4.15.2010

4.14.10 Reviews (Part 2)

Daytripper #5 (DC/Vertigo): The first thing that jumped out at me was how much I was enjoying Bras’ older sister Clarice being the ringleader of the cousins. It’s amazing how much characterization Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon are able to squeeze into a relatively simple line like “Clarice was the oldest, and her word was final.” The art remains grand, but Dave Stewart’s coloring attempts to steal the show yet again. It’s the mark of a gifted palette when some innocuous scene like the flight of the angolas in an early chase sequence comes to life so vividly. I mean, it’s just flying chickens, I shouldn’t be enjoying that as much as I did! But, there you go. The magic isn’t in what you show, but how you choose to show it. It’s great to see the time-jumping narrative style continue, delivering out-of-sequence snippets of Bras’ life, this time at 11 years old. It rings with an air of authenticity from the creators’ native Brazil. Grandma naming the chickens after characters from her soap operas makes me question how much autobiography might be seeping into the work. It’s fun and fascinating. Another example is revealing the writing process of Bras’ father; those are the types of things you can’t really fabricate, that make me wonder if this is a more personal work than the creators would initially have us believe. If you’re into quantum physics (which is essentially where the idea of DC’s multiverse stems from), you know about the theory of millions of future eventualities existing through time, but as the future becomes the present, and the present instantly becomes the past, those millions of possibilities collapse down exponentially into the singular moments that comprise our reality. This book is about exploring some of those permutations lost to time and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it. Not only is that a fascinating storytelling engine, able to show the “many lives” of a fictional character, but the observations along the way, like the generational progression Bras’ detects in this issue, are concepts that even us real world beings can identify with. At times, I think the book might flirt with being a little too saccharine with the beauty it finds in every day life, but it’s also too genuine not to thoroughly enjoy. Grade A.

Daredevil #506 (Marvel): That’s really a beautiful cover. When’s the last time you heard that about a Daredevil comic? It pops with Eastern design influence, but retains a Western superhero sensibility to it. Diggle and Johnston’s plot is an intricate one and it’s aided by Marco Checchetto’s fine lines. His pencils flow with a kinetic sense of movement, the tightly packed panels and, particularly the long thin vertical ones, convey a real sense of claustrophobic danger. It’s a small thing, but the flash bomb was also a nice visual touch. It still strikes me as a little bit talky, and I’m not sure what all happened with the (weird mental alchemy?) Elektra scene, but we’ll see where it goes. After TV shows like 24 or Lost, and a plethora of espionage twinged movies, I’m really weary of double agents crossing each other excessively to the point of plot convolution. It can actually sever the connection with an audience; I tune out if I can’t process who is doing what to whom and why. I’m not saying we’ve gotten to that stage yet, but I do hope the right balance of complexity in allegiances and forward plot motion is maintained here. Anyway, there’s enough here to keep me coming back for the moment. I enjoy the read on Matt Murdock as a “creature of impulse,” and it’s fun to see him playing more than street fighter, but master tactician, executing a set of long term goals with very dire short term consequences. Grade B.

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