Friday, September 14, 2012

What I read this week - Sept 14

What a week! Actually, it’s been a month or so but who’s counting. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re back! I am sure that more than a few of our readers were worried that it was the end of ComicsAnd, but I can happily announce we’re still going strong. I will say that an annual vacation might be just what the doctor ordered. What to expect going forward? More of the same that you have grown to love.

The schedule,
Monday - Jim's Reviews
Tuesday - Jim previews what's coming out for the week.
Wednesday - A deep dig into previews by one of the gang
Thursday - Thomm's Reviews
Friday - Lee's Reviews
Saturday - Matthew's Reviews
... that's a heck of alot of reviews.
Sunday - A look at the glorious covers of yesterday!

Now then, since it's Friday, it's my turn to talk about books.  Let's just go with, chances are you haven't read these.  This week I managed to read Absalom: Ghosts of London, Sláine: Treasures of Britain and Mars Attacks Classics Vol 1.

Absalom: Ghosts of London (w) Gordon Rennie (a) Tiernen Trevallion  published by Rebellion/2000 AD
The hype:  Veteran copper, Inspector Harry absalom, heads a special squad that enforces The Accord - a diplomatic treaty made in the sixteenth century between the throne of England and Hell. If any demonic entities step out of line, Harry and his team will track the infernal offenders down and sort them out for good. A miserable old bastard with a knack for finding trouble, Harry was the perfect man for the job. But years of strife are starting to catch up with him, and now Harry also has to contend with the fact that he is dying of terminal cancer...

The best of the week was easily Absalom.  Imagine an older, grouchier Constantine with a team of helpers and you will have a very good idea of what this is about. 

I'm an art guy and I have to say the art was stellar.  Trevallion has some talent and it shows.  It reminded me of Risso with smooth, flowy lines, but without the heavy inks.  I really can't think of anything bad to say, the characters were well designed, the pages were well laid out, and the story telling flowed.  You can't ask for anymore from a new artist.

Rennie's story matches the great art.  He quickly establishes our hero, Harry, as your typical crotchety old war horse and in one bit of cliche introduces the "new female recruit."  But once we're past that the story goes all out.  It's full of action and groovy monsters.  What made this stand out was the world building that Rennie did.  There are multiple subplots, and all sorts of hints to stories yet to be told. 

This was great and worth hunting down.

Sláine: Treasures of Britain (w) Pat Mills (a) Dermot Power, Steve Tappin, published by Rebellion/2000 AD
The hype: Sláine MacRoth – Celtic warrior and High King of the tribes of the Earth Goddess Danu, has been summoned through time to the age of Camelot. King Arthur has fallen in battle and a curse has caused darkness to fall upon the kingdom. In order to heal the land, Merlin and Morgaine la Fee need Sláine (accompanied by his unfaithful sidekick Ukko the dwarf) to retrieve the lost 'Treasures of Britain' – magical artefacts also being sought out by the Saxon plunderer Hengwulf. These powerful items are defended by the demon-like Cyth who harvest human misery in order to revive their masters - the Dark Gods of Cythrawl!

I am a huge Sláine fan. His early stuff with art by Massimo Belardinelli and Mike McMahon is fun British style barbarian stories. Then the series had art by Simon Bisley who went wild on the book and made it over the top fun. This books continues the tradition of fine art with the painted styling’s of Dermot Power. The book is really, pretty to look at.

In this collection Sláine is sent to King Arthur’s time to gather the relics of Arthurian Legend.  Doesn't that premise sound great?  It does to me!  Sadly, the story itself was left me cold.  It was good, and it never got to great.  Mills did his homework and it's interesting to read about the magical artifacts that Arthur used.  He also made the villains more flawed people than true villains. For example, Mills used a more classical, female power or a fading form of feminine spirituality supposedly practiced by the Celts or earlier peoples for his Morgan LeFay.  For all the good parts
the story devolved into hero finds magic gizmo, fights monster, and goes home.  Repeat.  After a short period it gets repetitive.

It's fine.  It's pretty to look at but if you're new to Sláine don't start here.

Finally, because of the success of the latest Mars Attacks series I read Mars Attacks Classics Vol 1.  This was another book that was fine.  Giffen turns in a decent enough script and Adlard's art is good enough.  But the it never gets above that.   I really wanted to love this but it never quite got there.

And that's it for this week.  See ya next Friday.

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