Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Best and Worst of Last Week

This week I was watching George Pal’s movie version of HG Well’s Time Machine. It is an excellent movie for its time and involves traveling into the future and seeing what the Republican and Democratic Parties have become after 800,000 years. That’s not important right now, what is important is the epiphany I had regarding time travel. It was pointed out that he moves in time and not in space. Therefore while time travel may have been discovered anyone who does it has died since when they move forward in time and have not moved in space, Earth has moved. So essentially you are in outer space probably without a space suit and you die. Of course the alternative future version of me discovers the mathematics to allow time travel and teleportation so I end up in the right place and time as I change time and make myself Master of the World!


Irredeemable #6 - Writer Mark Waid, Artist Peter Krause, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. This issue was an easy read. I usually pick up my books at lunch, drive home and eat a sandwich, start a comic, then back to work, come home and finish it. This book pulled me in and I finished it right away. It was an easy read, a great fast paced story and it advanced both the back story and the present day story line and left us with a couple of cliff hangers. I really enjoy it when a writer can make each chapter this exciting. So many writers put nothing into the middle of their story and save too much for conclusions or at least mini-conclusions during the course of a longer story. This is definitely a middle chapter of the current storyline and it is packed from beginning to end with actual things happening. We open with the Plutonian taking a trip down memory lane. We find out as a young boy he was constantly being returned into foster care from parents who could not handle him despite all evidence to the contrary that Dan Anderson (his name) was a good kid and had a desire to be loved. We also saw in flashback form Dan’s inability to deal effectively with his powers. This is the first insight that we have been given as a reader as to exactly what happened to him growing up. See my full review here.

Daring Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special - Writer David Liss, Art Jason Armstrong, Colors Val Staples. What impressed me was as I was reading the story I would have never guessed that this was a debut effort for writing a comic book. I have read a lot of highly touted novelist writer comics and let’s face it; for the most part it they are hit and miss, with an emphasis on miss. Writing for different mediums requires different sets of skills, but David wrote this like an old comic book pro. It starts off in the present day and plays off JMS’ series “The Twelve”, which I hope we get to the conclusion of one day. Richard (Phantom Reporter) Jones is now the time lost hero and he is being interviewed about his life, the reporter interviewing the reporter. This segues into the Phantom Report’s origin. I think origin stories are favorites of almost every comic book fan so doing a straight origin story was a great choice. What I loved about it was that it played directly against a typical origin story. Almost every character it seems has a tragic beginning from parents being shot, planet’s exploding and an uncle killed by a burglar or something that sets them apart, not here. Life is good for Richard Jones. He has wealthy supportive parents, co-workers who respect him, a boss that is supportive of his efforts. It is such a wonderful twist on giving us a hero who is a hero because he wants to do the right thing. It is almost more heroic as he does this without the need of being taught a horrible lesson of why he should do it. See my full review here.

Sweet Tooth #1 - Story & Art Jeff Lemire, Colors Jose Villarrubia. We open up as Gus, the antlered boy, and his Dad; are living in the woods in the middle of nowhere. We learn that they live in Nebraska and some event/plague has occurred that has wiped out a lot of people. Gus has only known his Dad and no one else and has only seen his Mother’s grave. What we learn of the setting is learned through what Gus knows and his narrative of what his Dad has told him for most of the book. We are given only a miniscule amount of information and a minimal dialogue, but the pictures convey all it all. The father is dying, the son is lost as his Dad passes away and the sadness Gus feels is apparent as he has to bury his Dad. It is a very quiet opening and poignant as we learn that since the event only a few “special” children have been born and Gus maybe the only one left. The shift in tone, pace and narrative from there is dramatic. We see Gus staring at a buck and the similarity is obvious and then a bullet goes through the deer’s head. The hunters show up and Gus takes off. The hunters chase him down and are anxious to capture him as apparently there is a reward for creatures such as Gus. As the one hunter bends over Gus, his head explodes as it is hit by a bullet and the other hunter is scared sh*tless as the new person walks into the picture with a smoking rifle. See my full review here.


Immortal Weapon #2 (of 5) - Bride of Nine Spiders Story, Writer Cullen Bunn, Pencils Dan Brereton, Inkers Tom Palmer, Stefano Gaudiano & Mark Pennington, Colors Paul Mounts. Iron Fist Story, Writer Duane Swierczynski, Pencils Travis Foreman, Inks Stefano Gaudiano, Colors June Chung. So I knew each issue of this series was to bring a new creative team and the Bride of Nine Spiders was pretty cool sounding name and the David Aja cover was just awesome, so I sat down to read about her and got nothing. Heck I got less then nothing and if it was not for the second chapter in the Iron Fist story I might have demanded a refund from my store for my order. Let’s start with the art. Dan Brereton is very stylistic. His work is dark, tons of blacks spotted, his characters are stiff, but usually his work has a quality or gravitas that pulls it into a thing that screams Brereton and for better or worse, there it is. Here he is just doing pencils and has three inkers and the job looks rushed and not very Brereton, but it does maintain his stiffness. The absolute wrong art for a martial arts story, luckily we only had a few pages about actual martial arts in the beginning that involved the Queen of Spiders. See my full review here

Last Resort #2 (of 5) – Cancelled. The artwork is obviously being shot from pencils, but they are not tight enough to make it work. Plus for a five issue mini-series we have too many sub plots and not enough just plot. We start with a flashback, cut to the airplane, cut to some boats on the water. I’m sure it will tie together at the end, but I will not be there when it happens.

Strange Tales #1 (of 3) - Writers / Artists Various. Marvel and DC do seem to be distinct when it comes to certain things. DC has Paul Pope do a three part Batman: Year 100 series and while very different it was also well done and quite interesting. Paul Pope is doing the Adam Strange strip in Wednesday Comics. I have seen indy creators move into more mainstream work and it works many times at DC. So I thought Strange Tales from Marvel would be entertaining. I went in thinking I would not like some of it, but the entire book was pretty much a mess in my view.
The cover by Paul Pope was well done.
The frontispiece by Nick Bertozzi was such an easy joke as to not be funny.
The Inhuman story by Paul Pope was far from Paul’s best work and was as simplistic a story as possible.
The wedding of Jennifer Walters and John Jameson by John Leavitt
and Molly Crabapple was meaningless, inane and not entertaining. See my full review here.

Quick Hits

Agents of Atlas #10 – This is just a really good series. Jeff Parker interweaves some deft characterization, different sub plots, humor and action scenes as he apparently has to deal with a different artist almost every issue. I think this is Marvel best group book and one of their very best series.

Batman #690 – A decent issue of the book and I enjoyed Batman’s battle with Clayface and Lyle Blanco who is unfamiliar to me, but all in all a good battle. What I thought was odd was Two Face showing up in the Batcave dressed as a Two Face Batman. I’ll have to see how it plays out but it seemed out of character for Harvey.

Chew #4 – A good issue, but not sure how these issues all pull together as a story arc. This issue was so far removed from where we have been before that I did not really get it. Still I’m looking forward to issue #5 and happy that Chew looks like it will be around for awhile.

Dead Run #4 (of 4) – As a whole this Mad Max / Judge Dredd adventure was well done. I think that BOOM has some great little four issue stories. Often I think they would be better served releasing them as a complete story as a $12 paperback or something. These types of stories will play very well as complete package as the digital market continues to expand. BOOM has built an impressive catalog of stories to sell that cut across all the genre lines.

Grimjack Manx Cat #2 (of 5) – It is just great seeing this material in print. I was never able to follow it on Comicmix for whatever reason that format did not sit well with me, but John Gaunt Grimjack with Ostrander and Truman is just a plain joy to read. As an added bonus I purchased a page of art from Tim Truman back in 2007 at the Baltimore Comic Convention and that page is in this issue.

Incognito #6 – This was a solid ending for this series. Brubaker and Phillips always do a great job and this issue was no exception. The almost happy ending was a surprise in some ways, but I would like to see more of this character down the road. At the end of the day I think Brubaker will be remembered more for his creator owned work then his super hero material.

Proof #23 – The Julia story finally ended. I thought this arc was a mistake. Number one while based on some true facts, the story itself was dragged out way too long. By the time we get to the end of the arc I no longer really cared about Julia that much. Proof is such a great comic overall and the story about what is happening today is so interesting that to interrupt that for a half a year just killed the momentum on this book. Still all series have slow periods and this arc did give us a lot of back story on Proof.

Supergirl Annual #1 – I knew they were going to bring back Superwoman and they gave us her origin. It was interesting, but I still have no idea of the origin of the suit that gave Lucy her powers. At least Lucy Lane has a role that is worth exploring.

As always my mood has an impact on how I review books and this week I have not been in the best of moods. Stressed and burnt out from work has probably made me a little harsher then normal, but in re-looking every thing I still stand by my views.

It is interesting that not a single main stream super hero comic made it as my best this week. I think that shows just how wide ranging genres are in comics and one of the things that always keep it fresh for me.

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