Casanova: Avaritia #4 (Marvel/Icon): Everybody’s reading. Everybody’s enjoying. Everybody’s thinking. Everybody’s engaged. Everybody’s entertained. Everybody’s impressed. Everybody’s discovering. Everybody’s admiring. Everybody’s living. Everybody’s healthy. Everybody’s happy. Everybody’s satiated. Everybody’s staring. Everybody’s proud. Everybody’s loving. Everybody’s succeeding. Everybody’s buying. YES THEY ARE. [Dude, I seriously want to own the original art for that last page.] “That was a lifetime, two miniseries, and a whole publisher ago, Seychelle.” (Sounds of shit not working anymore). Charles Dickens! “Onomatopoeia!!” Not since Automatic Kafka have we had this level of experimentation. Nobody draws emotional shrapnel like Gabriel Ba. Grade A.
Saga #4 (Image): I was thinking that when it comes to world-building, it’s really the little touches that you remember. It’s stuff like bounty hunters having the honorific first name “the,” as in "The Will." Saga is sexy, and smart, and really an inventive conglomeration of storytelling. I do enjoy the childish but powerful Izabel as both the good and bad devil floating atop the proverbial shoulders of Alana. Also? There’s nobody I want drawing my winged goddesses floating around with strap-on dildos while they go down on each other Sextillion style more than the magnificent Fiona Staples. It just goes to show that when creators have fun with their book, guess what? The audience does too. Staples’ art is interesting from a technical perspective here. Her focus seems to be on favoring figures vs. backgrounds. The figures are strong and grand and full of poised emotion, coming off natural and believable and resplendent with meaning and intention. The backgrounds are merely “good” for my money, they’re in a different style altogether, more monochromatic and, dare I say, simplistic in their execution. I don’t think that’s really a knock, just an observation for now, as I’m sure it’s intentional and I just haven’t grokked why yet. This issue ends with a great cliffhanger, but honestly the issue feels like all middle. Protagonists (I guess? Or is it really their daughter, who is narrating after all) Alana and Marko don’t really do much. They’re still on the run. Most of the ish focuses on The Will @ The Sextillion pleasure house dealing with a Jodi Foster in Taxi Driver situation. Saga is really really really solid, but I don’t feel blown away by it and I’m not sure if it quite deserves all the attention it receives. Yes, Fiona Staples’ art is pure joy. Yes, it’s nice to see BKV actively working in comics again. Is it the BOOK OF THE YEAR that I’ve seen more than one critic already call at the halfway mark? Umm. No. There’s something just on the edge of my understanding that I don’t like about it. It’s something a little formulaic about the process, not the resulting content, but the approach. It’s as if Vaughan is following some recipe, taking 2 pinches of this, a teaspoon of that, baking for 15 minutes, and voila! There’s something that feels inorganic about its construction, a tickling thread in my brain. I’m not sure if I want to pull on that string, lest the whole thing fall apart, or just sit back and enjoy the quirky sexy space adventure melodrama for what it is. The pleasure house scenes seem to be “too clever by half” (a little too “haha, look at how quirky and sexual and almost subversive and weird and outlandish we are!!!”) when I prefer things a little more raw and grounded, like, I don’t know, Inara Serra in the Whedonverse. I enjoyed the responses to the reader survey, but damn it, I thought for sure I had the “winning” response to one in partic. This is very close to getting the "minus" on the grade, but I think me art-crushin' on Fiona Staples prevented that. Grade A.
Glory #27 (Image): Honestly, I still don’t feel as if I have a strong foothold on this book. Drr Drr Drr Glory was born to unite worlds, but she goes to Earth for… some reason. Drr Drr Drr she brawls and stuff. Riley and the… uh, other girl, helper person, help her because of… something? There’s some kind of invasion or something here, and the 4 focus characters seem to want to go somewhere, but don’t ask me why. Maybe this book actually needs a little more exposition? You never hear me say that! The larger narrative thrust is a bit obtuse so most of the action comes off like mindless filler. I guess I’ll risk piercing the thin veil of erudition I’ve conjured here, but the art seems blobby and fuzzy (these are the technical terms, yes?), something that I previously just chalked up to Campbell’s style, but now I’m starting to think they might not fit the tone of the book. While the pencils are totally consistent, if not tonally consistent, perhaps they’re just not to my personal liking? I keep saying to myself I’ll stick with the first arc and make a determination, but then I just noticed this issue was “Part Two: Savage,” and I really wasn’t aware that Part One had occurred or that the previous few issues had formed any sort of distinct arc that had already ended. Wha-huh? That sure doesn’t bode well for my understanding of the story structure. I’m moderately entertained when I read the book, but don’t seem to retain any of it. Who’s doing what and why? I’d probably fail that test. So, I guess Glory is on alert, I’m considering dropping it because I just don’t “get” it in the way that makes me fervently want to support the titles which I can turn around and evangelize to everyone. Grade B+.