12.10.2009

12.09.09 Reviews (Part 1)

Daytripper #1 (DC/Vertigo): Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon deliver their highly anticipated limited series from Vertigo, and it’s… good. Perhaps I was expecting great, because it all felt a little anticlimactic. The opening scene offers extremely heavy foreshadowing, almost to the point of telegraphing the end. So, there’s that. The book looks simply beautiful, the combination of the brothers’ rich penciling ability and the effervescent touch of Dave Stewart on coloring. Obituary writer Bras lives in the shadow of his accomplished writer father and we get some strong ruminations about his life on a particularly special, but unacknowledged, day. The thing that probably struck me the most was, and this was true of De: Tales: Stories from Urban Brazil, the city of Sao Paulo itself seems to take on life and become a character. When the characters are in front of prominent landmarks, or even quietly ambling down a side street, it’s impossible not to notice the little details in the background and absorb the wonderful culture, which feels truly authentic and sliced from the real world. Aside from that, I don’t know… I liked the bar scene, I liked the wisps of Ana that we got… and then there seemed to be lots of wordy bits to wade through that I can’t quite recall. This may sound like blasphemy for a book that will likely receive a lot of praise, but it felt a bit like the scales were tipped in the direction of style over substance. I enjoy the notion of seemingly random occurrences affecting one’s life, and I’m hoping that like the movie Crash, we’ll get more content in future issues that intertwines with what we already know. I’m not entirely sold, but certainly intrigued enough to purchase another issue or two. Grade B+.

S.W.O.R.D. #2 (Marvel): This title remains a mixed bag of uneven components for me; Kieron Gillen and Steven Sanders offer some bits that I think are quite strong and then some bits that just don’t work. I think it’s great that events move quickly, wee see Gyrich already moving forward with his proposed plan, while keeping Brand distracted. There’s fun technology, like the “bubble capsules” that Beast uses in the open vacuum of space. There’s some wonderfully Whedon-esque dialogue, such as “Only speaking to people whose welfare I give a damn about.” There’s guest stars a’ plenty, everyone from Marvel Boy, to Hepzibah, to The Runaways. Unit continues to make attempts at stealing the show, and that’s a great bit of intrigue. On the down side, I really can’t stand the way Beast looks. Not only do his general proportions seem to change form scene to scene, but his movements come off stiff and awkward since he looks like some big cartoon sheep-cat or sumthin’. I’m still confused as to why Lockheed is somehow aboard Death’s Head’s ship, when he was clearly instructed to board a different S.W.O.R.D. craft and not in the boarding missile. There’s no Kitty Pryde content, which is a big mis-step; there’s no back up story at all. I don’t get it. I thought that was supposed to be a recurring feature(?). Death’s Head is intended to provide some comic relief, which is sort of emblematic of the whole affair. I think this book wants to just be harmless adventure fun, but I was hoping for some more gravitas. I think the pace is fantastic, the very opposite of decompressed, and keeps things moving quickly, which certainly allows for an adventure feel. The tone, however, is what I seem to be struggling with. The creative team made a conscious decision to lean toward the humorous, rather than play it straight-laced, and that’s a big gamble that I’m not sure has quite paid off yet. Grade B.

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