3.08.2012

3.07.12 Reviews (Part 2)

Goliath (Drawn & Quarterly): I was really impressed with Tom Gauld’s latest feature length project, principally for the restraint he showed. There’s a sense of minimalism in both the aesthetic choices and the dialogue, as Goliath is conscripted into a plot to maintain dominion over the Israelites. Somehow, with a conglomeration of relatively simplistic lines and otherwise flat dialogue (had it been taken and viewed out of context), Gauld is able to wring intense amounts of emotional clarity out of this reluctant participant. The audience is able to glean everything they need to know about the story from subtleties in the craft. Less is definitely more in this case, and it's hard to imagine this book not making an appearance in several critics' best of 2012 lists, mine included. Grade A+.

Winter Soldier #3 (Marvel): I’ll tell you from the top that I think this book is done fairly well, but I just don’t think it’s for me. It strikes me as good genre work, and if you’re into this brand of espionage then you’ll enjoy it, but for me it never transcends the genre in a way that something like, say, Queen & Country did. I’m just tired of this formula, the noir/superhero/espionage thriller sub-genre, which has been milked, and used, and mined for something like 10 years now. It’s time for me to step away from this book and let others enjoy it. When I hear about SHIELD and Norman Osborn and Nick Fury and Doombots and The Cold War and black market Soviet arms dealers, I start to glaze over, and all I really hear is “wonhh-wonhh-wanhh-wanhh” like Charlie Brown’s teacher is talking. It’s just not exciting to me personally. It’s technically proficient, a dark story that’s decently scripted, but it doesn’t really push any of my buttons to become more than the sum of its parts. There are still some fairly imaginative layouts that capture something akin to the link network diagramming the FBI started around the time I was learning about it in college in the early to mid-90’s. But, the art somehow seems flat. Maybe it’s the inking, or the monochromatic color palettes, but it’s lost some life. They’ve lost the characterization of Natasha for me. Von Doom has become sort of a caricature of himself. By giving this title up, I think it’s interesting to note it’s my last ongoing Marvel title. I have one mini-series with 2 issues left, and then barring some interesting creative announcement, I won’t be purchasing a single Marvel title for the foreseeable future, in a year that’s shaping up to be the year that Image Comics/Creator Owned Comics largely won, and it’s only March. Checking out with a not very enthusiastic Grade B+.

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