8.02.06 Reviews

Dusty Star #1 (Image/Desperado): Really fun Western adventure that stars a beloved and spunky female protagonist as she seeks to recover a family memento. Very solid art from Andrew Robinson that employs some unique layouts and a nice cinematic feel. I like the lean and angular lines he uses (akin to Jerome Opena's work) that really pop with the vibrant coloring and rendering. This story delves a little deeper into Dusty's past than we've seen before and sets the stage for many adventures to come. I've been really hard on Publisher Joe Pruett in the past for missed deadlines, poor editing, and just generally lackluster performance of Desperado's titles. If his end note and "re-Welcome" to Desperado can be taken at face value, I'm willing to forgive past transgressions and start anew. If the quality of this title is any indication (and assuming a follow up issue ships on time), then we should be in for a fun ride from this boutique publisher. Grade B+.

BPRD: The Universal Machine #5 (Dark Horse): A heartbreaking, but satisfying conclusion to this arc, which focuses not so much on Kate Corrigan's escape from the Marquis, but moreso on the ultimate resolution of the dangling Roger the Homunculus story thread, this vignette complete with pencils by Mike Mignola himself. We will weep for Roger because we miss our friend, but rejoice because he may finally be at peace. Grade A.

The Leading Man #2 (Oni Press): I really wish I was enjoying this title more. Of course I will hang in to the end out of appreciation and respect for B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Haun's first work Battle Hymn, but it's already tough. Nothing really happens this issue. Nick is still Nick, his costar still knows his secret, and there is much back and forth on this subject, but all in all nothing to advance the plot holistically. Feels like it's just spinning its wheels. Looks beautiful though, Haun's pencils are getting more detailed, particularly with human facial anatomy and it looks brilliant colored. Grade B.

Ex Machina #22 (DC/Wildstorm): Many online critics have criticized Ex Mach as of late for not having the bite and zing that earlier issues had. Though I wasn't one of those people, I think this issue can solidly put those concerns to rest. This issue just rocks. Mayor Hundred's got PR nightmares to contend with, close friends cashing in favors at inopportune times, and a very shocking series of events on his hands that will have members of the public service community up in arms if he doesn't respond. Vaughan's ear for dialogue continues to impress, check out that mundane banter between the firemen, it's just like you tape recorded some working stiffs somewhere in NYC, totally believable. Something is seriously up with Tony Harris' art too, in a good way. It looks even more detailed, boasts a really photorealistic quality, almost on par with Alex Ross, and the coloring has never been better. Grade A.

Agents of Atlas #1 (Marvel): First of all, this just doesn't feel like something Marvel would publish. It seems like a pretty straightforward backup story to one of DC's JSA titles. But, it works. This is a really good lesson from Jeff Parker (of The Interman fame) on how to take an idea that would otherwise be pretty boring and juice it up with a few trinkets to make it palatable, even engaging. Johnny Woo and his group of Invaders/Battle Hymn archetypes... pretty standard. Weave them into SHIELD history and (please, oh please!) Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy series and you have something. Toss in some awesome throw away dialogue about Wakandan tribal markings, that's cool. Give me Dugan referring to SHIELD as "the Directorate" and man... I just love little shit like that! Toss in a talking gorilla and end with a mysterious and ominous message from "Mr. Lao," presumably head of The Atlas Foundation, and I just might be back for more. Grade B.

52: Week Thirteen (DC): Really dug the odd team up of Elongated Man, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Green Arrow Ollie Queen, Metamorpho, and Zauriel. The Black Adam/Isis dynamic is actually kinda' interesting too. Mark Waid and Kevin Nowlan doing an Elongated Man back up? Not too shabby. Dare I say it, 52 might actually be picking up some steam and be renewing my interest. It just dawned on me that as of Week 13, this year long event is already 1/4 over! That's right, 13x4=52. For some reason that realization blew my mind, so it's about f'ing time that the shit started to get interesting. Grade B-.

Detective Comics #822 (DC): Ok, just on principle, I think it's fucking apalling that DC pimped this new run of 'Tec as "Paul Dini & JH Williams! Paul Dini & JH Williams! Paul Dini & JH Williams!" And why not pimp that? That's a downright *hot* creative team, especially with Simone Bianchi on covers. But here we are, on the *second* issue of the run and we already have a fill in artist! That is just plain sad. Yeah, yeah, fill-ins allow the regular artist to get ahead deeper in the run... but hello! It's not like this was a #1 debut issue. It's #822 for god's sake, just delay their start on this run of the book a few issues and it's a wash. All that aside, the art wasn't horrible and I did enjoy the dynamic between Bats and the Riddler, was also fun to see the S&M side of Gotham. However, this "done in one" approach to storytelling could be problematic. I'm starting to sense a red flag. There weren't enough clues left in this along the way to deduce who the killer was. Bats just flies in on the last 2 pages and explains it all so that the issue could wrap up in its tidy way, felt a little deus ex machina to me. Here's to hoping that future issues won't fall into this trap. Grade B-.


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