10.07.2010

10.06.10 Reviews (Part 1)

The Lone Ranger #24 (Dynamite Entertainment):Grilled Cheesus,” (Yeah, I watch Glee. What?) this is part 8 and there’s 9 parts to this arc!? This is the longest tradewait decision I’ve ever had to endure. Will we see the 25th issue in 2010? Anywho… man, Cavendish has got to be one of the best all time villains. There’s a lot to like about this issue aside from the scary charm of the antagonist. Tonto’s origin gets filled in a great deal, and so much of the story is told visually with the panel layouts and emotive facial expressions. I love how the tribe elder was a reverse type, we’d expect the leader of the tribe that spawned Tonto to be powerful and wise, but we would not expect it to be a tiny old lady. There’s a flashback to the horrible event that turned John Reid into The Lone Ranger and it’s told with a cinematic grit that looks exactly like the period it emulates. There’s a mumbled prayer, strangling with a domino mask, and a crazy cliffhanger. Despite the ridiculous publishing schedule, The Lone Ranger is still one of the best titles on the stands, certainly deserving of more buzz. Grade A.

Chaos War #1 (Marvel): I’ll start with a few of the nitpicky things I didn’t like and then try to end with the positives. So, this is a 5 issue mini-series, except… there are 14 other books listed in the crossover that I’m expected to purchase in order to follow along? Umm, no. The precogs also smack a little too much of Minority Report or The Hybrid Cylon in Battlestar Galactica. Marvel sure seems to be throwing the term “multiverse” around a lot lately. I guess that’s not something that DC copyrighted back in the Crisis on Infinite Earths era? Lastly, there’s a lot of expositional Nightmare, King Chaos, Brother Voodoo, Japanese/Norse/Greek/Roman/Egyptian mythology nonsense being bantered around. My reaction to that? Bored now. Moving right along, Khoi Pham’s art is terrific and Tom Palmer’s inks also deserve a special nod. The figures end up being very well defined, and the liberal inks don’t come off too dark, but lend a weight to the characters that underscores the supposed importance of this event. Pham composes some downright immersive shots, such as the “Council of Godheads” that really sing. Between this and Dustin Weaver’s recent work on SHIELD, it seems a new visual era is being defined for Marvel’s line. I was about to say that with the inserted apparel ads and focused attack of this series, it looks like Marvel kinda’ has their act together. But, that back up feature is pretty weak, with a tone that’s more comical and doesn’t match the gravitas of the lead, and overall feels a bit unnecessary. Overall though, the meat of the issue bristles with smart humor, a brisk pace, and has the epic feeling that OG events like Crisis and Secret Wars had. If there has to be event comics, they might be better served looking something like this. Grade A-.

CBLDF Liberty Annual 2010 (Image): From an editorial perspective, there’s a few pretty glaring gaffes in this issue. For example, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s piece is listed in the credits as “Chain Gang,” yet in the actual piece it’s called “Chain Game.” Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins’ piece is listed as “X-Ray” in the credits, but in the actual piece is called “X-Rayz.” In the indicia, “Conan Properties International LLC” is thanked, and then a line later we see a thank you to “Conan Properties International LLC International LLC” (duplication theirs, not mine). On the back page, “generosity” is mistakenly used for “generously.” As for the actual pieces, Darick Robertson’s Conan captures the Cimmerian’s no-nonsense charm and Richard Clark’s dark colors are very lush and warm. Jill Thompson’s pin-up evoked a feeling of Neil Vokes’ Parliament of Justice for me, an overlooked book that I really am quite fond of. Ba & Moon’s aforementioned contribution employs a crude energy that works very well, ultimately attesting to the fact that you can’t kill hope. Garth Ennis and Rob Steen’s effort is silly and gratuitous, but that’s basically the point. It has as much right to exist as any other piece. Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan’s Boilerplate is one of the most on-point and on-message selections to be found, driving home the creator rights issue. I’d like to see more of this creative team, who seem to want to operate in a slightly steampunk version of the Hellboy or Atomic Robo space. Rob Liefeld’s two page pin-up has an attractive color figure (even the feet are ok), but the blind Lady Justice looks suspiciously like Angelina Jolie. Evan Dorkin’s Milk & Cheese strip has the duo taking shots at the 501st Legion, entertains along the way, and culminates with an aggressive challenge for fans and creators alike to defend their medium. Frank Miller provides a Sin City pin-up, focusing on the ever popular Nancy, with her nipples perked up proudly, doing their protruding part to protect the First Amendment. You probably know by now that I adore Paul Pope, but I didn’t grasp the relevance of his piece, no message really, just a nice pin-up, perhaps he’ll donate it to auction off at the CBLDF Charity Auction at next year’s SDCC. Terry Moore’s pin-up was tied a little more directly to the book’s overall message. Megaton Man was mildly entertaining. I actually enjoyed the etymological bits, but not the typos, which included “independant” and “toleration” instead of tolerance. The message seems to be all over, from anti-jingoistic, to pro free speech, to accepting a Right Wing reactionary traditionalism. I’m not sure I get the ultimate stance, unless the point was to just show that multiple points of view have a right to exist. There’s a Jeff Smith pin-up. *Shrug*. Charley Loves Robots is a single page strip with great art by Roshell, Bautista, and Szymarcwicz (no first names provided anywhere). Gail Simone and Amanda Gould turn in Monsters at the Door, which is one of the more powerful pieces to be found. The lyrical text is captivating, while the notion of complete censorship backfiring to teach only fear and isolation, well, that’s suitably disturbing. This piece stuck with me, forced imposition of the unnatural and the idealization of beauty causing it to cease to exist. Scott Morse’s Phaeton looks amazing, similar to some of the recent work he’s done for IDW. Here, he offers a clever interpretation of Plato with very charged coloring. Skottie Young has a pin-up and umm, that’s all my notes say, I don’t have the book with me. Sorry, Skottie! Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s pin-up of The Pro is very nice, capturing the irony of Right Wing persecution of free speech. Ben McCool and Billy Tucci have a… pin-up? Ad for a new book? Not sure. The art is great though. X-Rayz by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins has very attractive art, but ultimately the story felt kind of pointless, the humor flat, or… uh, something wasn’t clicking. Colleen Doran’s pin-up is a different style for her, and I’m wondering if it had something to do with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell(?). Larry Marder’s First Amendment is a great idea that largely succeeds, though I did notice that Diamond solicits hyped it as a Thomas Jefferson piece, when the only POTUS included is James Madison. Some nice attention to detail in the back indicia with “Best. Defense. Ever.” Grade A-.

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