-mill Elseworlds story...but the difference-maker is Pope's unbeatable ability to bring his stories to kinetic, frantic life and wrap you up in them, almost making you an active participant. You sense this future Batman's desperation as he races across rooftops with attack dogs in heated pursuit or struggle along with him as he desperately strives to preserve his identity against someone with mindfucking "latent clinical hypersensitive persuasive ability", and this sort of storytelling chops makes everything Pope does must-read, as far as I'm concerned. Unless he botches the ending next issue, and I seriously doubt he will, this is already a shoo-in for (at least) my year-end best-of. A

S: Peter Milligan; A: Nick Derington, Mike Allred
Here's another contender for that list; Milligan, unconcerned with canon or continuity except (and loosely at that) with his own stint writing X-Statix, is giving us one of the freshest and most fun stories to come from Marvel in a good while now, and the Derington/Allred team are providing imaginative visuals. Certainly the most atypical yet best Dr. Strange story in a hell of a long time, and I'l tell ya- if X-Statix had been this good during its run, I wouldn't have dropped it as soon as I did. Perhaps I'm just tickled to see the return of U-Go Girl. A

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