9.07.2006

9.06.06 Reviews

Local #6 (Oni Press): Megan returns in a creepy issue focusing on incompatible roommates in Brooklyn. I loved this issue. It boasted a striking portrayal of psychological insight into both lead characters. Yes, we are shocked and appalled by the obsessive-compulsive behavior of Gloria. All the more disturbing and ironic that she works in a health care environment. To people unfamiliar with those afflicted with OCD, this is a decent primer to that foreign world of behavior. But, the real brilliance of this issue deals with Megan's reaction. We become just as shocked and appalled by her reaction to Gloria and failure to address it in a constructive way. She dismissively withdraws from it, but perhaps finally learns something about herself in the process, and vows to change her own attitude and behavior. I can't wait to see further development of her character arc and have to believe that it's a treat we'll get to see in future issues of Local. Brian Wood's dialogue diplays an authenticity that rolls right off the tongue and isn't forced or staged in any way. It sounds completely real, not like dialogue from a book in the slightest way. Ryan Kelly's art is breathtaking in its ability to convey emotion and tone, it's a rich blend reminiscent of Paul Pope, Farel Dalrymple, and it's own sort of inky magic. Highly recommended. Grade A+.

The Lone Ranger #1 (Dynamite Entertainment): Sergio Cariello's gritty, angular art style is a perfect choice for this genre. I thought I'd heard that Cassaday was doing layouts in addition to the covers. Quick aside, hey Sergio! Man, I don't know how to spell your name correctly and I apologize. On the cover, Cariello has one "r" and on the credits inside it has two. In any case, whether it's Cassaday or Carriello himself doing the page layout, they have a great wide open cinematic feel to them that plays just right. The rendering of the flashback sequences with their grainy, hazy effects feels just like a 1950's TV serial. In general, Brett Matthews' writing really captures the sound and feel of the 1800's. Although, the analogy of the shade tree and killing a man played well in sentiment, it really leaves you scratching your head and doesn't make sense if you stop and think about it. I don't want to spoil the last page, but what a grand and unexpected way to close this origin issue! My only slight criticism is that this read *extremely* quickly. I actually had to go back and count, there *is* 22 full pages here, but my goodness it felt like 10. Makes me think this could have been done alternatively as a nice 25-cent promo issue in order for this upstart publisher to hook some new readers. Grade A-.

52: Week Eighteen (DC): I thought that Cain & Abel's pad, The House of Mystery, was in Vertigo continuity(?). Seems that the last time I saw it getting significant play was in Sandman(?). The art is really tough to digest, with weird camera placement, odd perspectives, and wonky lines, but is helped considerably by The Question being the peacemaker in Khandaq, some fun lesbian scenes with a promiscuous (and clinically depressed) Renee Montoya, a weird twist for Ralph Dibny (starring The Shadowpact!), and a decent Vic Sage origin in the back-up feature. Still can't stand the Booster Gold bits. The multiple plot threads are still quite disparate, yet somehow managed to flow a tad bit better than usual. Grade C-.

Snakewoman #2 (Virgin Comics): I'm still interested enough to pick up another issue, but this didn't have the "pop" that the first had. It felt kinda' flat with no real hook for the package other than Gaydos' art. It's a fairly straightfoward story about opposing factions assumably carrying on their conflict throughout the ages via reincarnation/reanimation. Oh, and Mahesh Kamath? Mackenzie Cadenhead? Yeah, Editors! Over here! "Datings sights" is not the same thing as "dating sites," chill with the reliance on spell-checker. I'm also tired of all the interviews, text pieces, and Con coverage in the back. Don't assume I'm *that* interested in your story, creators, or company until you've actually had the chance to tell an interesting story first. It's like watching DVD commentary about a movie I've never seen. Show me the quality of your storytelling via the art, not analyzation of the art, establish a track record first, it's just out of sequence. Grade B-.

Mystery in Space #1 (DC): Having been a long-time Jim Starlin fan (Dreadstar, anyone?), I was really looking forward to this, but alas, I thought it left a little something to be desired. There are plenty of colorful alien characters (talking dogs *always* work!) and imaginative Starlin-esque sets that become characters in themselves, such as his re-use of his former creation Hardcore Station. Shane Davis' art is pleasant enough and struck me as an interesting blend of Starlin's own soft lines and the edgy feel of say, Olivier Coipel. And the book does feel dense, even for the $3.99 price tag, there's a lot here. However, that dense feeling is primarily composed of page after page of exposition without much plot development of great interest. It's really a big rehash of decades of DC's Captain Comet continuity. There are a lot of good "parts" here, but the "whole" feels somewhat lacking and unfocused. The idea of introducing a back-up story is one that I will always applaud, regardless of title or publisher. It's a lot of fun to see these attempts to return to a long-gone era of comics with multiple stories per issue. But, here we get The Weird. Judging from what's shown here, I'm finding it hard to believe that this is a serviceable character that will generate interest. There are some attempts at self-awareness, like him commenting on his grating voice or observations about metahuman team-ups being repetitive miscommunication-conflict-communication cliches, but they just sit there and aren't engaging in the slightest. Visually, I think the character of Captain Comet is striking as rendered by Davis, Banning, and Cox... and I do have a certain level of respect for Jim Starlin, but the next issue is really going to have to be tricked out to keep me buying this title. Grade B-.

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