Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Sunday Open: First Week of March Part 3

And thus we conclude this week's books...

Black Summer #5

This series continues to baffle expectations. We get the remaining Guns heading to an ammo dump and are confronted by new military Guns. Fight ensues, much fucked-up-ness. Then, we get a couple of military men discussing how their response may have been very, very wrong and maybe they should have stopped and listened to John Horus--that maybe he wasn't necessarily wrong--at which point, Horus shows up and wants to talk to whomever is in charge. I honestly have no idea where Ellis is going with this book as each issue does things I don't expect. The discussion on the military base was the big surprise of this issue as it seems so out of place somehow--and yet not.

Casanova #12

In which shit is fucked up as Zephyr just wrecks her way through EMPIRE's moon base and kills her father. Just like that. I can see a little bit of Casey's Codeflesh here with the dialogue with no sound, but that's hardly new. Mostly a silent issue with the focus on the action, and it works. Two more issues left in this arc and... much like Black Summer, it's very hard to tell where Fraction is going. Oh, and Fabio Moon's art rocks. So does Juan Jose Ryp's in Black Summer. But in different ways.

Doctor Sleepless #4-5

Hmm. Still not sure what to make of this book, but I'm digging it. I have little interest in exploring the various online interactive stuff, but I seem to have an old mind like that. I like books that I can just read and music on physical objects. Thankfully, the online interactive wiki stuff doesn't seem necessary to enjoying this book, which is pretty decent a lot of the time. It is definitely less focused and more open than Transmet was, which fits. This book is more about ideas than characters. Although, the bit with the police commisioner in issue five reminds us that John is very much an Ellis character despite some of the weirder more Morrison-like aspects to his personality (the Tulpa stuff seems more Morrison to me just because that's where I first encountered it, even though Ellis's work has long had interests in the supernatural, occult and shamanic type stuff). The openness of this book compared to Transmet is evident in the eight-issue opening story here compared to the three-issue one Tranmet began with--although, the first year, was really the opening story in many ways, but with six issues of self-contained stories instead. I actually find it funny that none of these issues here have felt like part of a storyline, nor have they felt like one-off issues either. It's more of a meandering, everything-is-connected-but-not-in-a-strictly-syntaxical-manner... it actually seems more parataxical than anything else I've seen from Ellis. Huh. Worth checking out.

Fell #9

Richard Fell is an interesting character, a police detective completely devoted to justice instead of the law. It's nothing new, but does fit with Ellis's generally optimistic tone (cynically optimistic, though). This issue is no different as Ellis again emphasises the importance of talking and listening to others. However, this prioritising of justice over the law may get Fell in some trouble--particularly that last scene. But, an engaging book if only because I enjoy Ellis's characters when they're focused on making things better for other people.

Narcopolis #2

I love the language play here, but the story itself isn't nearly as engaging as one would hope. There's potential in the main character as he's a member of the police/CIA-esque organisation now, which has us wondering if it will corrupt him or if he will corrupt it. This issue did provide a chance to explain one of my pet peeves: hiding nudity. This particularly annoys me in this comic, because there are no restrictions. What's the point of having a character naked in a scene when you're going to stategically hide every naughty bit? We live in a mature society, oh yes.

Pax Romana #1-2

While not as engaging as The Nightly News, this series presents some very interesting sociological questions about time travel and how one would change the world if given that technology. Hickman includes "transcripts" of conversations that supposedly stop the issues dead, but really allow him to deliver well-rounded conversations on the topics in only two pages rather than 12 in traditional comic form. His look at the concepts are pretty damn good.

His actual art doesn't impress me that much, but he designs his books well enough to cover up that fact. Actually, these aren't traditional comics in a lot of ways. I particularly love the two timelines given in issue one that give the reader some idea of what has been changed. Also, how can one not love the idea of Catholics funding scientists so they can go back in time and make sure the Church always rules the world?

And that does it.