3.12.08 Reviews (Part 2)
DMZ #29 (DC/Vertigo): Wood’s allusion to surge tactics, manufactured stabilization, staged elections, and the role of the UN are all relevant and poignant observations that you can correlate to current events. While the text box narration used to describe the development of the cease fire talks are a bit of an expository cheat, reminding me of the spinning newspaper headlines used in movies to quickly get information across, they’re really offset by the superb nature of the total package. Wood gives us a charismatic, young, urban, ethnic iconoclast – the opening shots (pun intended) take on so much more meaning once the preceding story elements are laid down. Burchielli’s pencils continue to impress with their depth and clarity, and a gritty but polished aesthetic perfectly capturing the tone of the series. Grade A.
Abe Sapien: The Drowning #2 (Dark Horse): Alexander’s art is beautiful; topping it off with Dave Stewart’s colors, particularly the gorgeous yellow hues and earth tones, is just icing on the cake. I did enjoy the routine demeanor of the BPRD Agents, their feeling that nothing exciting ever happens, it’s just a job, and if Hellboy’s not around, even they think it’s kinda’ monotonous. Either nothing exciting happened this issue or I’m just getting tired of all this monster business. The titles in this universe are consistently well executed, but they never blow me away. Grade B.
BPRD: 1946 #3 (Dark Horse): Hard core Hellboy and BPRD fans must be eating this up. Never before has there been such consistent delivery of Mignola-verse projects than Dark Horse has been able to put out in the last few years. Are you waiting for the “but?” But… yeah, I’m getting tired of all this monster business. I like the notion of the inmates literally taking over the asylum here, the Nazi experimental vats are truly creepy, but I just find the whole endeavor a bit difficult to engage with. The mission parameters are obtuse, there’s random flying owls and mysterious demonic appearances that go largely un-commented on, and I just find it hard to care all that much anymore. Perhaps I’ve outgrown Hellboy/BPRD, or it’s outgrown me. Azaceta’s art appears flat, with no depth, and is not aided by the heavy dark inks required by the tone of the story, two competing systems pulling at each other. Grade B-.
The Lone Ranger & Tonto #1 (Dynamite Entertainment): At first glance, the art of Mario Guevara hits you with the sketchy pencil lines of Leinil Francis Yu, but then you start to notice how stiff and awkward the lines are. They have a cold and clinical feel, not the warm earthiness needed to serve these types of stories. There are odd human poses, distorted features, and skewed anatomical proportions of all shapes, sizes, and creatures. Check out the bloated horses, who look like fat cows atop four toothpicks. The panel to panel transitions are just simply not clear. There were at least three instances where I needed to go back and study sequences to try and figure out what happened. The credits list both Brett Matthews and John Abrams on writing chores. Typically, Matthews’ scripts are spot on in terms of dialogue. I’m wondering if he handled the plotting and Abrams is to blame for the actual dialogue which is wooden and needed to be first read aloud before finalized in order to see how it doesn’t flow. There are some crazy leaps in logic, such as “Hey, there’s a shovel here! That means someone must have buried some stuff, because you couldn’t also bury the shovel!” WTF? I think the point of this book was to show that true evil simply exists and can’t be overcome, but even that isn’t very clear. Overall, I think it was probably just too early to spin off; extreme focus needs to be placed on the main title to maintain that level of quality. This was not necessary and not good; an expensive ($4.99) and wasted effort. Grade C-.
I also picked up;
DMZ: Volume 4: Friendly Fire (DC/Vertigo)