5.10.2007

5.09.07 Reviews - Part 2

DMZ #19 (DC/Vertigo): Wood & Burchielli continue their intriguing story about a shooting incident in the DMZ. This time they throw in the perspective of the ranking officer on scene, in what looks to be a legitimate alternate take on the event, or is he just believing his own lie? I love following Matt along as he tries to find the truth. It's a good lesson in what happens when you ask 4 different people what happened during a certain event and get 4 similar, but differing takes on it. As an added bonus, the guest artists are on fire here... Nathan Fox continues his brushed looking, inky lines reminiscent of Paul Pope, and Viktor Kalvachev brings on the detailed realism of Travis Charest with the symbolic stylization of say, Becky Cloonan (on Wood's own Demo series). Grade A.

The Killer #4 (Archaia Studios Press): Jacamon & Matz continue to impress with their story of a professional hitman questioning his place in life, flashes of regret now seeping into his periphery. I know this will sound blasphemous, but it's really intended as a compliment... the refined art reminded me of Herge in spots, The Killer looking like a grown up Tintin(!) Every panel is just filled with so much life, check out the way the bar scene seems to bustle with activity, or the way the soft aqua-blue lighting of the sex scene pops with a clean, ethereal energy. This is one of the smartest and most beautifully rendered books currently on the stands! Not to be missed; can't wait for the hardcover collection. Grade A.

Note: Special thanks to the crew at Archaia Studios Press for including a lone review on the back cover of issue 4 right here from 13 Minutes! Thanks guys, I appreciate the support! Keep up the amazing work! There are also review excerpts from 13 Minutes and others on the ASP site: http://www.aspcomics.com/killer_preview.html

Stormwatch: PHD #7 (DC/Wildstorm): This is going to be the most backhanded compliment I give all week... I really shouldn't like this series, but I totally do. The characters are just okay, kind of tired leftovers from the Wildstorm Universe. The art ranges from just okay, with some occasionally disproportioned anatomy, to quite good and is actually improving all the time. But Gage and Mahnke manage to squeeze some life out of it all with some very creative energy and the application of disciplined comic book craft. The plot flows with a likable ease; it's extremely readable and never stops being engaging or intriguing. Gage's ear for naturalistic dialogue never fails and here he hits on some notes about the burdens of leadership quite well. I'm reminded of Roger Ebert quote "a good movie is not about what it's about, it's about how it's about what it's about." In other words, you can have the most boring setting or tired group of people around, but if the craft you apply to them is sufficiently inventive or polished, you get entertaning results. Like a stodgy curmudgeon, I keep looking for reasons not to like this book, but thankfully can never find any. Grade B+.

Battle Pope #14 (Image): I've been an extremely casual fan of Battle Pope, picking up stray issues in dollar bins and recently began buying the series regularly with #12. So, I guess it's my fault for not knowing that this issue was the last issue, last reprint of the original self-published Funk-O-Tron run anyway, and it now goes on hiatus. Damn, just when I was beginning to get into it. That said, it does end pretty abruptly, and instead of being sort of randomly funny, there's an effort to unexpectedly end the plot with a marriage between Mary & God, which just falls kind of flat. Tony Moore's pencils are still magnificent and Val Staples coloring is extremely vibrant, but the story's over. Kirkman mentions a new mini-series... in 2008. Ok, maybe I'll remember to check that out. Grade B-.

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