Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I Read – Dec 22

Another week, another stack of books.  Since it's almost Christmas and I am so far behind on shopping we are getting right into it this week.

I started the week with Welcome To Hoxford, written and illustrated by Ben Templesmith, published by IDW. 

I would like to say Ray is an atypical psychotic but he isn't.  He's led a life full of abuse which shattered his mind into so many little pieces.  Long since incarcerated, these days he just kills his cell mates.  But, after killing one too many people, Ray and some of the other really, really depraved inmates of his prison are shipped to Hoxford.  Hoxford is a privately run prison in which the worst of the worst reside.  The guards of Hoxford are also werewolves who happen to prey upon the criminals.  So what happens when the worst of human race meets the worst of the supernatural race?  Lots and lots of violence and blood.  That's what.

In Hoxford, Templesmith shows that he knows horror.  This is a finely tuned horror extravaganza that never really lets up.  The story and the plot drives everything.  Typical of horror books, several characters are there just as monster fodder.  But, Templesmith sets it up well enough give you just enough to care about the various people.  Maybe care is a strong word, enough to be interested to see if they escape or not.  The best part for me was the ending.  I liked it so much because when I read it, I really didn't like it.  But, the more I thought about it, the more that the ending made sense, AND the ending was right for the story.   Be warned, it isn't the happy, whee wasn't that fun ending that you expect.  It's just perfect.

At this stage in Templesmith's career, do I really need to say anything about his art?  You either love it or hate it and I love it. Bottom line, this is a fun read if you like horror stories.  It's not anything amazingly new but it is solid.

I finished the week with Incorruptible, Vol 1 written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Jean Diaz, published by Boom! Studios.  

Collecting the first four issues of the series, Incorruptible is the story of Max Damage, a career supervillain who, after seeing the destruction wrought by the Plutonian, decides to be a good guy.  So, along with a former police chief and his underage sidekick Max tries to be a good guy.

Incorruptible is fine.  Waid turns in a good story of a villain trying to turn his life around.  The problem I had with the story is that I know it isn't going anywhere.  I don't want to get involved in a major arc at this point so I was hoping for a cleaner ending.

The art is fine, leaning towards weak.  Diaz does layouts well and the story can easily be followed and read.  His figure work was very distracting to me.  Feet and hands, which are incredibly hard to draw, tended to change size throughout the book.  The other problem I had was with the female sidekick Jailbait.  She is supposed to be a 16 yr old.  Diaz can never seem to capture the look of a 16 yr old girl so on  one page she looks 30, then 12 then 18, then finally 16 and we start the cycle over again.

There was nothing really wrong with this book, just nothing that made me want to come back and read more.

In between, I managed to read bits and pieces of Graphic Classics, African-American Classics, published by Eureka Productions. 

Thomm covered this in detail and I just wanted to add that I agree this is a really good book.  Most of the stories were written before 1950 so many of them deal with the injustices of the times.  Thomm stated that children younger than 12 could handle this, and while that is true, I would warn you of impending discussions post reading it.  There is no way a tween can read this book and not ask 'why.'  It's an excellent question, but you have to be ready to discuss social injustices, and why people burned other people just because of their skin color.   You can read Thomm's full review here, and see previews here.

That's it for me.  Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

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