Monday, April 09, 2007


Well, new to me, anyway. The BSNCR is the venue by which I take the opportunity, unsolicited, to opine in regards to various works of sequential fiction I have perused in the interval since the last time I inflicted said opinions upon one and all, or to be specific, the period from approximately 28 March to 5 April, 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 82
S: Brian Azzarello; A: Eduardo Risso. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

The Standard Review: 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 18 issues. Further Comments: I must admit a little confusion about the latest story digression, featuring art thieves- it comes across as too much like a very similar plotline from about three or four years ago, a small eternity when considering this convoluted narrative but just recent enough to disorient a longtime reader such as your humble scribe. Not to worry, though, I'm sure I'll figure out what the hell is going on eventually. Or so I keep telling myself. B+

S: Wil Pfiefer; A: David and Alvaro Lopez. (DC, $2.99)

Not much but action this time out, spiced with some funny dialogue and some smart Sci-fi time travel trappings, as CW tries to get out of Luthor's building with her pretty hide- and Luthor's snow globe- intact, so she can give it to the Calculator and get Junior CW Holly's name cleared. For my money, this has been one of the best superhero-type books on the stands for quite some time now. Sadly, the majority doesn't agree with me. If you're on the fence, perhaps you should consider going against the grain. A-

S: Ed Brubaker; A: Michael Lark, Stephen Gaudiano. (Marvel, $2.99)

I'm a little unsure about the wisdom of eliminating all doubt about the Gladiator's apparent violent outbursts in this issue, the first in the arc; I have to believe that there would be a lot more suspense inherent in adopting a "Is he or isn't he" stance. But I know Brubaker's a smart fella and a good writer, and I'm sure there's method to his madness. I hope. For that matter, I've never been wild about the Miller re-imagining of Melvin Potter, the Gladiator, as a Rainman-type anyway, so perhaps this is a step towards moving away from that. Regardless, it looks like we're in for another interesting Brubaker/Lark/Guadiano storyline. A-

DMZ 17
S: Brian Wood; A: Riccardo Burchielli. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

Finale to the "Public Works" arc, in which Matty gets to play those who've been playing him, and doesn't exactly get the girl. Of course, the girl in question is one he grew attached to while he was in his undercover terrorist persona, so one has to wonder exactly what he thought (IF he thought about it) was going to happen when everything got resolved, which is of course nothing if one is realistic about it, so that kinda dulls the edge of the dramatics at the end. And if that isn't enough, it's not like he's going to be bereft of female company- Zee, who's been there from the beginning, is friendlier than she's ever been and of course his contact on the outside, Kelly, who get a little burned this time out are still around. Of course, he does rationalize his actions in the ongoing narration, but I'm sorry, I just couldn't buy it. Still, as political intrigue-type scenarios go this was a good one, and Matt's double-cross at the ending was pretty Burchielli turns in another outstanding job, even though I wish his figures could show more than three facial I guess you could say I liked, with reservations- same as it has been since the beginning. B+

S: Bill Willingham; A: a veritable plethora. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

Another fill-in issue of sorts, right on the heels of Mike Allred's two-parter. This time the gimmick is that Willingham is answering questions from readers about various Fables characters in two-or-three-page cutesy answer-scenarios, and gets a different artist to draw each one. Problem is, none of the artists exactly outdo themselves, with the possible exception of Jill Thompson, who is apparently not capable of turning in less than stellar work. That said, it's always great to see anything by J.K. (Fashion in Action, Doctor Mid-Nite, Mister E) Snyder, Andrew Pepoy actually manages to slightly evoke Wally Wood, or at least Ralph Reese, with his, and D'Israeli gets by as well. And I never want to see the early 90's stylings of M.K. Perker in anything I spend my hard-earned cash on again. Ever. Can we get back to the real storyline now, Willingham? Please? B-

S: Andy Diggle; A: Leo Manco. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

Diggle does fine on his opening storyline, although this two-parter comes across as a sort of clearing of the throat- presumably for the more involved stuff that's hopefully coming up down the line. He does a great job of capturing Constantine's personality and outlook, no big surprise there...but the story itself is a slight thing, so I guess we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed for a couple more months. Manco, for his part, does a fine job, no better or worse than his previous work, but I miss the somewhat more inspired artist of the mid-90's. A-

S/A: James Kochalka. (Top Shelf, $5)

Reading this book is like listening to a precociously bright but potty-mouthed eight-year-old tell you about the superhero comic he just wrote- it's utterly nutball and vulgar and puerile and inane...and I find it hilarious. You can't expect sophistication from this; you kinda have to park your adult mindset at the door, and I know that's hard for some but I guess I'm able to do it, too easily, I suspect. I also seriously doubt that this would work half as well as it does with another artist; Kochalka's simple figures and neon colors enhance the goofy vibe so much that anybody else would fall flat. If you're unable to access your inner eight-year-old, you might want to pass, but if you let him out once in a while I think you'll enjoy this a lot. It's just as good as the three previous issues. A

S: Darwyn Cooke; A: Cooke, Jason Bone. (DC, 2.99)

Cooke continues his revisionist history; this time we get Sand Serif recast as a CIA agent instead of the international thief she was in the Eisner stories. And that's fair, I guess- practically everything Eisner did in the late 40's and early 50's was inspired by the glamorous and larger-than-life cinema classics of the day, and these days that glamor is gone, replaced by the likes of 24 and Syriana- more down-to-Earth, lean and mean and less romanticized. So a Sand for the Aughts is less a femme fatale and more of a fatal female; like Alias and so on. Fair enough. I also enjoyed the return of new character Hussein, filling the Peter Lorre-style role of the secondary character who is always less brave and more clever than he seems. Art-wise, as solid as always. Overall, Cooke seems to be settling in and the best is yet to come, I believe. A-

Still to come: reviews of Fall of Cthulhu 0, Keith Giffen's Tag: Cursed 1, and First in Space.

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