3.22.2007

3.21.07 Reviews - Part 2

The Brave & The Bold #2 (DC): Hands down, this has to be the funnest DC superhero book in... well, forever. Waid's script is dense, but nimble. It has all kinds of nods to DCU continuity, but is perfectly accessible to a new reader. It's fun, but not campy. It's smart, but not condescending. It's confident, but not arrogant. Waid understands perfectly the voices of the main players in the DCU and can effectively show them using realistic dialogue. He understands that the original charm of the stories he's emulating wasn't necessarily the sets per se, but the quiet moments that inhabited those diverse locales. It's the key to a successful team up book; he's captured the charm and all the reasons we grew up loving the books that this was inspired by. And don't even get me started on Perez's art. It's just perfect. Beautiful and perfect. Notice how he captures the manic claustrophobia of a gambling planet. The youth of Supergirl. The emotion in the facial expressions. The simple majesty of Green Lantern and Supergirl flying through space. Hell, he even manages to make the new Blue Beetle armor look cool. I love this book! Grade A+.

Wisdom #4 (Marvel/Max): Well, well, well. Another surprise little hit in the vein of Stormwatch: PHD. It seemed to come from nowhere, uses a mix of familiar and new characters, and under the hands of the capable Paul Cornell, it immediately captures your attention with some devious charm. As it chronicles the adventures of an eclectic team of MI-13 agents (who deal with mutant and otherworldly threats), it is witty, sexy, and has all kinds of irreverent attitude. The first "mini-arc" within the mini-series dealt with the team fending off a war with the Faerie Kingdom, while the next "mini-arc" is now dealing with a horde of Jack the Rippers from all corners of the multiverse. Though the switch to artist Manual Garcia from Trevor Hairsine was a bit jarring, and issue four isn't quite as strong as the first three overall, this title continues to be inventive, fun, full of racial tension, love triangles, and engaging dialogue. It's got the big high-concept, sprawling ideas of an Ellis plot and the wacky scripting of a Morrison book. It's infused with an energy that has me totally captivated. It's brimming with ideas and wholly original; there's nothing quite like it on the market. It's already a strong contender for best mini-series of 2007. Grade A.

Okko: The Cycle of Water #1 (Archaia Studios Press): Yes, Archaia Studios Press (ASP) is on a roll. They've got another hit on their hands here with a new take on a ronin mythos. There's a fun little team of adventurers here: Okko; the leader, Noburo; the mysterious red-masked warrior, and Noshin; the sake-swilling monk. They're joined by a young boy in search of his sister. The script is fast paced, engaging, and has a way of conveying dense amounts of information without feeling expository or as if the narrative is moving slowly. The first issue is chock full of brothels, pirates, and battles, yet also has time for the quiet little character moments. Writer and artist Hub is a very compatible addition to the ASP stable of creators. His pencils are extremely refined and detailed, and have a very European sensibility to their look and feel as they depict an allegorical Eastern story. Grade A.

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