3.05.08 Reviews (Part 3)
Echo #1 (Abstract Studio): Let me first get the requisite information that every other reviewer on the interwebs seems to feel compelled to include when discussing this book… This is the new book from Terry Moore. Terry Moore did Strangers In Paradise. Rasl also came out recently. Jeff Smith did Rasl. Jeff Smith did Bone. Dave Sim did Cerebus the Aardvark. He has a new book coming out too. They are the old school independent creator/publishers. I will now compare them for no other apparent reason. Ahem. So… Terry Moore’s new book looks beautiful. The stunning cover leaps off the stand at you. Artistically, it boasts the trademark expressive and crisp lines that made SiP so enjoyable. If you don’t dwell too long on the questionable nuclear physics of “viscoelasticity” and inorganic polymers, you get a wonderful origin story rooted in the classic 1960’s Marvel atomic paranoia that spawned Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and the X-Men. I enjoyed the many concurrent voices and caption boxes; Moore doesn’t insult our intelligence and over-explain them. I’ve seen a lot of criticism for this title not really going anywhere. Hey, relax. It’s the first issue. What’s with the rush to set up an entire new world in the first issue and have major character development, a fight scene, a cliffhanger, a love interest, and a villain? Are we losing our collective patience with new properties? Do we really want/need more of that formulaic approach? Where is this sense of immediacy coming from? Let’s just watch. In the interim, we get great lines like “the margin between insanity and genius is measured by success” while reminding ourselves that a truly unique vision takes time to develop and unfold. Grade A.
The End League #2 (Dark Horse): As Remender himself is quick to point out, yes “it’s derivative.” Yes, “it’s just a superhero story,” so the complaints that this isn’t original can just stop already. Obviously the archetypes themselves aren’t wholly original, they never claimed to be. And that’s sort of the point. The concepts aren’t original, but Remender’s analysis of these familiar molds is. The direction that Remender takes us in suggests that heroes first and foremost are people. Therefore, they’re fallible. They’re flawed and they make mistakes, in ways that the archetypes of Marvel and DC he’s working with would never be allowed to. He’s able to tinker away here and instead of deconstructionism, gives us realism. If these people with their inherent greed and shades of gray really had powers and that all played out to its natural conclusion, what would become of the world? In the end, you just might see a league banding together like this, since “there exists no perfect conclusion.” Grade A-.
Pax Romana #2 (Image): My reaction remains a bit mixed on this title, and Jonathan Hickman’s work in general. While the straight dialogue/text pieces can be dense and downright boring, some scenes certainly pop. The General revealing himself to Constantine comes to mind. You also can’t help but fall in love with the dichotomy of two helicopters and a few armored vehicles taking on 100,000 Roman soldiers. The grand concept, which is a fantastic one, suffers a bit from the eclectic format and execution. While it may not connect squarely with the audience, it is definitely ambitious and different. That said, even if it fails, you have to acknowledge the nobility of the attempt. There’s few creators that I’m more anxiously awaiting new projects from. Grade B+.
Logan #1 (Marvel): Eduardo Risso’s amazing art is immediately noticeable here. Unlike his work on 100 Bullets, which uses more shadow and is overall more representational, this is highly detailed with rich backgrounds. Take a look at the snow and the trees and the mountains and the streams. They’re lush in a way that 100 Bullets simply doesn’t call for. Brian K. Vaughan has some nice tricks up his sleeve too, showing Logan’s honor during warfare, a clever hiding of his abilities, and a typical BKV cliffhanger that makes you want to pick up the next issue. I do believe that nothing terribly new was done here, but it was done extremely well. Perhaps this proves that there is a bit of story life left in this overexposed property. Grade B+.
I also picked up;
Best Erotic Comics 2008 (Last Gasp): An interesting anthology with some great contributors, such as Justin Hall, Ellen Forney, Colleen Coover, and Trina Robbins.