In which I take a look at a few of the comeeks and graphic novelly things that have crossed my path since last I inflicted my opinions on you, my beloved reader(s). The dates would be, in this case, September 21 through September 26. And, as always, some of these might even still be available at finer comics stores everywhere.
12 REASONS WHY I LOVE HER
S: Jamie S. Rich; A: Joelle Jones (Oni, $14.95. In stores 10/18/06. Reviewed from B&W advance.)
I think it's a condition endemic to pushing middle age and being married for quite a long while...but I'll tell you right up front I don't have a lot of time or patience for romantic stories about young pretty people and the ins and outs of their relationships. Movies, TV, comics...you name it. Sometimes I even just smile and nod and shake my head in the appropriate places when my younger friends tell me all about their amorous misadventures. So, right off the bat there's a strike against this with me. But, I was determined to give it a fair shake since the fine folks at Oni had seen fit to bestow an advance upon me, so I sat down the other night and read this in one sitting. And even though I kept wishing to step into the page and demand that our protagonists, Gwen and Evan, please stop fucking around playing mind games and talk straight to each other, I got caught up in it anyway and was kinda digging it until another personal pet peeve of mine, the arbitrarily out-of-sequence narrative, reared its ugly head- particularly in the final chapter, causing me to turn the last page with a cocked eyebrow and puzzled expression rather than that good ol' satisfying feeling we all get when we get to the end of a particularly engrossing read. Yeah, yeah, I suppose this was necessary to keep us, the poor trusting reader, off balance or somesuch, but this storytelling device served no good reason that I could ascertain, unless the goal was to leave the reader as confused as poor Evan. And that's not exactly what I'm looking for in my reading experience, sorry. Your mileage may vary, as I keep saying. Anyway, among the pleasures to be found in this roundabout account is the art of Ms. Jones. If she ever works the obvious manga influences out of her system, she'll be a talent to watch. She has a deft hand with an ink brush, for sure, and when no one's looking she can bust out a wonderful sequence such as the stepping stone conversation on pgs. 124-125 or the nicely noirish chapter 7. I'm reminded a lot of Becky Cloonan too, since Ms. Jones is prone to change styles at the drop of a hat as well. A little more consistency, and a little less derivativeness (derivativity?), and I think she'll be a talent to keep an eye on. There's a lot to like about this book; and a lot which just isn't my cuppa...but I was engaged all the way through against my inclinations, and that's saying something. B+
S: Will Pfiefer; A: David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez (DC, $2.99)
A lot of fanmen are getting up in arms about the revelation about who Selina slept with during the past year; and who presumably is the father of her child. Me, I guess I've been reading too many Eros comics lately or something because I only shrugged. It wasn't particularly inconsistent with the way she's been portrayed in the recent past, and besides, consenting adults and all that. Also, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Pfiefer wasn't throwing us a curve here- nowhere is it explicitly stated that the child belongs to this particular person (trying hard not to spoil here, you're welcome)...maybe Miss Kyle has been catting around with more than one guy in that 365-day span. Anyway, after you get past that this is a solid continuation of the multiple storylines Pfiefer has going on; the Film Freak gets more ruthless and bloody, innocent Holly's still in jail, more Slam and Wildcat. The art is still good, if not exceptional, and there's a weird-ass surprise at the end. Still one of DC's best ongoings, says I. A-
THE SURROGATES TPB
S: Robert Venditti; A: Brett Weldele. (Top Shelf, $19.95)
Here's one which has flown under a lot of folks' radar, but it's a tight little exploration of duality and identity issues, not to mention human nature, all decked out in Philip Dick clothing. Unless they totally botch the ending, this one's well worth your time.
That's what I wrote when I placed this series, three issues in, on my Honorable Mentions in my Best of 2005 post. Nothing more to add, except they didn't botch the ending- and now here's the whole thing in one nice, if pricey, package. But like I said, it's a hell of a story, and the trade is packed with lotsa interesting extras such as text pieces, simulated advertising campaigns, a behind-the-scenes look at the creators' work process, and a very nice pinup gallery sporting work by Duncan Fregredo, Becky Cloonan, Steve Lieber, Jim Mahfood and others, and so on. This reissue goes the extra step to provide value for your money, and if you haven't already read this it's well worth getting. Hell, it's worth getting if you have read it! A
S: Greg Rucka, Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir; A: Cliff Richards, Dan Green. (DC, $2.99)
Well, it's always nice to see Dan Green inks, and thankfully this isn't as static, talky and jargon-heavy as previous issues have been, but even with no less than three writers contributing this is still leaden and dull, despite more superpeople running around than you can shake a stick at and a return of sorts of the Suicide Squad, an idea and series that I always liked better in theory than I ever did in practice, Chase #s 2 & 3 notwithstanding. I can't see me keeping this up much longer, but I'll be around for a couple more issues (preordered, y'see). C
More later, including Tales of Woodsman Pete by Lilli Carre.