Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Comics Recap

Solo: Michael Allred
The above image is of course not the cover, but the substitute was fine with me-- if not the reason unsettling. This issue is solid gold from cover to cover, but "Batman A-Go-Go" stands out as an exemplary tale that will be remembered for years to come. I give it the weight of a "Killing Joke" or "For the Man Who Has Everything," two Alan Moore classics that are timeless examples of definitive personality studies-- both of the lead characters and comics themselves. It's that good. Allred plasters his signature storytelling all over the Batman mythos with equal moments of sincerity and absurdity. I was so wrapped up in the story with disbelief that I didn't see the ending coming, even though that was the only possible conclusion. Buy it. Read it. Love it.

Loveless #1
Maybe Azzarello is tapping into the latest rage where a western must be stock full of cussing, violence, and good ol' sexin' around, ala HBO's Deadwood. I personally thought it was a little much, the genre is no stranger to such things but I felt as if I was being clobbered by them by book's end. But Loveless redeems itself with a well crafted introductory chapter that stands out as a prime example of why comics is a medium that offers a completely unique discovery in storytelling. //SPOILERS// The reveal at the end is something that can only be delivered in comics form-- Wes Cutter's mysterious companion is shown to be his lover at about the last moment possible. In film, no matter how long she was cast in shadow or how long she kept unmoving, she would have been given away by her voice and body language. I thought very hard of how such a situation would have been handled in prose, and while it would have gotten farther along the reveal would have been a bit awkward without any previous setups or even as the bizarre stripping-at-gunpoint scene was described. But in comics it's done just right with the Azzarello flair reminiscent of 100 Bullets and fine artistry of Marcelo Frusin. I'll give the series a chance based on that alone.

JLA #121
I have no idea where this series is going, but it would seem to be recommended "reading between the lines" while this whole Crisis debacle is going on. New series artist Tom Derenich does a nice job, even if some of his female faces fall on the stern side. His action panels show off some great body movement and he seems very comfortable moving the camera around. Inks by Dan Green were very nice-- thick and solid. At first I was wanting Baron's colors to take more advantage of the different settings as all characters are instead presented in their undeniable hues. But then I came to the conclusion that JLA has been leaning towards more of a showcase book, and there's no reason they shouldn't pop off of every single page, which they do. The renderings are bright and unapologetic, screaming the identities of each hero. JLA as a series has been holding up pretty well over past year.

JSA Classified #4
Well we sort of get a resolution here, but of course it's played out to be continued in Infinite Crisis. Power Girl would appear to play a significant role as one of a handful of survivors of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Johns packs this issue pretty full, even with a few splash pages, but the real star of the book is Amanda Conner's art (equally complimented by Jimmy Palmiotti's sharp inks and very nice coloring by Paul Mounts). Conner needs to draw more! I mean, I know she does books now and again, but this just seemed like the perfect fit. I've loved Conner's art for a very long time, I first caught eye of it in the 90's on Marvel's Barbie comic, no less! Her work is very inspiring to me and I've learned immensely from it as it jives well with my own personal style. I am really hoping the success of this arc-- both of sales and critical acclaim-- lead Conner to get a regular book.

Amazing Spider-Man #525
The Other, Part 3
Man, this thing is going downhill fast. From what I've read so far I seriously doubt this thing has to be 12 parts. This particular issue got me lost, as if things were happening that we should have seen but were replaced by talking head conversations that really have no bearing on the outcome. On one hand this can be some sort of Morrison-esque experiment where the reader is just expected to know what's happening behind the scenes because of sporadic inferences, on the other Peter David might be in over his head. It's not like him. I know he needs to coordinate with 2 other writers, and I certainly don't think a writer can't experiment with new styles, but I am just not getting this.

The Authority: Revolution #12
The story has concluded with an expected outcome, but the whole series felt anemic to me. Dustin Nguyen did a fine job with art, altho I was dissapointed with veteran Friend's chosen method of inks. The art was presented in more of a hard-edged graphic style than both Nguyen and Friend are known for, and the art is certainly not bad by any account, but I longed for more of a presentation representative of past work. Brubaker's story followed through as it needed, but there were some directions I thought were truncated and opportunities that were missed. Remember when The Authority completely blew you away? I just didn't get that this time around, as much as I enjoy the individual works of the book's team I didn't see the puzzle pieces fall into place this time around. Considering this was at first an "Eye of the Storm" book, subsequently relegated to "Mature Readers," more could have been expected than the occasional swear and far-too-sporadic bare breast. There is a decent set up at book's end, but I really wonder how much more Authority we will be seeing from WildStorm in the future.

Justice #2
I was a bit befuddled after the first issue, but the second issue was fantastic. There is a larger story going on with each of the Justice League icons, but I found the central story revolving around Batman and the Riddler to be fascinating. If that was the sole plotline it would be enough, but there seems to be much, much more going on.

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