Monday, May 26, 2008


It's time once more for another Spinner Rack Junkie- that more-or-less ongoing and often overdue feature in which I write capsule reviews of various works of sequential fiction that I have perused in the interval since the last time I inflicted such reviews upon one and all, or to be specific, the period from approximately May 5 to May 23, some of which may even still be on sale at finer comics selling establishments worldwide if you're lucky. Or not, as the case may be.

100 BULLETS #91: Another well-done issue what will engage the already engaged, baffle the uninitiated, and even baffle the initiated upon occasion. I think I'll just cut and paste this review for the next 9 issues. B+

ABE SAPIEN: THE DROWNING #4: Odd that a series about a fish-man, that often takes place under water, can be so dry. This continues to move at a snail's pace, telling us stuff constantly, even as it fails to tell us what we want to know: what the heck is going on, exactly? Taken on a panel-by-panel basis, Jason Shawn Alexander's art features a grubby sort of dynamism, but overall still somehow seems lifeless and static. An exercise in contradiction, this one is. C+

THE BOYS #18: Not content with giving us Sean of the Dead's Simon Pegg as its central protagonist, Ennis and Robertson now proceed to give us zombie antics featuring same; fortunately, Garth is often at his best with the walking (or in this case, floating) dead (makes one wish and/or wonder what if he had come up with Walking Dead instead of Kirkman) and this is as entertaining as we've come to expect from this most rude of funnybooks. A-

B.P.R.D.: 1946 #5: Rousing finale to the best B.P.R.D. spinoff in ages, as Mignola and Dysart crank up the crazy, throwing in elements from all the way back to the early Hellboy days, and providing exciting, gripping action with just enough oddness to make it distinctive. And while I've seen and enjoyed Paul Azaceta's work in other places- his Talent for Boom! was very nicely done- he really has come into his own here, bringing his pseudo-realistic Mazzuchelli/J.P. Leon/Tommy Lee Edwards style to new levels of dynamism. For some reason, I'm especially drawn to his portrayal of Prof. Bruttenholm- he gives him a presence that he really hasn't had before, not even when Mignola drew him. This miniseries, despite being made up crazy-quilt fashion from a lot of internal Hellboy-saga components as well as a few external ones as well, was a success in every way, and I really hope they follow it up one of these days, with Dysart and Azaceta. A+

CASANOVA #14: Well, everything, or at least the most current storyline, gets resolved here in typically (and unsurprisingly) convoluted fashion in preparation for another extended hiatus. And that's fine with me. I've already put in more than my two cents' worth about this admittedly cost-efficient title in the last few months; however, I will make one more point before I'm done- and that is to ask Fraction to remember in the future that when anything is possible in a work of narrative fiction, then nothing matters. C+

JACK STAFF #16: Well, what do you know, another issue of Jack Staff! Gee, it's almost like it's coming out regularly or something! Anyway, another solid issue, with Grist still effortlessly pulling off daredevil storytelling stunts that lesser artists can't even conceive of. But- not that I'm complaining- much- but it sure seems like we've been dealing with this issue's two dueling plot threads: Bramble & Son vs. each other plus the mysterious man in the shadows that has apparently taken over as the elder Bramble, and Jack vs. Detective Maveryk and the Castletown police force, for a long time now. A bit of wheel-spinning, it seems. I especially wish he'd get around to the specifics of that Man in the Shadows guy and the threat he poses; it seems as if he's been lurking around since the first black and white series wrapped up. Regardless, this is still outstanding superheroics, and you should be reading. A-

NUMBER OF THE BEAST #3: Storywise, this nicks from not only The Matrix but also Grant Morrison's The Filth, giving us mutilated superpeople who are sharing a sort of virtual reality experience in which they're going about their superheroey doings...until something goes wrong. Not the freshest premise, but it's being set up fairly well- at least we're finally past the stage in which we're constantly explaining and introducing; I still wish I had an idea who most of these characters were/are, and if I'm supposed to know them. As usual, the main reason to continue to buy this is the excellent Chris Sprouse/Story artwork, always worth the price of admission. B

OMEGA THE UNKNOWN #8 With all due respect to the late Steve Gerber, this take on his creation is a lot more intricately plotted, dramatically deep, and just plain weird than anything I remember him doing, and what's more, Faryl Dalrymple is more imaginative in depicting these goings-on than the staid, conventional stylings of Jim Mooney could ever hope to be. Too often, we're presented with pointless, inferior revivals of well-regarded comics series of years past, just to keep the copyright current if nothing else. This is most definitely not the case here, and we should all consider ourselves fortunate that Marvel was willing to violate form in order to do so. A

No comments: