Sunday, February 12, 2006

Comics Recap

Gun Candy #2
This book is exactly as its title describes, it's just candy. It's super vilolent, exploitively sexy, it's like the creators were just one drink away from doing outright fanboy porn. The thing is, it's so damn well drawn. There is some crazy, and I mean crazy gunplay and action sequences, and the crisp and clean linework of Brian Stelfreeze is matched only by his keen eye for composition. The book is in black and white so you get to enjoy these lines to the fullest, there is grayscale work but the tones are kept simple as to not be distracting. The story plays out in a way that I guess was inevitable, but it's alot of fun to look at. It's a real guilty pleasure.

The second half of the book is another episode of "The Ride," which is okay. The art by Phil Noto is pretty keen.

Hawkman #49
Once more some good art and a good story, and an "ending" to this chapter in Hawman and Hawkgirl's career. A very sci-fi Butch and Sundance going out, tying into the omnipresent Infinite Crisis galactic shabang. This is a last issue of sorts, since when we see it next the book will be renamed "Hawkgirl" but remain with current issue numbering. I normally wouldn't pay it much mind except for the new creative team: Walt Simonson and Howard Chaykin!

Aside: that cover image above? It was clearly colored for RGB, those are "screen" greens. you just cant reproduce those greens in print without a neon ink, if even then. The actual printed cover is green, but not like that. Seeing as it's just the one color, I don't know why they didn't just print it with a spot ink. The colors on the inside are nice, tho, especially on the paper stock they use. it's a bright newsprint that soaks up the ink real good, whereas it would not have come out as well on gloss. Alot of other books think they can use gloss paper to "make it nicer," but I'm thinking colorists are rarely made aware of this to adjust their work accordingly. Printing is a fickle art.

Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special
Shame on you, DC, SHAME! This was a HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT, and it just boils my blood. The story somewhat continues from the miniseries and Hawkman books, I don't know why it's not just issue #7 instead of a "Special." It's anything but special. Sure Gibbons continues the story as the galactic shit hits the fan, clueing in some other events you may not be aware of if you're not reading every single IC tie-in. And yes, Reis continues to pack his pages full of cosmic nuttiness that I've come to know and love, albeit with more than your standard share of inkers.

But the colors? Ugh. There are a couple different ways to place blame here, but blame on individuals is rarely constructive. From what I can tell, the book was rushed. It was very late getting to color and it could not be completed in order to meet the book's schedule. That is, and this is important, it could not be completed to the standards set by previous issues. And that's where you lose me. Editorially, this is a huge mistake. DC is basically saying all they care about is getting the book out on time regardless of quality. I raved and raved about the miniseries, because it was one hell of a comic. Rann-Thanagar War was presented so well initially, I just can't imagine what possessed them to put out the Special the way they did (at a $5 pricepoint, no less). Has anyone else seen this book? Am I crazy? There is a decent first page, and then a mishmash of what are referred to in the biz as flats, grads, and god-awful glows. Were the decision up to me, I would have printed the damn thing in black and white, no foolin'.

This goes beyond disappointment, this goes to management. If Infinite Crisis is supposed to be this gigantic landmark, universe defining event, there is an artistic responsibility to readers to deliver the best your company has to offer. As IC goes on, this appears to me to be something DC isn't fully up to task on. In the IC book itself you have a haggard Phil Jimenez inked by anyone available, and in the "special" tie in issue you have the introduction of DC's self proclaimed "major new direction" for Green Lantern Kyle Rayner: the official introduction of his Ion persona. Am I going to remember these books for the stories or the shortcomings? With Rann-Thanagar War Special, what will be remembered most? The discovery of Earth-Prime Superboy causing the planets of Rann and Thanagar to collide? The death of Alan Scot's daughter Jade? The debut of Ion? Or... the shoddy coloring that was so sub-par I felt like returning the book.

It's just a comic, yes, but publishers have a responsibility to live up to their own standards.

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