Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sketch Reviews (August 4 2011)

On Tuesday, Michelle and I saw Titus Andronicus in Stratford as part of their yearly festival. The only reason why we chose that play was I had a code to get tickets for $10 each and it was a day that I wasn't working. I have never read the play and Michelle has read a lot less Shakespeare than I. I knew a little bit about it (violent, over-the-top, not respected usually) and was rather impressed with the production. You could tell that there were some big weaknesses in the play -- and if you're not willing to go along with some fucked up shit, you just won't like it. The director also designed the stage and made good use of the space, the lighting, and the sound. John Vickery's performance as Titus stood out -- like a lot of men who do Shakespeare, he's developed such a commanding voice capable of a very broad range. Oddly, I was also taken with the character of Aaron, a moor who basically engineers the destruction of everyone, because... well, he's evil. Now, having the black character as the all-evil villain is not something you're supposed to like or get behind... but, Dion Johnstone was so charismatic that I was reminded of the Joe Casey style of villain. The villain who flat out loves being a bad guy and is so over-the-top in his love of villainy that he can't not be entertaining. You got the impression that, had he never been discovered and managed to destroy Titus's family completely, Aaron would have turned on his allies and destroyed them, because that's what he does. I do love a good villain. So, if you have the chance, go see it.

Batman: Gates of Gotham #4: The art was a step up here with Dustin Nguyen and Derec (Aucoin) Donovan. For plot reasons, I found this issue less compelling. I don't know what they could have changed, but moving towards the end of the series, there's less room for cool revelations -- although, that final page has me wondering. [***1/4]

The Boys #57: The Hughie/Annie relationship is oddly complex. Nice to see Ennis not have it all return to normal right away with Hughie still struggling with exactly what he wants. That shit at the end is fucked up. Then again, who wants to see Jack Kirby fucking Wonder Woman? NOT ME. [**3/4]

Flashpoint: Batman: Knight of Vengeance #3: Wow. That was some harsh shit. Any time Brian Azzarello gets near Batman and his world, there's always some giant mindfuck right around the corner. Revealing to Martha what Bruce is like in the regular DCU... jesus. [****1/4]

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #3: This title also turned out to be fairly fucked up by the end. I imagine this will partly lead into Milligan's Justice League Dark next month, but was an oddly compelling little story. Some people didn't really dig this mini... I did. Moreso as it progressed. [***1/2]

Moon Knight #4: I didn't really dig the third issue and this was a nice recovery. Character-driven with some good action, and a nice cliffhanger. Solid, entertaining superhero comics. [***1/2]

Scalped #51: Hey, new paper! BURN IT ALL. [****1/4]

Ultimate Fallout #4: I've got to say: I don't really care if Ultimate Spider-Man is black. Or a woman. Or gay. Or anything else that isn't straight white male Peter Parker. It's a neutral move for me, as a reader. It neither attracts me to the book or makes me want to avoid it. The introduction we get here is entertaining... yet, until the mask came off, it didn't really seem like someone who wasn't Peter in the costume aside from not knowing who the Kangaroo is or not fully understanding his powers. Otherwise, same personality. After my remark about Ultimate Tony Stark entering into a Future Foundation-esque group last issue, Hickman one-ups that and has Ultimate Reed start a twisted, fucked up version of the group... kind of. And, apparently, the US government created mutants. That is about two hundred times less interesting, honestly. When I picked up my books this week, I added Ultimates and Ultimate Hawkeye to my pull list. Good call. [**1/2]