Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Week of July 14 In Review Part 2 of 2

After that I had to sit down and read The Stuff of Legend Volume II: The Jungle Part 1. That is one heck of a mouthful for a title. I loved the first volume of this story and was a little disappointed that the story did not have a firm ending, but I’m so enthralled by this new chapter of the story that any disappointment has been melted away by my happiness in seeing this series back. You can see the care and love these guys put into this series as they craft a story that is half toy story and half a pure horror story. In fact I loved this book so much I decided to do a solo review of the book which you can see here.

I turned next to Strange Science Fantasy #1 from IDW by Scott Morse and was impressed that anyone wanted to waste paper publishing this story. It has a crazed energy to it and the main character is the insane “Head Light”, but it failed in my opinion. It reads poorly as there is no marriage of words and pictures. You are constantly going back and forth between the art and the words. Any potential of joy I could have derived from the kinetic frenzy of the art was constantly destroyed by trying to read the captions. I think I understand the idea of it and some of the pure concept of what Morse was going for, but I’m saving my money and quitting this series now.

Next up was Farscape Scorpius #3 from BOOM. Rockne S. O’Bannon was the man behind the TV series and he is behind this and the regular Farscape series and I’m enjoying both books. I’m in the midst of watching the TV series again and it still holds up as a great series. The show itself had some episodes that were not always advancing the overall plot of the story and it worked well since the show was normally coming on weekly. As a comic book takes longer to tell what would be a single episode and comes out monthly these series have wisely decided to always advance the overall plot. Given that the pacing is different from medium to medium this series is doing a great job of switching formats but giving us everything that made the show great. Watching Scorpy try and manipulate the vastly superior Kkore is great fun, especially as the Queen of this race seems to know exactly what she is dealing with in Scorpius.

Next up generating a comment is The Calling Cthulhu Chronicles #1 from BOOM Studios. The Lovecraft horror stuff has been done before by BOOM and other, but I think BOOM does it the best. This first issue by Michael Alan Nelson and Johanna Stokes as writers and Christopher Possenti as artist was a great beginning. It had a very scary start to it as a child sees his mother killed before his eyes, but it gets worse when the child has been told he chosen. The mystery splits off in a different direction and is set-up is in the “real” world enough to keep it creepy without being too outlandish. Horror books are hard to achieve the proper balance in comics and this book does a great job starting out the series as we are introduced to others who may have been chosen.

Locke and Key Crown of Shadow #6 (of 6) was next. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez are producing one of the best series on the stands. It is among the literate graphic stories on the shelves and stands with Echo in the scope of the book. I know it is being done as a series of six issue mini-series, but I’m becoming curious as to how or if the story has an end. This issue focuses on the mother who has become a total drunk and has no control over her life anymore. The sadness of her missing her deceased husband is palatable as you read it. The disgust of her two older children and their protection of their younger sibling rings very true. It is a tale of things broken and a magical way they can be fixed and of things broken that will remain broken forever. This series is a great collaboration and a wonderful work of art.

This brought me to Daytripper #8 (of 10) and it was another wonderful issue. The story never sees Bras himself in the book, but instead we focus on his wife and son as he is on a book tour. He leaves messages everywhere, from e-mails, to letters, notes on the refrigerator and text messages to his wife and young son. The love in this family is very real and tangible. He dies of a brain tumor suddenly while on the book tour. His wife and son are devastated. It is a very emotional issue and a hard one to read in some ways. It is a truly unique series in my experience and it is teaching me a lesson I have learned many times, but it can never be learned enough. Each day can be your last day, so as much as possible we have to make it count. It doesn’t mean we don’t live our lives and that we don’t have bad and good days, it is just important to understand each day that we have is something to value. If also speaks of how important our continuation of life is and how many others its continuation can affect. The best phrase I can come up with is this book teaches the meaning of life as defined by death.

Then it was onto something totally different Sixth Gun #1 & #2. I think it was a good thing I had two issues of this book as the first issue was not grabbing me 100%. Of course I did not enjoy “The Damned” by this creative team either so the chances of me hanging onto this book long term are iffy, but I’ll try issue #3. I’m concerned about who the General (the main undead bad guy) maybe as he appears to be a confederate general and I grow tired of the Confederacy being used by some writers as equal to Nazis. It is an odd mixed of Westerns and the supernatural.

Echo #23 was next up and this was another excellent issue. The plot is pushed forward, the interaction between Ivy and Julie is hilarious, especially as Dillon hears it via a cell phone. This book just continues to excel and is without a doubt a masterpiece in the making. Terry Moore will be known by this work more than anything else he does. I have to say that stuff like Echo and Daytripper make Sixth Gun look average at best and they make me want to drop more and more of the capes stuff because most of the super hero material can’t hold a candle to these books.
Adventure Comics #516 was horrendous for the LOSH story and decent for the Atom backup. If it wasn’t for the Atom story I would drop this book. It was another origin of the LOSH story, with some retro-con thrown in for good measure and RJ Brande talking like a hick with no command for English (or whatever they speak). This story had generic art, reconstruction of an origin that has been done to death and a script written for a 12 year old. The Atom backup by Lemire and Asrar saved this book as it was a tight fast paced story, well constructed and entertaining tale of the Atom trying to track down who has been messing up his life. I’m almost ticked off as Lemire is keeping me on this book, which I should drop.

Batgirl #12 wrapped up what was essentially a year long storyline. Red Robin and Batgirl used the first year to establish each of these characters and both did a fine job. I’m happy with Stephanie as Batgirl and Wendy being Proxy, an Oracle in training. All in all this was a good job from Bryan Miller and mainly Lee Garbett on art.

Rebel #18 was an awesome issue and I can guarantee that Gwen will love it as it was Brainiac centric with Viril Dox, Brainiac 3, Brainiac and an idea that Pulsar Stargrave is Brainiac 4, which is confusing. Anyway this title has consistently been a good book and Bedard delivers issue after issue after issue.

Last and far from least was Iron Man Noir #4 (of 4). Of all the Noir titles that I read from Marvel this was easily the strongest of the bunch. It was a well written tale and the individual issues held up as well. Manuel Garcia delivered some excellent art to go with Scott Snyder’s script. Scott recently became exclusive with DC and was given Detective Comics for at least an arc and while that may seem strange to give a relative unknown that high of a profile book, if you read Scott’s work on this book and his creator owned Vertigo title American Vampire you will understand Scott gets it already. I think Scott has the potential to be a big name in this industry when all is said and done.

Once again I had a lot to say and so I broke the post into two parts again. It was a fun week of books and a ton of what I got generated comments from me, so that is a good thing. Although books that I don’t comment on are not bad or good, just usually middle chapters that are humming along.


  1. Why shouldn't the Confederacy be viewed in the same light as the Nazis? Oh, sure, they had different economic philosophies, with the Confederacy being more or less laissez faire and the Nazis being state guidance/control of privately held industry, but the core thing people do and should remember about both of them is that they viewed other humans as something less than human.

    That's not an uncommon outlook of various cultures throughout history, but the Nazis and the Confederacy took it to extremes. The former tried to eliminate entire populations it didn't find up to its standard of humanity. The latter was only marginally better in fighting to maintain ownership of the people it found lesser. Sure, the Confederacy didn't try to kill all Africans but that was only because living slaves are a lot more productive than dead ones. It's not like an owner of a slave could be charged with murder for killing a slave.

    Not even a stranger, for that matter. It would have been the equivalent of today's law where a person is responsible for the value of his neighbor's dog that he killed. Hell, the dog has more rights today than the slave did. A person can be jailed for intentionally killing animals today (for amusement, not for some practical reason like hunting or slaughter).

    The main difference between the Confederacy and the Nazis, when it comes to dehumanizing, is that the Confederacy has a lot more apologists.

  2. Couldn't agree more about Strange Science Fantasy. Great visuals and... good? story.

    I enjoyed it, but I had to read it three times to make full sense of what was going on.

    I can't recommend a book in which you look at all the pictures, go back, read all the words, and go back again a third time to read the words and look at the pictures at the same time.

    It's worth the effort but it's a whole lot of effort.