Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Boom Boom! Out go the lights!

Sorry, Pat Travers flashback there. What? You don't know...? Oh. I never was much of a fan either, but he did a well-known cover of the song of that title. Couldn't resist.

Anyway, I got a clutch, a gaggle, a small plethora of Boom! comics the other day, and here's what I thunk.

S: Keith Giffen, J.M. Dematteis; A: Joe Abrahams ($3.99)

Sometimes I suspect that Giffen & DeMatteis' inspiration, back when the bwah was first conceived in the 1980's, was Neil Simon- whose fast and funny snappy patter, full of one-liners, sometimes was echoed in the back and forth between Booster and Beetle and Guy and co. There's been a fair amount of that in Hero Squared so far, you bet...but this issue another inspiration rears his balding head...Woody Allen. I couldn't help but think of Allen's constant riffs on his neuroses and insecurities as I read this, the "All-Therapy" issue, and like Allen, somehow K & J manage to milk a lot of laughs out of the situation as Milo and...well, Milo have a sit-down with Milo A's shrink and rarely does what is essentially a talking heads story (no, not Dave Byrne) flow as smoothly as this one does. Bonus points for not giving us the ending that I was convinced was coming. Abrahams, for his part, has the thankless task of drawing all these heads (battling with the word balloons for panel dominance), and he does a fine job, getting more expressive every time out. Hero Squared remains one of the most plain ol' enjoyable books from any publisher. A-

S: Keith Giffen, Alan Grant; A: Rafael Albequerque ($3.99)

Hey! Where'd Raul Lyra go? This time out, we get another unknown-to-me, Rafael (By the time I get to) Albequerque on art and he's not bad- not as loose and sprawling as Lyra, and his figure drawings look a bit more in-proportion...that is, when they're supposed to be. Otherwise, status quo as Harm continues to track down and eliminate, one by one, the escaped interplanetary felons that are wreaking havoc here on Earth. This time, he spends most of the issue in battle with Brune, the big bag of gas which is Non to Dak Moyra's Zod and Ayoma Skyver's Ursa, and the small cast of Earth people gets a bit more of the spotlight. Despite some intrusive exposition- characters calling each other by full names in normal conversation, that sort of thing- this is still an all-around solid sci-fi/action thriller. B+

S: Joe Casey; A: Julia Bax ($3.99)

Damn it, I kinda liked this, which totally eliminates the obvious pun I was considering using: "Avoid this like the PLAGUE!" Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Anyways, this is espionage highjinks with a super-hero flavor; S.H.I.E.L.D.-like superspy organization S.L.A.S.H. (Does that make this slash fiction? Just wondering) comes into conflict with superspy not-so-good guy Black Plague, who wears a costume that is totally different from the one on the uncharacteristically straightforward Dave Johnson cover, over some sort of tech...and oh yeah, organized crime is involved too! On top of that, we get interludes with a couple of old fellows who apparently were once spandex adversaries earlier, as they play chess and reminisce. Of course, there's more than meets the eye there as well. Casey sure is spinning a lot of plates here, and this should be a mess, but it actually reads just fine and is just interesting enough to make me want to see where he goes with it. All this is illustrated by another new-to-me artist whose style reminds me a LOT of Archie Legion-era Jeffrey Moy; and like Moy's stuff, one gets a bit annoyed with all the baby faces but there's enough storytelling chops in evidence to keep from impeding the flow. I've read better, but I've read much, much worse. B

S: Michael Alan Nelson; A: "Chee" ($2.99)

My mom always said, "If you can't say anything good about someone, don't say anything" and I suppose that applies to comics reviews as well. I will note in passing that this is now, according to the cover, "Second Wave"- apparently we've lost the "War of the Worlds" designation. By #7, I fully expect this to be titled Wave. Or perhaps Second. D+

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