Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quickie Reviews: January 20, 2010

Because I don't feel like saying much sometimes... (And apologies if anything I say here winds up being said on the Splash Page podcast that will go online later this week probably. We had various recording issues, so I don't know what parts of mine and Tim's discussion actually got recorded and saved. But, whatever, if there's some crossover, just play that part while reading this blog and it's like you've got a transcript or some shit. Also, you'll see that, yes, I do write how I talk. Or, at least, I try to... what that says about my writing or how I speak is something I don't know...)

Anna Mercury 2 #3: High-concept action series keeps on a'truckin' boy oh boy. The whole space vikings thing is funny, but I'm more interested in seeing what Anna Mercury's fellow agents are like. The introduction of Max Jupiter -- wait, sorry, "THAT'S MAX FUCKING JUPITER, DEAR" -- at the end of the issue prompted a laugh, partly because of Facundo Percio's art. He's got a slick-yet-rough style. The wild, bug-eyed, freaked out look Mercury has a lot of the time really sells just how fucking insane her job is. Not a reveolutionary work, but I always enjoy it when an issue comes out. [***]

The Authority: The Lost Year #5: Ever wondered what would happen if you found an artist that was influenced by manga-influenced artists and Sam Kieth? Well, wonder no more thanks to Jonathan Wayshak. I'm very close to dropping this book as Keith Giffen's writing is... not good... I have no idea if this was Morrison's original plot or if Giffen is deviating, but it's lacking. Maybe Morrison would have made it work, but Giffen's dialogue lacks nuance and... reads like someone who understands only the most superficial characteristics of the Authority. At least I don't have to see Darick Robertson's art butchered by hack inking... [*1/2]

Captain America #602: Didn't make it through the Nomad story. Don't care. The main story is back into the regular sort of Captain America comic we all know and love. But with Dean White doing the colours. It looks better and why not take the break that Reborn provided as a chance to change the visual tone of the comic? [***1/2]

glamourpuss #11: The car story was a funny gag that didn't work in execution. The rest of the comic with Sim focusing on Stan Drake's facial expressions was great. Really wonderful stuff. [***]

Gravel #16: Both a 'done-in-one' issue and tying into the larger idea of Gravel as the new king of magicians in England. A pretty basic ghost story that's worthwhile as it brings up the friction between Gravel and those that really control England... which follows up on last issue's bit about that. The weakness of the main story hurts this issue a bit, but I do like seeing Gravel in a story that takes up just a single issue. Everything he's been involved in so far has been part of a larger story when, like John Constantine, the character lends itself to short horror stories. I'm kind of surprised that Ellis hasn't tapped that part of the character more yet. [**1/2]

Joe the Barbarian #1: Honestly, if I didn't know what the concept of this series was, I would have liked this issue less. The art is gorgeous in its sketchy, angular detail. But, the writing is weak and relies heavily on the idea that this will work much better when read as part of the whole. I would completely understand someone who had no idea where the story is heading reading this issue and not wanting to buy number two. It would be their loss, but I do understand. (One thing that our recording issues for the podcast does mean is that you won't hear Tim and I discuss this issue. Or how Vertigo's preview pages tend to be the final pages of the comic... good insights there... ah well...) [***]

Power Girl #8: A funny issue that had me more than last issue. I checked out this series partly to review #7 for CBR and partly because I really dug Palmiotti and Conner's "Supergirl" strip in Wednesday Comics. Last issue was fine, but didn't wow me -- or make me laugh much. This issue really brought the funny and did so in an interesting way plot-wise. Power Girl getting drunk and goofy was rather amusing as was the stuff with the bad guys -- and so much of the humour is executed in the visuals. That's a place where a lot of comics fall flat since doing funny comics requires an artist that can sell jokes visually and not a lot of people can do that (mostly because that's not a skill they develop when working on most superhero comics). I think this book may be getting a spot on my pull list. [***1/2]

Spider-Woman #5: I don't really have many thoughts on this book. I enjoy it, but not that much. I don't dislike it. It's like one of those TV shows that you watch because it's on, because you sometimes get one line or scene that makes you want to watch more. Alex Maleev's photoreferenced art is hit-or-miss as most photoreferenced art is. The drop-in at the end by the Thunderbolts comes out of nowhere -- in that bad way. Curious to see where this book is after next issue. I'm on the fence about it really. [**1/2]

And that was this week's non-CBR-reviewed books that I bought.