Friday, September 28, 2012

What I Read This Week– Sept 28

Ya know, the best laid plans and all that jazz.  If you want my version... she went nuts.  Coo-coo for cocoa puffs, fruity for fruit loops, and it was all my fault.  Oh yes it was and the truth is irrelevant!  So, because I am such a.... good person... I listened in rapt attention for over an hour to every excruciating detail of her day.  Then I topped it off with an evening of Project Runway and didn't add snarky commentary once. 

So, no daily life intro this week.  Just me... typing.  Quietly.  Expressing my... love of Project Runway.

Anyway, it was a light week for books, this week I read The Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad TP, Operation: Broken Wings, 1936, and Northlanders Vol. 1: Sven The Returned.

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

Let’s start the reviews off with The Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad TP, written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Pitarra, published by Image, 144 pgs, $15

By this point I shouldn’t need to introduce you to Hickman but just in case, he’s one of Marvel’s bright and shiny architects. You either love or hate his work with them. The complaint that I always hear is that his ideas are so big and so grand but the supporting stuff, like characterization and conclusion, isn’t always well formed. I’m coming to the conclusion that most of Hickman’s problems originate with Marvel and not with Hickman himself.

Manhattan Projects is an excellent example of grand ideas executed perfectly. Any book that can have the grandfathers of the nuclear bomb, Joseph Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, and Richard Feynman, as lead characters is ok by me. And not just leads, but interesting and likeable lead characters. Well, as likeable as a cannibalistic, super genius psychopath can be.  It's science fiction amped up to the max and it's wonderful.

Pitarra's art is just as good.  He has a detailed style that is full of life and energy.  His solid composition skills make the talking head scenes (hey it's a book about super geniuses, what did you expect?) good also.

This is one great read.

Operation: Broken Wings, 1936, written by Herik Hanna, illustrated by Trevor Hairsine, published by Boom!, 64 pgs, $10.

You may recall that last week I said I didn’t like war stories. Which begs the obvious question ‘why did I read this?’. Well, this isn’t a war story at all. Oh no, this is very much a heist novel.

Hanna has scripted a tight tale of an SS spy/assassin trying to get out of the ‘business’ in 1936. The only problem is he can’t leave without money, and lots of it. And so begins a very devious tale. The story is tight. The story is compact. It’s a page turner that’s hard to put down.

The art is equally as good. Hairsine appeared on the American comics scene and never quite lived up to the hype. This book will show you why he was so special. The art is like a slightly scratchy, or rougher, Bryan Hitch.

The only thing which may give you pause is the page/price point.  But, this is a very dense, complex story is which has more going on per page, per panel than any other book.  In the words of Hairsine himself, "the pages are frame heavy and actively steer away from splash panels and decompressed storytelling with an emphasis on detailed backgrounds - i.e. the polar opposite of US books."  This would be twice as long if Marvel/DC had published it.

Northlanders Vol. 1: Sven The Returned, written by Brian Wood, illustrated by Davide Gianfelice, published by Vertigo, 200 pgs, $17

I think this is one of those books that didn’t live up to the hype because I expected to absolutely love this. It’s a very good story. It’s a typical Brian Wood story with excellent characterization and great dynamics. It has excellent art. Gianfelice is a great designer and illustrator who is equally adept at handling the quiet and the battle scenes. Every page was very appealing to the eye.

Somehow, even with all that, it left me cold. The story is slightly decompressed which drags it out a little. But I think the main problem is I didn’t want to read about an angst ridden Viking.

And that’s all for this week.

1 comment:

  1. I think later arc of Northlanders are better. Not that the opening was bad, but it got better.