Monday, February 26, 2007

Random Reading: A Shitload of Books for Break Week Part 3 . . . RANDOM MATURE READER BOOKS!

Today, we get five books by four writers and two publishers, all meant for eyes a little older than the age I was when I first started reading comics (which was about far back as I can remember).

Deathblow #3

Seriously, I hate the art in this book. Brian Azzarello deserves better than standard Wildstorm studio shit. That’s one of the worst holdovers from the ‘90s: the continued use of cookie-cutter studio artists that look like bad clones of the original artist whose art I already think looks like ass. Top Cow has the same problem and when was the last time I bought one of their books? The answer is never, but that’s because Wildstorm at least has writers like Azzarello here.

That said, though, it’s not like this book is amazing or anything. But, I do trust Azzarello. Everything else of his I’ve read has been in trades and it’s always read well there because you can see it was obviously written with the larger story in mind. There’s enough here to see that Azzarello does have a plan. He’s got a direction. In fact, I think Deathblow is probably all about the world right now in a way that Civil War wished it was.

I just wish they’d get rid of Carlos D’Anda and get a proper artist.

Midnighter #4

You know how I mentioned that imitators of Warren Ellis always missed the point? Same thing with Garth Ennis. Like Ellis, Ennis’ work is full of humanity with all that violence and shit as window-dressing. And that’s what most of this story has been: window-dressing. Window-dressing for the sequence in this issue where Midnighter finally has his chance to kill Hitler and complete his mission.

The entire moment rests on the splash page of Hitler looking like a beaten-down wreck of man and the following page where Midnighter watches him walk down a corridor from the shadows.

Throughout the issue, Peter Snejbjerg does his best Chris Sprouse impression, but the sequence has all the touches of his art--and that’s what it needs. Sprouse is good, but I’m not sure he could fully capture the sheer pathetic frame of 1945 Adolf Hitler and the look Midnighter has in his eyes, watching from the shadows.

These pages are what it’s all about. Next issue will wrap up the story and it will have violence and quips, but it was really just about a sad, little man who’s not worth killing and why, oh why, do we always put our trust in sad, little men?

The Boys #6

Hughie is Ennis at his softest--at least, since Preacher. I find that funny in the book that’s supposed to out-Preacher Preacher. Hughie is a sensitive, decent guy who is still heartbroken because he finally found a little bit of happiness and it was torn from his grasp (quite literally). As much as that hurt, he doesn’t even have it in him really to want revenge. He’s too sweet.

And, in this issue, he kills someone.

While everyone is all up-in-arms about the fact that a hamster crawls out of the guy’s ass, why doesn’t anyone pay attention to the fact that Hughie takes care of it after? Why doesn’t people ever pay attention to that shit? It really annoys me. The same thing happened in the 1980s when everyone read Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns and missed the fucking point. DC missed the point here. They focussed way too much on the violence and sex and missed the humanity. Never mind the fact that I haven’t connected with any character they publish on an emotional level the way you can’t help but connect with Hughie.

They just miss the point, don’t they?

I look forward to reading the next issue whenever Dynamite puts it out.

Criminal #4

Here’s a book that’s all about people and the way they relate to one another. I don’t actually have anything interesting to say about it. I dig this book. I always have a hard time talking about stuff I like in detail. But, I dig the book. It’s good.

Hellblazer #229

A little one-off story by Mike Carey. I don’t know what to say here, because it’s a one-off Constantine story. Nothing gets changed, nothing really happens. John stops a demon and tells the story as a way to explaining to a friend why he’s not eager to just fuck with someone. It’s a decent read. It’s nice to read these little one-off stories from time to time, because it seems like every writer that takes over the book these days always does it with the intention of these long, three-year stories in mind. Which is all well and good, but it’s nice to read he self-contained stories. Even within those runs, the self-contained or two-part stories are ALWAYS a part of the larger story. Not here, though. It’s just a short little story about John and a demon split in two. The sort of comic I like buying. Don’t need to worry about anything else. Everything you need to know about this issue is there. I think it’s the only comic I bought this time that does that so completely. Sad, isn’t it?

Tomorrow: random superhero books.