Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What I Read This Week – Apr 3

Not a lot of intro this week because I am running out of time and need to post this. But I did see a couple of things worth noting on the web.
First, is the passing of Jean Giraud who most people know as Moebius. And before you say “eh, who cares” you should realize that he is as influential as Kirby was in America, or Tezuka in Japan. And, it should be noted many of today’s artists can trace their influence back to him, either directly or indirectly. I am not going to even try and do him justice because it was done better here.

And, one of his short stories is here. I cannot recommend it enough and yes, it is that awesome.

Anyway, as for books, this week I read Infinite Kung Fu, Whispers in the Walls, and The Path #1-9

You can see what I thought of the rest of the books below the break.

Infinite Kung Fu written/ illustrated by Kagan McLeod, published by Top Shelf, 464 pgs, $25.

Lei Kung, the last brave and honorable student of the Immortals has to fight the five now-evil students and their new master, The Emperor, from destroying the world. Lots of kung fu fighting ensues.

This is one long love letter-comic to Kung Fu cinema. There isn’t any other way to describe it. It’s full of everything that is kung fu. It has monks, really bad bad guys, mystical artifacts, and every fighter has a secret kung fu skill that only he knows. It’s quite fun.

You can see previews here and you can read the long review here.
Whispers in the Walls written by David Munoz, illustrated by Tirso, published by Humanoids. 184 pgs, $20. See some previews here

After the brutal murder of her parents, Sarah, a young orphan, is sent to an isolated children’s hospital. She, and the other children there, are not what they seem and neither are their doctors.

I’ve come to a realization about Humanoids collections. If they release it as a HC, then it’s a buy on sight because it’s gonna be fantastic. If they release it as a SC, then it’s gonna be good but probably not great. Every Humanoids hc so far has exceeded my wildest expectations but the sc’s have been very hit/miss. This book is more of a miss. The main problem is that the story is somewhat generic. It’s a vampires-werepeople-humans fighting each other kind of thing in which no one is pure of heart and everyone has some dirty little secret. If you are going to use a generic plot, then execution needs to be perfect in order for it to work. And in this case it’s just a wee bit off.

The plot seems to drive the story more than the characters and Munoz occasionally cuts corners to get to the next action sequence. The beginning is fine, the middle really picks up, but then sags back to fine at the end. If it weren’t for the excellent art I would have been sorely disappointed. It’s worth your time to read, but wait for a sale to pick it up.

Finally, this week I self traded a series. Actually, I shopped a sale and picked up The Path #1-9 written by Ron Marz, issues 1-4, 6-7 illustrated by Bart Sears, Inks by Mark Pennington, issue 5 illustrated/ inked by Walter Simonson, issue 9 illustrated by Matt Smith published by Crossgen, $ cheap!.

Obo-san’s brother is dead. And with his death has passed a weapon of incredible power. Obo-san will only use the weapon to battle the Gods whom Obo-san believe is responsible for his brother’s death. The Emperor wants to the weapon to crush the neighboring kingdom and expand the empire. Obo-san flees with an entire army chasing him.

This is a real odd collection because there are parts that I really, really love and parts that are good but not $3 good.  I am sure most people missed this because people didn't want to read a story about medieval Japan.  To start, Sears's art is just stellar.  He changed his style slightly and it's incredible.  This is what they call a 'peak' because it's some of the best he's ever done.  The art in the entire series is just great. 

Don't get me wrong, this isn't perfect.  This uses the 'wide screen' concept so every page is a double page spread.  You're not used to reading pages laid out like that so it takes some getting used too.  Not to mention, unless you are holding the book at arms length, you can't quickly see the entire panel. 

As for the story... it's really good too.  Marz seems to hit the perfect balance between going to slow and going to fast.  To be fair, if I paid full price off the stand... eh, I might not be too happy.  But picking up 9 issues for $1 and being able to read it all in one sitting is awesome.  The characters are well developed and there are plenty of subplots to follow from issue to issue.

The problem so far is that issues 7-9 have been kinda slow.  That's not true, they're well paced but I only paid $1.  If I had paid $3 for each issue I would have been pissed out of my mind.  Issue 7 had a little too much purple prose and issue 8 has 4 double page splashes in a row which seemed like fluffy filler.   

But, even with those little flaws these were really good issues and I would recommend picking them up.  Even if it is only for the art.  You should be able to find it in the cheapie back issue bin at your local store.

And that’s all for this week.

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