7.12.06 Reviews

The Escapists #1 (Dark Horse): I read Michael Chabon's novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. I didn't really see what all the ballyhoo was about, it actually bored me. I read early issues of The Escapist from Dark Horse with the same result. It was just quite boring, couldn't get into it at all. This however, was quite a pleasant surprise. With it's Frank Miller cover, and Brian K. Vaughan script, it's exceptionally strong Philip Bond art, and 4th wall breaking moments with the writer speaking directly to the audience, I loved it! I love the way it weaves in a little of the Steven T. Seagle style from It's A Bird and chronicles a writer's interest in bringing a new take on an old character. This is first rate. Anxiously awaiting more. And? It's only $1! Grade A.

The Next #1 (DC): Wow, that was boring as hell. Feels like writer Tad Williams is trying to channel some Grant Morrison-esque high concepts, but it all falls really flat. Very difficult to get through the first few pages, cliched protagonist origin, and I was basically tuned out by the 5th page. A living embodiment of Mount Rushmore quickly caught my eye, but that gave way to... err, some other stuff. Ended with a nonsensical appearance by Superman and Metron. Would have been better off with a full comic about the dead US Presidents on Mount Rushmore teaming up, ala Fraction's recent Five Fists of Science. Grade D+.

Scarlet Traces: The Great Game #1 (Dark Horse): I was mildly intrigued by the first Graphic Novel of this title by Ian Edginton and D'israeli. Alas, gone is the Victorian charm, sharp inking, and engaging dialogue. Here we have a generic 1940's backdrop, stiff dialogue, loads of text to wade through with little advancement of the plot, and some "squishy" looking art that I'll blame on the rendering (whether inking or coloring) and give usually strong D'israeli the benefit of the doubt. Grade C-.

Snake Woman #1 (Virgin Comics): Well, I've been waiting for a good Virgin to get behind. Heh. Finally a Virgin Comics title that shows some promise. I was quite underwhelmed by everything in their free preview issue (which this was not a part of), but this cover caught my eye. Once I discovered that it was written by Zeb "Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan" Wells and penciled by Michael "Alias" Gaydos, I was in. I like the offbeat characters, the subtle use of Indian Mythology, and Gaydos' panel layouts and art are just a joy to experience. Pretty standard "origin" story as an unsuspecting soul is imbued with powers, but we'll see where it goes. Grade B.

DMZ #9 (DC/Vertigo): I have nothing that interesting to say about this, except that it was excellent. This title is quite strong. Unique art, great pacing, surprises, tight scripts, and loads of social commentary as Matty the embedded journalist continues to navigate between the Free States of America, the insurgents, and the Manhattan DMZ. Why aren't you buying this book? Grade A.

Shaolin Cowboy #6 (Burlyman Entertainment): What we got here is an entire issue that is essentially and extended fight scene between a shark with a sword wielding skull in its mouth and a guy with a long stick that has two chainsaws attached to either end. Surprisingly, this is a very, very, very good thing. Grade A-.

I also picked up;

Small Gods: Volume 1 TPB (Image): Loved the first issue that I picked up from the Lee's sale so much that I sprung for the first trade, excited to check it out!

Flight: Volume 3 TPB (Ballantine Books):
Eager to check this out. Usually makes my Top 10 list for the year, troubling that Image didn't put it out though and my local retailer didn't order many, and there's been zero fanfare.

The Left Bank Gang (Fantagraphics): Yay! Another book from the Norwegian demi-god of comic goodness, Jason. And this one is also in color!


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