AICN COMICS REVIEWS: MIGHTY THOR! STRANGE CASE OF MR HYDE! DETECTIVE COMICS! DELIRIUM'S PARTY! 28 DAYS LATER! & MORE!!!
@@@ AICN COMICS REVIEWS! @@@
|Issue #51||Release Date: 4/27/11||Vol.#9|
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: DELIRIUM’S PARTY: A LITTLE ENDLESS STORYBOOK OGN
THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. HYDE #1
THE MIGHTY THOR #1
DETECTIVE COMICS #876
BRIGHTEST DAY #24
28 DAYS LATER #22
Advance Review: In stores this week!
DELIRIUM’S PARTY: A LITTLE ENDLESS STORYBOOK OGNWriter & Artist: Jill Thompson
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
Fuck little Golden Books, because the minds of tomorrow shall be molded by comic creators. While Little Goldens were good for their time in spewing morality to the masses, after reading the recent treasure trove of child-friendly graphic novels hitting the market including DELIRIUM’S PARTY, Little Golden Books pale by comparison and look as though they were developed by hacks. The art was insipid and the morality was always heavy-handed and delivered in such a way that put both child and parent to sleep in an instant. This is not just the cynicism of age here; even as a child I used Little Goldens as mere targets of defacement, scribbling my own stories with crayon on to their pages.
DELIRIUM’S PARTY is simply the way childrens’ books should be written. Thompson deliciously delivers engaging prose that whimsically inform as well as entertain and seem to dance across the page and off the tongue. The artwork serves as a veritable feast for the eyes. I’m a huge fan of Thompson’s past work on books like INVISIBLES, but DELIRIUM’S PARTY supersedes even these past grand accomplishments. There is a painstaking craft at work here, and if you don’t get that on the first pass of reading this book, Jill provides a wonderful back-up on how she achieves this greatness. Art-philes take note; this is a step-by-step on how to achieve water color godliness.
Now, Thompson’s step-by-step can tell intrepid artists the mechanics of her process, but what can’t be bottled, bought or sold is Thompson’s unending imagination. The plot of this book is simple in design, but there is nothing simple in its execution.
One never would have expected the Endless characters from SANDMAN lore to be fodder for anything other than nightmares, but when one thinks about it, the black and white nature of Delirium, Dream, Destruction, Death, Destiny and Desire’s existences are actually perfect for a child’s young mind to imbibe. What also is undeniable is simply how unendingly cute these characters come across in their muppet-baby diminutive forms. And that’s cute with a capital C in both word and design. When Delirium decides to throw a party for her sister Despair, because Despair has never smiled (or seemed very happy ever), she sets on the grand quest to throw a party to correct this grand unfairness of the great universe. As her name suggests, Delirium’s planning is an explosion of random thought and unadulterated imagination. Who out there wouldn’t use those words to describe the cognitive processes of most young children? With the aid of her only voice of reason, her puppy Barnabas, Delirium draws together all the staples of a proper party and does so in her own unique delirious fashion. While the words on the page are a delight, the imagery in this book demands the closest examination. Within each picture are a thousand stories to be told; you simply will not get the essence of each picture on the first pass. Most children will want you to reread this book, simply because children grow through repetition. Mom and Dad will want to reread DELIRIUM’S PARTY to see what new imagery and small details seem to rise out of thin air with each new viewing of the book.
The end of this story is as equally satisfying as the ride itself. No matter what gifts are bestowed upon Despair, she merely shirks them off with no smile or words. Naturally this makes her brothers and sisters sad…and only through that sadness does Despair finally smile. Honestly, I’m thinking of bringing DELIRIUM’S PARTY on my next corporate retreat. Because no matter how many times you take Covey’s Seven Habits, or how many self-help books you might read, at the end of the day we are who we are.
DELIRIUM’S PARTY speaks to the nature of man through the eyes of a child and the imagination of one of comic’s top talents. While the words speak to children they are never simplistic. While the imagery will make kids coo with delight, the intricate detail will keep Mom and Dad enthralled through multiple readings. And while I’m still not a big fan of kids, there are times I truly wish I was one again and learning about the world anew with books like DELIRIUM’S PARTY as my guide.
Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2011 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.
THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. HYDE #1 (of 4)Writer: Cole Haddon
Artist: M.S. Corley
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed by: BottleImp
I picked this comic up off the stands thinking it was a straightforward adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, before I realized that the title was missing one half of the titular duo. Flipping through it, I realized that THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. HYDE is more of a sequel to the original tale rather than a retelling. Plus, it has Jack the Ripper—and I LOVE Jack the Ripper. I will sit through any History Channel documentary, watch every shitty re-enactment, read whatever potboiler Ripper murder mysteries I can get my hands on, rent every direct-to-video schlock Ripper-centric slasher pic, debate the veracity of the multitude of wildly improbable theories as to Jack’s true identity…you get the picture. So when I saw that Cole Haddon was taking my favorite infamous historical figure and mashing him up with a classic figure of horror fiction, I needed to buy this book.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but compare this comic to Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. HYDE has the bad luck to be set in the same Victorian England as the first two volumes of LOEG, and like Moore, Haddon has stirred up a steaming concoction comprised of both historical fact and contemporary literary references; the prologue depicts Stevenson’s Jekyll debating his experiments with H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau, while five years later the Ripper murders in Whitechapel are investigated by Police Inspector Thomas Adye. Comparison between the two comics becomes even more inevitable when looking at Corley’s artwork; I can’t say for certain that Corley was influenced by O’Neill, but there is a definite similarity in drawing style. Like O’Neill, Corley draws in a simplified, slightly cartoonish manner. The stylization of faces also rings close, though the figures here in HYDE lack the scratchy, almost jittery quality that O’Neill’s hatching creates.
Despite the surface similarities to LOEG, this first issue is an entertaining read. Haddon borrows liberally from “The Silence of the Lambs” for the comic’s central scene, as the unhinged genius Dr. Henry Jekyll (NOT killed by the police as Stevenson described at the close of his story, but imprisoned beneath Scotland Yard in an effort to cure his condition) taunts Inspector Adye behind a barred and bolted door. As with the Thomas Harris novel and Jonathan Demme film, an agent of the law must appeal to a dangerous psychopath for aid in solving a series of murders; I could easily hear Jekyll’s dialogue being spoken in Anthony Hopkins’ precise, clipped tone. And as amusing as this may be, it illuminates the weakness of the series.
The one thing holding this story back is its lack of its own identity—there are bits and pieces culled from other comics and films and they’re all simmering together in a pot, but the overall flavor is pretty familiar. HYDE needs that one essential, unique ingredient that can elevate a familiar recipe to a dazzling new delight, and so far, I’m just not tasting it. Nonetheless, I am intrigued enough by the premise to come back for a second helping next month, and see if the chefs have added anything new to the broth to spice it up.
Plus, have I mentioned that I'll read anything with Jack the Ripper in it?
When released from his bottle, the Imp transforms into Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from New England. He's currently hard at work interpreting fellow @$$Hole Optimous Douche's brainwaves and transforming them into pretty pictures on AVERAGE JOE, an original graphic novel to be published by Com.x. You can see some of his artwork here.
THE MIGHTY THOR #1Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Olivier Copiel (pencils), Mark Morales (inks)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee
I don’t know what it was that triggered the change in my superhero reading habits, but in recent years Thor went from a character that I never really felt “right” about intermingling with the usual capes and tights crowd to the type of character I prefer to read in that regard. The thing about it - what it really boils down to - is the constant scope that a good Thor story or a more cosmic tale always entails. There’s countless superhero books that play on the human aspect of these super-powered people – and I would argue that a good cosmic/godly tale never leaves that behind either – but when these powers go to battle, it truly is that epic feeling that gets thrown around way too much. When the battlefront moves beyond the Earthly boundaries, as do the antagonists, then it becomes a lot easier for someone like me to lose myself in the weightiness such celestial conflict brings.
Enter Matt Fraction. Anyone who knows Fraction’s work knows that he tends to play on the heady level, so combining him with a character on the scale of Thor has verily panned out as the great idea it looks on paper. There was so much working with the arc that rode out the last volume of Thor, with the meshing of science and mythology (that no doubt was a play on what the hammer-wielder’s motion picture debut will work with) that dominated its premise. And the humanity was there as well, between Thor’s longing for his deceased brother, Loki, and his continuing to play the pining of Kelda for his her lost love Bill, one of the best holdover stories from JMS’ run.
But that was THOR and this is THE MIGHTY THOR. I know, the writer is the same so that shouldn’t make a difference, but seeing as how this is a relaunch aimed at the buzz coming for/from the movie, you never know, right? Well, we do know now, because there is no difference, except that maybe this first issue slowed things down a lot more than the pace that Fraction set with his closing arc on the last title. While that arc essentially revolved around a mega-conflict between the Asgardians and a warlike race coming down the Yggdrasil that played out in a few issues, this one is taking its time. Not that it isn’t appreciated, again, it’s just a little unexpected for a debut issue given its circumstances. But the stakes that I like to see being played for are there (Silver Surfer yay!!!) and the humanity – this time in the form of the apprehension surrounding the conflicting emotions around Loki’s return – are still there and I hope will remain the foundation of this book for a time to come.
Basically, for those who got bored and skipped ahead (I’m just talking how I feel people!) that was three paragraphs of saying that I think Fraction gets it when it comes to these types of books. The thing that makes these godly characters appealing, at least in their comic book forms, is the power level and their similarities to people like us, if we lived in a world where alien entities ate fucking planets. It’s not the driving thread, but it helps balance out what we are really here for, and that’s to see these gods fight those goddamn planet eaters, and for guys like Olivier Coipel to breathtakingly render them for our enjoyment. This book just does it for me on a lot of levels, to the point where I admittedly swallow my pride on my not paying for $4 books that aren’t indie or have additional pages rule to enjoy it on a monthly basis. I am also, admittedly, glad that Fraction and company did not play it down just because there may be a lot of uninitiated jumping the Thor bandwagon soon. And here’s where I fade this thing out by saying that fears have been abated, the action is great, the emotion is there, goddamn Galactus is coming and this is definitely at the top tier of what Marvel is producing these days, with the “take that as you will” addendum.
It’s Hammer Time! Cheers…
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a Blogger Account where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.
DETECTIVE COMICS #876Writer: Scott Snyder
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug
It’s been a while since DETECTIVE COMICS has been this good. Scott Snyder knows how to write. That’s pretty apparent from his work on Vertigo’s AMERICAN VAMPIRE. The thing that differentiates Snyder from the rest is that not only can he come up with his own original material, he can play in other people’s sandboxes as well. One would think that this would be easy. But take a look at FABLES or THE WALKING DEAD and then read anything Kirkman and Willingham has done with Marvel or DC’s characters and you’ll see that it’s not such an easy task. When the rules are your own, some folks flourish. But more times than not, the good stuff these days are saved for books writers own and it’s apparent the mainstream work is for the paycheck. Snyder, though, writes this Batman like it’s his own creation and he’s writing DETECTIVE like his life depended on it.
For those of you who haven’t been following DETECTIVE for the last year, you’ve been missing out. Following Dick Grayson as Batman, alone and using his detective skills to solve crimes, DETECTIVE has been a non stop series of action, suspense, and mystery. Snyder seems to want to make Gotham a character again and not just a backdrop for the Bat-Signal. Utilizing the talented Jock to his fullest potential, he allows the artist to fill the panels with spires and alleyways, angles and corners, architectural ruins and hellish monuments. Snyder seems to want to give Gotham its history, making it a contender for Metropolis at one point, until it all went wrong. Jock and Snyder’s Gotham looks like a beast who may have been beautiful once, but it’s decayed and died and no one has told it that it’s dead yet. With the vivid angles and spanning landscapes, Snyder’s Gotham seems all new and familiar all at once.
For the last few issues, there’s been a dual mystery going on. Dick has been trying to find out who was using the motifs of Batman’s familiar foes while Commissioner Gordon is searching the truth behind a mystery that’s been plaguing him for decades. While Batman solves the mystery of the crime proper, I have to say, it’s Gordon’s story that is most fascinating. Following a character who has only been mentioned before yet rarely seen, Snyder has unearthed James Gordon’s son, James Jr. and brought him back with a story so fascinating, it makes me wish for less Batman scenes and more focusing on Gordon. And when was the last time Gordon was used other than his usual role of exposition giver on the roof of the Gotham City Police Station? Too long, that’s for sure.
In fact, I’d have to say Snyder is in the middle of one of the best Gordon stories ever.
But the mystery of James Jr. is merely a subplot, threatening to surface soon. At the moment, Batman is in the midst of a new mystery as a dead killer whale is found in the middle of a bank vault. As Dick investigates the crime scene and the unique victim, the trail leads to a damsel in distress with ties to Dick’s past and a new villain named the Roadrunner, because he deals in weapons and cars. The issue even ends with a pretty sweet cliffhanger which, in the grand scheme of things, I’m sure our hero will get out of, but it sure will be fun to see how he does next issue.
There’s nothing conventional about this Batman story. Those of you who have grown tired of the same old stuff with Batman meeting Gordon to discuss a case on the roof then running out to stop the Riddler for the umpteenth time and then back in the Batcave for crumpets and snark served fresh from Alfred should look to this comic for something utilizing Batman and his world to in the most creative of ways. While BATMAN INC and BATMAN & ROBIN might get all of the press, if you want a story of a detective solving bizarre crimes in a city on the edge of darkness, look no further than Snyder and Jock’s DETECTIVE COMICS.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!
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QUARANTINED OGNWriter: Michael Moreci
Illustrater: Monty Borror
Publisher: Markosia Enterprises
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty
One of the advantages that graphic novels have over their mini-counterparts is the ability to tell complete stories in one sitting instead of dragging them out over several months. That makes a world of difference when you revisit a topic or genre that’s been done to death (no pun intended) like zombies and virus outbreaks. It’s very difficult to draw the reader in without fast-tracking the exposition and let’s face it, what can you say or do with the zombie genre that hasn’t already been done before? Nothing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still create an engaging experience and QUARANTINED proves that with a terse thriller that layers a tale about human survival on a foundation of walking dead.
I mentioned the importance of the graphic novel here because it’s one of the reasons this story works. It has the freedom and flexibility to weave in and out of a national crisis and slowly introduce its characters. Body counts don’t really mean anything if you don’t care about who’s getting iced. QUARATINED not only allows the reader time to invest in its leading men (and ladies), it doesn’t haphazardly eliminate them for shock value or to fill plot holes. That’s not to suggest that important people don’t buy the farm because they do, but Moreci doesn’t cheat the reader. That’s probably because he doesn’t need to in a story of this size but to be honest, I think it has more to do with his talent as a storyteller. QUARANTINED is a well constructed creepshow with just the right pacing.
The best compliment I can give QUARANTINED is that you can substitute the zombies with any of the standard survival foils. Whether it’s a nuclear holocaust and “Killah cockroaches!” ala DAMNATION ALLEY or invading aliens who want to go to WAR with the WORLDS, it doesn’t matter, the meat and potatoes of this story is the survival of humanity. Not humans, but humanity. How far would you go to survive? At what cost? When a father and son try to escape a military quarantine and flee a town of flesh-eaters, they’ll have to answer those questions (and more) while also dealing with fellow survivors, who can at times be more dangerous than the plague they’re fleeing from.
Of course you can’t have a graphic novel without graphics, and I’m happy to report the illustrations by Monty Borror are on par with the narrative. At times they’re quiet and understated and other times they’re racing across the page at breakneck speed with a sense of urgency and despair that can only be matched by the protagonists. My copy of QUARANTINED was 157 pages but it flew by without the urge to take a break. That’s saying a lot considering I just downloaded “Mr. Giggles” for the iPad and haven’t played it yet. I know a lot of jaded comic book fans roll their eyes and let out a zombie-like groan at the mere mention of another book about the walking dead, but this is more than just your average “Aim for the head!” shooting gallery. It’s a book about the limits of humanity and may leave you thinking about difficult choices long after you’ve finished reading. Check this one out, you won’t be disappointed.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.
BRIGHTEST DAY #24Writers: Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi
Artists: Reis, Gleason, Syaf, Clark, Prado
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
So here we are: while the culmination of Johns’ war of light really stayed within the GREEN LANTERN titles, the end of BRIGHTEST DAY feels like a true milestone. While it really had very little to do with the Rainbow Rumble, there’s no denying that tangentially this joyride was dubbed as the denouement to BLACKEST NIGHT.
So how does it live up? Well, it reminded me of my fraternity days in college and the girls we affectionately (or not so) dubbed Everest’s. Like Mount Everest these girls were so hot they seemed like an unattainable challenge. And the “climb” to get them up the stairs into your bedroom was an exhilarating, challenging and exhaustive experience. Sadly they were also the girls that once you had reached the “peak,” you realized there wasn’t much there except lack of oxygen and the realization that you’re cold and sweaty. This is what BRIGHTEST DAY was for me, an exhilarating 23 issue rising of some forgotten DC characters, with an ending that feels sort of barren and emotionally incomplete.
I didn’t like the White Lantern from the beginning and it took me twenty-four issues to figure out why. The White Lantern was Basil Exposition from the Austin Powers movies, or every one of my friends’ know-it-all sisters growing up. From day one it bossed Boston Brand around the DC universe for a final reason that became far less important than the tone and actions of the “bossy one” ultimately warranted. Yes kids, the final culmination for the War of Light was one part public service announcement from Woodsy the Owl and one part a demographic exploration to see if we care about the long forgotten Swamp Thing. The DC universe ended up with a better ecology and Swamp Thing is off on a war of eco-terror. Between this and Superman renouncing his citizenship last week, DC titles swung so far left, one would think Dan Didio was appointed a position on Obama’s cabinet. And I’m not looking for a political fight here; I truly do lean more left on these issues than right. It’s just I expected earth changing moments at the end of BRIGHTEST DAY, not an actual change to the earth.
We did get back Aquaman, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter and Hawkman, though. And their new found lease on life over the course of this series was fantastic. As a fan of the old JLI it was especially great to see Martian Manhunter back on Mars and the mind-fuck mating with his girlie Martian. This is not to say that Aquman’s discovery of Blaqualad, Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s foray into mystical realms and Firestorm’s identity crisis were bad, because let’s face it Johns and Tomasi don’t write bad books, these events just didn’t quite hit home as much as Martian Manhunter’s for me. I’m sure others out there will feel just as vehemently about the other stories as I did about J’onn J’onzz. And that was the great thing about BRIGHTEST DAY’S journey, there was something for everyone.
Again though, this end seems…incomplete. I thought for sure that when issue 23 closed with our heroes being turned into elemental entities of Fire, Earth, Water and Air, that they would stay that way for awhile. Become sort of new new Gods of the Earth. Nope. After Swamp Thing uses them as power-ups to thwart Nekron, Swamp Thing’s body rejected these elementals faster than an infusion of the wrong blood type and out stalwart heroes are left as they were before dying. With the exception of Hawkwoman--she remained a queef.
I hold no delusions that my malaise towards BRIGHTEST DAY’s ending is a direct reflection of my own expectations and who was resurrected. I’m sure Swamp Thing fans from across the world are shooting mind bullets into my temple as they read this. My other problem I’m sure is that my pessimistic leanings view BRIGHTEST DAY as an end. The Pollyannas of the world can see this as a beginning, because it does open up a field of future possibilities (and titles). For my money, the greatest treasure from BRIGHTEST DAY was the title that wore it as a sub-moniker: JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST. As a long-standing card carrying member of the BWAHAHAHA brigade, Winnick served as a worthy successor to the throne and truly brought the characterization of that team to life facing their greatest struggle ever. Plus, let’s be honest, JLA has been directionless for quite some time; a shift back to the funny would give a DC team book some much needed distinction in the current endless field of books on the market.
BRIGHTEST DAY may be over, but its wake will bring the toughest challenge yet for the DC universe. Can these B-listers continue outside of cataclysm and avoid being overshadowed by FLASHPOINT? The race is on.
28 DAYS LATER #22Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Art: Alejandro Aragon
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy
I rather adore 28 WEEKS LATER, and I just keep forgetting it until it comes out every month. This week, while not being very action packed, might be one of the best in the whole series. This issue hits the character beats the series has been missing, while also setting up a huge plot change.
Writing: (4/5) The issue takes turns between the two remaining characters, and looks into them attempting to come to terms with the world as it is. Clint spends most of his time talking to various people regarding events. It's nice to see Clint still an optimist and be rewarded slightly with the discovery of the man who found his wife. But the story takes a much darker, more bittersweet turn when the beginnings of 28 WEEKS LATER start to appear. The Clint moments have a definite sense of foreboding, and the mood comes off perfectly.
Salena's flashbacks are rather interesting, and really do delve into her character well. The death of her husband is brutal and fast, as you would expect it to be. But having this be followed by a sweet memory is actually a rather good moment. It gives a normally nice and tender scene a very hard turn. Bittersweet probably best describes this issue. It's so nice to see the happy memories of Salena and Clint. But they're both colored by the impending doom of 28 WEEKS.
If there's anything wrong with this issue, it tries too hard to make you sympathize with Salena in the flashback. It's unnecessary to get us on her side; we already are. Notably, her discovering her husbands body. It's unnecessarily sad, almost manipulative.
Art: (4/5) Aragon draws one hell of a zombie book, and sells more of the characters then he ever has before. That's not to say it was bad before, but it's brilliant this time. Salena is somber and relatable, in a way most characters just aren't. Her crying over her husband’s body is beautifully drawn, and almost all of her moments look amazing.
Clint is a bit off at times, but it's still rather impressive. Just a few faces here and there look a bit off. But the art of this issue are pretty impressive.
Best Moment: Realizing 28 WEEKS LATER is about to happen.
Worst Moment: The death of the husband.
Overall: (4/5) A great, great quiet issue.
THE INTREPID ESCAPE GOAT FCBD Edition
Th3rd World Studios
I really liked this book. it had so many things to like: bad puns and making fun of the French--I mean seriously, it was kind of awesome. Who could not like a book where the assistant is a snake with a vest and a fez? The book was light and had an obvious sense of humor about the goings on within the story. I felt as if it was not trying to take itself too seriously. The comic is set in the dawn of the 20th century with the main character, the Intrepid EscapeGoat, as a famous escape artist who investigates paranormal activity when asked by the locals. This is a setup book for a series coming out in July, so it offers some details that are not fully explained but serve as seed for some new adventures. The first story revolves around EscapeGoat finding his new assistant in an ancient Egyptian pyramid, where he is almost thwarted by Admiral Plombier, an old nemesis. I was disappointed that the French only ran and missed an obvious opportunity to surrender, but hey, there’re always future adventures for that. I would certainly recommend this to anyone to read if they are looking for something on the absurd and funny side. - Sjimbrowski
LOCKE & KEY: KEYS TO THE KINGDOM #6
Joe Hill is finally getting ready to wind up this series, and if this issue is any indication, it’s going to be a pretty tough ride for the Locke family. Artist Gabriel Rodriguez delivers impeccable visuals to accompany this issue’s more action-oriented pacing—it’s a welcome payoff of the preceding issues in this chapter, which tended toward the slow build. That’s not to say it’s all fight, no talk, however. A veeeerrrrry interesting tidbit is dropped regarding Dodge/Luke and the mysterious entity that we saw latched onto his soul a while back. The drawback to this series, as always, is that as a part of one singular story, these individual LOCKE & KEY issues (and 6-issue chapters) inevitably leave me hanging on for what comes next. At least with the series wrapping up, I won’t have to wait too long for answers to all those burning questions. Time for all us fans to re-read the previous collections and refresh our memories in preparation for the big finish. - BottleImp
HELLBOY: BUSTER OAKLEY GETS HIS WISH (One-Shots) #1
While I’ve grown to love the character of HELLBOY (I was a late convert, following the character only after seeing the films), I have to say that the main reason I read these one shots is for the art. The stories are usually somewhat throwaway. Because it’s a one shot, you know there’ll be no long term ramifications for Hellboy, so really it just serves as a spotlight for the high profile artist attracted to Mignola’s character. In this case, Kevin Nowlan offers a gorgeous tale of mysterious occurrences on a farm which uses just about every cattle mutilation and UFO abduction cliché in the book. If not for the art, this story would be a trite flop. I love the character and love the fact that Mignola relishes in the pulp aspects of the character, but any more one shots like this and the specialness that allows Hellboy to fit into all of these X-Files-style adventures is going to wear thin. - Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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May 4, 2011, 7:56 a.m. CST
by V. von Doom
May 4, 2011, 8:04 a.m. CST
by V. von Doom
The trend continues: The money pouring in from films has changed the comics market into the tail of the dog. Comics now serve the films, not the other way around. Discuss! DOOM commands you, fanboys!
May 4, 2011, 8:12 a.m. CST
How they use that character after he's spent 15 years having nothing to do with superheros is the most interesting thing to come out of all this, to me.
May 4, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST
by V. von Doom
Think of the multiple Constantines as avatars in parallel timelines or something. Vertigo is its own country (or gathering of nations or whatever; there's no shared universe). DOOM can only see it in that way, otherwise continuity would kill Vertigo stories before they even got off the ground.
May 4, 2011, 9:18 a.m. CST
come on now...
May 4, 2011, 9:33 a.m. CST
I just mean that it's been so long since there's been a "John Constantine" in the DCU, that I'm wondering how they'll approach the character. I'm guessing he'll be closer to the dapper version Alan Moore introduced than the crumpled hard-luck case he's been since the mid-90s, but we'll see.
May 4, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST
by Olsen Twins_Fan
pretty thin week for comics.
May 4, 2011, 11:03 a.m. CST
Hilarious, especially the political cartoons in the back.
May 4, 2011, 11:32 a.m. CST
It's kind of like visiting with an old friend every time one of those comes out. Good times. I don't buy many new comics, but I've been really disappointed lately in the quality of the new stuff I've tried lately. The new Dark Horse Presents was fucking terrible. Great little Concrete story, and 72 pages of filler that varied between mediocre and out and out lousy. Blue Estate and Green Wake's first issues did nothing for me, and Super Dinosaur is well-drawn, but didn't really grab me either. I kind of dig the new Xombi book that DC's putting out, but I feel like it would read better in trade. I may just keep buying the issues, but hold off on reading them until the arc is done.
May 4, 2011, 11:38 a.m. CST
I'm surprised there was no mention of the extremely jarring shifts between artists in BD 24 -- especially obvious in the page establishing the reborn Swamp Thing and the following page depicting the battle between the living and dead versions of the character. The first artist is clearly trying to emulate the Bissette/Totelben vibe from Alan Moore's run -- in a big full-page spread. Flip the page and suddenly we've shifted to the Bernie Wrightson version of the character -- in fact TWO Bernie Wrightson versions of the character -- in a double-page spread. These two styles look nothing alike and represent completely different periods in the character's history and continuity as well. The editor REALLY dropped the ball here. It pulled me right out of the story and I never got back in. Really shoddy work.
May 4, 2011, 12:22 p.m. CST
May 4, 2011, 12:23 p.m. CST
Agreed that Hellboy one shots are a lot of fun, if not on the verge of getting old. One of my favorite one shots of last year was Hellboy in Mexico where he fights the vampire lucha libres. just a fun one issue romp. Also, picked up AC 900 this week. I'm so torn, because the story itself was very well done, but Jesus Merino's art....god, fuck that guy.
May 4, 2011, 1:20 p.m. CST
I agree with you completely, I've just grown weary over the years writing the words "jarring shift." As fans we should just expect that when a book has a logline of artists as long as my arm (40 inches BTW), that the book will be less than cohesive. Anyone else think that the two-page spread of the Black and Green Swamp Things fighting was horrid from a scale and execution standpoint?
May 4, 2011, 6:15 p.m. CST
Well, I'd gotten used to a variety of artists in each issue of Brightest Day -- but up till now DC has generally split the artists along the lines of various characters/storylines in the book, so the method worked. But in this issue they switched over at a pivotal moment within a major scene and apparently there was no attempt to ensure anyone was drawing the same version of the character. Each artist (or art team) was using a very clear and specific reference from a very specific time in the character's history. But yes -- that was horribly executed. I guess this is what happens when you gotta get your event books out on time.
May 4, 2011, 9:25 p.m. CST
What is the intended age group for Delirium's Party? I'm thinking about buying it for my niece (or rather, for her parents to read to her) but she's only 2. I know you're a kid-hater, but what do you think would be an appropriate age for that book?
May 5, 2011, 1:14 a.m. CST
Did anyone read this? Thoughts?
May 5, 2011, 5:39 a.m. CST
As much as I don't love kids, I actually minored in psychology and part of that was cirriculum child psychology. Plus I've now reviewed a fuckton of kids books (I don't get it why people want ME to review these, but alas it is so) 2 is too young for Delirum, I mean the kid will coo at it and enjoy the lap time with Uncle, but no way she's high enough on the self-awareness chart to "get it." The good news is that the book is downright adorable as opposed to frightening, so your niece will enjoy having read to her now and in a few years she will grow with the material. Plus and most importantly YOU will enjoy reading it to her, especially if you're a SANDMAN man. If you want an immediate graphic novel experience for her I recommend: http://bananatail.com/
May 5, 2011, 6 a.m. CST
I was discussing this series with Johnny Destructo at our comic shop yesterday. First thing I want floating into the public consciousness is that this is not AGE OF APOCALYPSE. People are so fucking literal when it comes to titles. I think Age of X is a fine story for fans of X-Men, Carey did a wonderful job of remaining true to the essence of each character, but changing things up to just a right level for this “alternate reality.” But if you’re not an X-man fan, I’m not sure the “hook” or “a-ha” moment is original enough to turn someone into an on-going fan. They might honestly be pissed at the hook not knowing Legion and Moira’s long history with Xavier. Plus I think noobs will be completely lost on who is who if their only exposure to X-Men has been the movies. Again though, as a life-long fan of X-Men I definitely liked the ride. Plus each of these ancillary “X” titles needed a fresh story start, and this was a fine way to hit the reset button.
May 5, 2011, 6:24 a.m. CST
When a barrage of artists are split along logical story breaks it's far more palatable. This was really shoved together. But the style difference bothers me less than the fact no one seemed to be giving this 110% by the end.
May 9, 2011, 8:32 p.m. CST
I appreciate the suggestion, and you taking the time to answer my query.
May 14, 2011, 10:05 p.m. CST
He got that one from me! I'm the jerk sorry!
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