Sunday, December 05, 2004

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What I bought and what I thought, week of December 1!

Yeah, I know. It's a bunch of people running around in spandex and pleather, and it's a particularly snide example of what is allegedly ruining the industry right now. Yeah, I know- Mark Millar never had a single original idea that Warren Ellis of Brian Bendis didn't think of first. Yeah, I know- the paces Mr. Millar is putting these hoary old corporate properties through are somehow "grim", "cynical" and depressing. Don't care. I like the adult tone, ceased to care about the "purity" or "truth" of these characters about the same time I was old enough to drink legally (even though the JMS Spidey/Gwen/Goblin thing is just wrong), and continue to be amused, engaged and entertained by these TV-MA versions of a concept which ceased to be fresh sometime during the second Nixon administration. The beautifully detailed and dynamic art by Bryan Hitch doesn't hurt, either. A

The Ginsburg-poetry-slam interludes that annoyed me so much in #1 have been reined in a bit and actually serve a purpose this time- to goose the action along, provide a counterpoint to the Rand-ish speechifying, and even provide insistent momentum to the dual events. If the rank-and-file Superman titles were as interesting as what we get here, I might consider picking a few of them up. Of course, none of this would be half as appealing without the outstanding Caniff-on-steroids art of Tommy Lee Edwards. A

More of the usual- quirky but interesting Gilbert on "Julio's Day" and more with lithping Fritz, this time involving a self-centered and annoyingly dense pediatrician, a "Sea Hog" which seems to curse those who see it, and Jaime's tales of the Hoppers crowd all growed up. Also as usual, I like Jaime's contributions more because I just plain old like his art style better, and there's a puzzling/annoying vagueness to everything the Bros. have written so far...but it's all still high-quality work from two of the most gifted creators of the last 20-plus years. A-

Well, if you're going to set out to confound your audience's expectations, for God's sake don't be half-assed about it, and Jim Rugg certainly has got his metaphorical balls against the ghetto alley wall in this issue. The humor is subtle when it's there at all, and the Marrucca art is as solid in its BurnsBurdenisms as ever, but I'm not so sure this is the way to go with this particular concept. I have a hard time buying how and why a young lady as resourceful and smart (not to mention connected- everybody seems to know her and her reputation) as our Angel seems to be is finding herself in this position in the first place, and if Rugg's trying to get us to empathize with the homeless and their plight, well, fine and good- but for chrissakes don't take an entire issue to do what can be done in four or five pages. Here's hoping he gets back to the surreal fun next time and has gotten the Sociology lessons out of his system. B

After reading and enjoying the first nine issues in one sitting, I was really looking forward to the first new-to-me issue of this title...but alas, I was rewarded for my anticipation by this poorly dialogued cover-to-cover fight scene, very well drawn (of course) by Phil Winslade but also very disappointing overall. It would have been interesting if the Monolith had been restored by the HIV-infected blood of Alice Cohen's friend Tilt, but with only 2 issues to go I suppose we can't be bringing up any new plotlines, can we? C+

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