2.06.2009

2.04.09 Reviews (Part 3 of 3)

Hotwire: Requiem For The Dead #1 (Radical Comics): This is by far the best book from Radical Comics that I’ve ever sampled. If you merged the sort of buddy cop dynamic with say, Ghostbusters, you might have some idea what this book is about. On second thought, that doesn’t do it justice. It’s much more serious in tone and infused with the Warren Ellis future tech vibe, all of which makes it very enjoyable. It’s hard to see where Ellis’ story concept ends and Steve Pugh’s scripting and dialogue begin, and that’s a very good thing, the two blend together seamlessly. There are a couple of minor quibbles to be found. One, I hate when people (even fictional characters – even if it’s a deliberate affectation) say “anyways.” It instantly diminishes them in my eyes and just makes them sound unintelligent. Two, if the main character is a "Detective Exorcist” why would that be shortened to “DecEx?” Wouldn’t it be “DetEx?” Minor annoyances aside, I really enjoyed the notion of a high tech limbo for lost souls, particularly when depicted in Pugh’s slick futuristic style. I’ve seen some critics say that the CG look and feel was overdone in spots, but that’s akin to saying Blade Runner is shot "too dark." I think that’s the point here and is tonally very fitting. The book is full of fun characteristics that go the extra mile to give us a little panache, whether it’s the plot all being set amid rioting, or the explanation of using scientific terminology to describe the apparitions to avoid the emotional stigma of the term “ghost.” I loved the hints about potential glitches in the system, basically suggesting a ghost in the machine. Overall, it struck me how dense this book felt, it’s 32 pages, it’s done on beautiful glossy paper, and… it’s still $2.99(!), complete with a statement of intent regarding the price. Now, this is a title I can get behind. Grade A.

Dead Irons #1 (Dynamite Entertainment): I’m not familiar with the prose or prior comic work of James Kuhoric, but Jason Shawn Alexander’s art was most certainly a big selling point ever since I saw his sequences in Dark Horse’s The Escapists. I also like that Jae Lee is on Art Direction here, using the same model that involves John Cassaday on Dynamite’s The Lone Ranger. There’s absolutely no exposition in this issue and it’s a real testament to the creative team that everything is absolutely crystal clear from the character’s actions and dialogue. This is a very fun and intriguing genre blender with a loner character right out of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western, infused with supernatural elements. The idea of immortal half-demon in-fighting sibling ghostly bounty hunters in the Old West is an awkward mouthful, but when it’s depicted this beautifully and fluidly, it works quite well. This is certainly a title to watch! Grade A.

Soul Kiss #1 (Image): I remember chatting briefly with Steven T. Seagle and Joe Casey at the Man of Action booth at SDCC this year. It was nice to tell Seagle in person how much I enjoyed It’s A Bird and ask about his next project – he told me to watch out for Soul Kiss. Marco Cinello’s unconventional art plays well with this unconventional story about religion, morality, and the opposed pairing of idealism and pragmatism. It’s also interesting to note some of the common themes running through a lot of Seagle’s material, American Virgin, It’s A Bird, and this project all seem to be fascinated with creative motivations. There were a couple of small items that were distracting. A few times in the narrative, we get lines like “keep reading” or “I’ll explain later” or “wait, we’ll get to that” and then they’re never really followed up on. I’m sure that in collected form they’ll all be addressed and read as a whole, but when broken down into smaller monthly installments this tends to annoy. I also thought that the first appearance of the devil figure looked a bit like Venger from the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon and that the moths smacked a bit of The Green Mile. Those nitpicks aside, this is pretty stylish commentary about the proverbial deal with the devil and I’ll give it an issue or two to see if it pulls off anything new. Grade B.

2 Comments:

At 12:55 AM, Blogger Matt C said...

Obviously a big week for you too! Lot's of good stuff though, and I can't remember a single other week where I've bought so many first issues.... and enjoyed all of them to varying degrees! I'm supposed to be cutting back not buying more books!

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Hey Matt! No kidding. It seemed like I was in a dry spell there for a few weeks, only buying one or two issues... suddenly, everyone launched new first issues. Nice to see such diversity and hopefully some titles I'll stick with for a bit.

Justin

 

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