2.15.06 Reviews

Atlas #2 (Drawn & Quarterly): Dylan Horrocks' powerful little book about estranged lovers and a writer that's become numb to the world. Grade B+.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #27 (Marvel): It seems like I enjoy every other arc of this book. And... err, that last arc was pretty good, wasn't it? "Suicidal" Ben is written well, just feels dramatically over the top and out of character. And the spacetime chomping "Agriopes" feel a little too much like Stephen King's Langoliers. I never was a big Thor fan, so it all felt pretty flat to me, your mileage may vary. Grade B-.

New Avengers #16 (Marvel): If you switch your brain off and accept it as mindless entertainment, this is a fun read that looks great. How lame is that Kickers, Inc. promo? Grade B.

The Keep #4 (IDW): Feels a bit more compressed with information and exposition than previous issues, but still a very strongly crafted work in both scripting and art execution, anxious to see how it wraps up and if it will be collected. Could be a contender for this year's "Top 10" list. Grade B+.

Batman: Year 100 #1 (DC): Like Vanessa Williams, I went and "saved the best for last." I think I fell in love with this book from the very first page. Like all of Paul Pope's gifted work, this is heady without being condescending and artistic without being pompous. And I think Pope is in love here too, this reads like a 100 year old love letter to Bob Kane and all of the various Batman contributors who've added to his appeal. Pope proves with his kinetic art and frenetic pacing that the urban myth of the Bat can be an enigmatic and enduring symbol for years to come. There's a panel that I just adore here, as the Federal Police kick in a door hunting for the "Double U" (Unclassified & Undocumented) suspect, they confront a child and we see Batman hiding in the shadowed background behind a door. It really delivers the feel of this dystopian future, where he's been pushed even further into seclusion. There's some clever work at play, like the nod to Miller's Dark Knight as the kid offers him a Superman doll, the image of the Capitol Building surrounded by razor wire and illuminated by spotlights, and the feel of some real detective work at a crime scene. Pope's dynamic style proves yet again that he is a master of clear panel to panel storytelling while employing sparse and effective dialogue. It's so refreshing to see a coherent, focused take on Batman. I want the rest of the series. Right. Now. I hope that DC considers this for a deluxe, oversized, hardcover treatment. I'd pay whatever it takes. I'll tell you now that this will be appearing in my 2006 "Top 10" list and it will be very difficult to depose. Grade A+.


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