Geoffrey D. Wessel (gdwessel) wrote in bs_about_comics,
Geoffrey D. Wessel

Reviews! (LONG)

Well, after a month or two of being too busy to deal with them, I'm back to reading my comics on a regular basis. So of course since LiveJournal gives me this outlet to talk smack about them, I will take full opportunity of it.

Black Summer #3 + Doktor Sleepless #2 (Avatar Press): Two contemporaneous Warren Ellis works continue on, and they couldn't be more different from each other if you tried. Black Summer moves at breakneck speed with barely enough time to catch your breath between pages, whereas Doktor Sleepless is more of a slow-burner. Which makes complete sense, as DS is supposed to be an ongoing, whereas you've only got 8 issues (well, 7.5) for Black Summer. That said, I'm having a much more enjoyable reading experience so far with Black Summer. I'm finally getting used to, but still not completely on board with, Juan Jose Ryp's art tho. That said the last 2 issues haven't been grating like before art-wise. And Katherine Artemis looks like a Power Ranger when she's in her Gun suit.

Again, Doktor Sleepless is a lot slower of a burn, and most of the first 2 issues so far has been world-building. Which is fine but I'm hoping that the plot really kicks in soonish, more than just doing a pirate radio broadcast and shining the Sleepless-Signal over Heavenside. More body-mod love in print from Ellis. And there does seem to be a mystery starting to build up regarding John Reinhardt -- if Doktor Sleepless even IS Reinhardt.

Atomic Robo #1 (Red 5 Comics): YOU! NEED THIS! RIGHT NOW! Pulp adventure starring a robot built by Nikolai Tesla. NEED I SAY MORE. And hey, he's even on here at LJ at atomic_robo!

Killing Girl #1 + 2 (Image): OK. Glen Brunswick + Frank Espinoza with a bloody noir tale about a hitwoman with a shady secret past. Well don't we all have one of those. Espinoza, who also does a book I've never read called Rocketo, draws in a way reminiscent of a much more bloody, scratchier version of Darwyn Cooke.

Simon Dark #1 (DC): "Gotham City's Other Protector." Eeeeyeah. Pass. Moving on.

Omega the Unknown #1 + Howard the Duck #1 (Marvel): Two Steve Gerber cult creations get the reimaging/return treatment in 2 separate miniseries'. Omega only lasted 10 issues the first time around, and I never saw the original series, so I don't really have anything to base it on memory-wise, so I'm coming at this from a fresh perspective, I guess. The writer of this, of course, is Jonathan FREAKIN' Lethem. The story is a little confusing to start, and you know right off the bat that something just isn't quite matching up with the boy, Alexander. Which seems to be a bit par for the course with this title, from what I've read about Gerber's original series. Farel Dalrymple's art really is NOT typical Marvel "house style" superhero art, really more looking like indie comix, which hey is fine by me. I'm digging this so far.

Howard, on the other hand, I am VERY familiar with, and this new version is...well, not good. I like Ty Templeton OK, but I'm just not feeling it with him writing Howard. The artist draws Howard as, well, pretty sickly looking. Almost like a waif version of the Duck from the movie. The satire just isn't very, well, satirical, and yes, we ALL know that Marvel seems to equate MODOK with Comedy Gold(tm), but that's a joke that's already being told way too much. With this and MODOK's 11 currently going on now as well, you can tell that the whole Z-grade-characters In Comedic Situations genre is already running out of steam. Maybe Marvel shoulda just forked over the money to pay Stuart Immonen for another 12 issues of Nextwave otherwise Warren Ellis wouldn't have ended it. You can really tell Marvel is missing Nextwave.

And another thing re: HTD#1 -- a zombie cover?? And you didn't even get Arthur FREAKIN' Suydam to do it up?? Come ON, Joe! Same goes for that Marvel Zombie handbook you just put out with the Greg Land cover (Yes, I KNOW that Land was the first one to draw the Marvel Zombies, thanks) -- if you want a zombie cover, you get Arthur Suydam. It's THE LAW.

Speak of the Devil #1 + 2 (Dark Horse): Gilbert Hernandez breaks away from Palomar and Love & Rockets for a bit to deliver a 6-part tale about a teenaged girl gymnast who is also running around in a devil costume acting as a Peeping Tom in her neighborhood. Mostly harrassing her very zaftig and kinky stepmother, watching her in various sexual situations both solo and with her father. Um... She also gets chased around the neighborhood when caught by some neighor-boys, sprains her ankle during her escapades right around the time of state championships, and also spies on a boy she has the hots for, Paul, and his somewhat abusive home life. Not really sure where Beto is going with this, but it's fascinating reading. And Beto does like his women curvy...

Johnny Hiro #1 + 2 (AdHouse): Fred Chao brings us a cutesy series about, well, Johnny Hiro, who is "half-Asian, all hero," apparently. He and his girlfriend Mayumi live in Brooklyn and are just trying to get by despite absurd manga-style adventures. In issue #1 their apartment, and Brooklyn at large, are menaced by Gozadilla, the obligatory daikaiju with a grudge, after Mayumi in revenge for Mayumi's mother having been a pilot for the giant robot that beat him in 1978. Or something. Issue #2 features martial arts action as Johnny attempts to steal a live lobster from a rival restaurant on his boss' orders so he can impress a food critic from Vogue magazine. It's pretty light-hearted stuff, although Mayumi speaking broken pidgin English kinda jolts me and bothers me. If you're into Scott Pilgrim you might like this.

Mess (Rorschach Entertainment): What do you know, there is truth in advertising, because that's exactly what this book is. Incoherent horror with art to match. Avoid.

Vinyl Underground #1 (Vertigo/DC): New series about a vinyl-record obsessed occult investigator in London, written by Si Spencer, who was slated to write an episode for season 1 of Torchwood but, er, didn't. That said, it's pretty derivative of early Vertigo tropes, especially Peter Milligan's output from that time. Adding the NEW TWIST of an occult detective who is also obsessed with old Otis Redding records moves it away from Hellblazer territory and kinda sorta into Phonogram's. Which may be unfair, but it is what it is, and Phonogram was the best debut book last year. This...won't be 2007's. The art was OK, I suppose. This book could get better, and then again, it might not.

The Black Diamond Detective Agency (First Second): Brilliant and beautiful, and one with some interesting LJ-relevant backstory. Eddie Campbell adapts an unmade screenplay by C. Gaby Mitchell about a railway bombing in the final months of 1899 and the efforts by the prime suspect to clear his name, to the point of infiltrating the ranks of the eponymous Black Diamond Detective Agency, a private detective firm trying to work around the Secret Service on this case. Amidst a Victorian-era version of CSI, basically, this police procedural epic also delves deep into the minds of persons as they head toward the 20th Century -- a topic Campbell is pretty familiar with, having illustrated Alan Moore's epic about that very same century-epoch amidst a crime drama, From Hell. Campbell's art is magnificent, fully painted, and yet familiar looking to those who remember him from From Hell or Bacchus. Good stuff, highly recommended.

And interestingly enough, as I hinted above, there is some LJ-relevance to this, as apparently Campbell was not the first to be called upon to adapt this. Salon creator Nick Bertozzi (bertozzi) not too long ago posted some pages he did as part of another attempt to adapt this screenplay to the act_i_vate group, where Nick is currently posting his own beautiful work, Persimmon Cup. Having now read both versions of the same scene, it was definitely an interesting look at another take on the same thing. Wonder how the rest of Bertozzi's version might have read...

Yeah, that's a lot of catching up, and I still plan on posting more reviews. Got some other sundry titles to smack on about but I'm rambling on now. Also making the journey through Bryan Talbot's latest, Alice in Sunderland. I do mean journey, too, as it's a long-'un.

Comments? Questions? Concerns?
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