1/05/06 Reviews

Down #3 (Image/Top Cow): Still bummed out by the fact that we were robbed of Tony Harris interior pencils, but this engaging tale about a deep cover officer busting a local crime ring is pretty solid. I enjoyed the matter-of-fact attitude from the head of the criminal crew, his comments about about his lay of the day, and his attitude about "The Greek" selling drugs to kids, which brought an old school sensibility to this rather likable rogue. Ellis' ear for both internal monologue and straight dialogue brought out a realistic attempt at justifying the kills and small touches like the hispanic guy's speech pattern at the car accident were made all the more believable. The quality of the writing, if not the art, was really jumping out at me. Grade B.

X-Men: The 198 Files (Marvel): I guess it's kind of too easy to pick on X-titles these days, but *shudder* why did I buy this? Well, I loved Valerie Cooper in Peter David's old X-Factor run and these types of profile books can be fun. Unnecessary, but fun. Again, a cool idea. Good high concept that the newly formed O*N*E agency would be compiling data and developing risk rankings from SHIELD and elsewhere on the assumed 198 remaining Homo Superior folks over email. I really tried, but I just couldn't will myself to read all of the entries. I picked out faves like Angel, Iceman, Gambit, Havok, Strong Guy, Val Cooper, and Firestar and then really tuned out on stuff like Flatman, Kylun, Litterbug, Shinobi Shaw, and *ahem* Squirrel Girl. I mean really, who cares? And I'm sorry, but those pseudo-hyperlink entries are colored way too dark and barely legible. By comparison though, much better than the recent Avengers files on escapees from The Raft. Grade C+.

Godland #6 (Image): Joe Casey's cosmic cavalcade continues to "pop" with wit and insight and really just makes me smile, which happens all too infrequently with comics. The concept of a trial was a very interesting premise to explore that tapped into the media's role in society. More Iboga information, the industry self-aware Crashman good guy routine, and the Nickelhead and Basil Cronus banter were priceless, but don't really say what this issue is about. It's so many things. Discordia's uncooperative attitude on the witness stand proves what a farce our judicial system can be, this works as a courtroom drama, a self aware superhero jaunt, an introspective look at the angst of cosmic characters, a bizarre conglomeration of old industry tropes (the Doom inspired villain, The Supermice in the background, etc.), and is visually dramatic. In short, it's hitting on all cylinders and accomplishing exactly what it sets out to do every single issue. And that second to last page with Discordia? AHAHAHAHAH! Only from Joe Casey! Can't wait for the first trade next month. Grade A.

Iron Man #5 (Marvel): Nothing new to say here. I'm still loving this book. A nice nod to Iron Man's Silver Age origin with a glimpse of the original life sustaining armor and a modernized riff on that which comes fairly deep into the series and is thus an unexpected treat. Ellis' "babble-icious," but believable sci-fi explanations play so damn well. A "super-compressed undersheath," that is wired directly to Tony's brain capable of direct communications with organic or inorganic devices? Yep, I'll buy that. Extremely intelligent superheroics, something the industry could use more of. Grade A.

Doc Frankenstein #4 (Burlyman Entertainment): I picked this up solely based on the strength of the other Burlyman title being published right now, Shaolin Cowboy. Found this to be a competenly written effort, should appeal to anyone who is a fan of the Universal-style monsters or likes pics such as the Kate Beckinsale Underworld series. Solid pencils from Steve Skroce. Grade B-.


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