12.10.08 Reviews

Echo #8 (Abstract Studio): Echo just keeps getting better and better. Terry Moore opens this issue with a rainy, brutal, and hectic shootout that plays realistically fast and frantic. The action is crystal clear as it jumps through panels full of thrilling perspective choices; it’s sheer sequential delight. There are a couple of important reveals to the larger narrative here, from Julie’s exhaustive discovery of a new (offensive) power, to the mysterious drifter also possessing droplets of the suit from Crater Lake. Along the way, we get neat little tidbits that effectively show through nuance in the dialogue (rather than through labored exposition) details like the heat the suits are capable of generating by fusing the desert sand into glass, and the inevitable bond forming between Julie and Dillon. With repeated references to Hiroshima, Oppenheimer, and the Manhattan Project throughout the series, Moore seems to channel his inner Dr. Ian Malcolm and pose the statement about “scientists being so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they never stopped to wonder if they should.” Grade A+.

Phonogram: The Singles Club #1 (Image): Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie continue their thematic discourse about music as magic, this time using a fourth wall breaking character whose phonomancer specialty seems to be dance rather than Britpop. McKelvie’s line work is in full color this time out, like his recent solo project Suburban Glamour – and it looks fantastic. I liked the examination of Penny B’s personality here, particularly the line between fearless and selfish. This series already feels like it is perhaps not as essential as the prior since every issue functions as a stand alone single devoid of the gravitas being part of the whole offers, but there’s no denying the value and weight of the single issue from a sheer content standpoint. We get a main story, two backup “B sides,” thick music references, and plenty of rich back matter. In a week where every book I bought was $3.50, making what should have been a $9 week closer to a $12 week, this is worth pointing out. Not only is Phonogram dripping with unique creative voice, but I don’t feel cheated by the price. As Gillon himself points out, “All anyone else would have stuck there is a house ad, so if it taints your pleasure, you’re not losing anything by closing the book after you look at the sequential prettiness.” Grade A.

The Lone Ranger #16 (Dynamite Entertainment): This was another solid issue that focused on two running themes. The first is that even the villains have a story to tell and an arc to their characters. They have a human side and are living, thinking people, not just mindless foils to the protagonists. The second theme we discover in a confessional full of flashbacks is that even a villain’s mind can get the better of him, as he fears his victims may be avenged by the angel of The Lone Ranger, and he becomes confronted with a denoument that may make him believe. The only downside to this issue (and many, candidly) is that it reads waaay too fast as a single installment and is ultimately more effective in collected form, again bringing up the question – where are those damn hardcovers? Grade A-.


At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Robert said...

Is there a trade of Echo that you've reviewed?

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Hi Robert,

I didn't purchase the trade, but I have reviewed all 5 of the issues which the first trade "Crater Lake" contained - you can find them in the archives.

All of the single issues were very favorably reviewed, however I skipped purchasing the trade. At it's $15.95 price point, it was a paltry savings ($1.55 vs. single issues), offered absolutely no bonus features, and had lower quality paper stock than the singles. For someone who already owns the single issues, like me, it didn't make any sense.

Thanks for reading,


At 3:44 PM, Blogger DMonkey said...

That chick is hot...

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Justin said...

The mothership has landed once again!


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