4.09.08 Reviews (Part 2)

Wasteland #16 (Oni Press): Ok, let’s try a little reverse psychology here to get everyone purchasing Wasteland and evangelizing this epic title to everyone they know. Wasteland is actually not that great. Johnston really isn’t capable of managing intricate plotting. Mitten’s pencils totally aren’t improving every single issue. Now go prove me wrong! You’re still not buying this title? You don’t really like comics then do you? Seriously, there’s one item I do want to address here. I’ve seen some criticism leveled at Mitten online about readers not being able to distinguish his characters. I’ve never had that problem with any of his pencils, all the way back to his Queen & Country: Declassified run. The thing to remember about Wasteland is that it’s not built like the typical MTV influenced, pop culture soundbyte or reality TV spectacle. Wasteland has a level of nuance that rewards the patient, attentive, and intelligent audience, this issue being no different – witness brief alliances form with nothing more than an askew glance as one mere example. One could easily miss that if they’re rushing through and not taking the time to absorb this rich saga. Wasteland is like a fine wine... you don't guzzle it, you slow down and enjoy the complex texture of every drop. Thanks again to the Oni Press crew for including a pull quote from 13 Minutes on the back cover! Grade A.

Echo #2 (Abstract Studio): I continue to be impressed by Terry Moore’s new creation. What I find delightful is the pairing of some basic horror tropes with the 1960’s Marvel atomic paranoia that permeates the narrative. We see a flawed, yet likable, character trying to juggle her everyday life as she develops powers and undergoes some dramatic personal changes. Moore’s pencils are equally suited for the task with expressive facial detail and sound effects that make the beautiful black and white lines pop with the kinetic energy of a full color glossy action book. If you like comics at all, jump on now for a thrilling ride that’s destined to be a classic. Grade A.

Locke & Key #3 (IDW): The regularity with which I find basic editing errors in IDW books is pretty disturbing. Here, we have no capitalization of the “locke” family name right in the intro blurb on the inside cover. I suppose it’s harmless enough, but it sure is an eye-roller when it’s the very first thing people see. Moving along… the small issues I had with issue one (people referring to San Francisco as “Frisco,” which nobody from the entire Bay Area ever does, the surest way to tell a tourist, those in the know affectionately refer to SF as simply “The City” and one of the characters wearing an Oakland A’s cap, though he’d likely be wearing an SF Giants cap if he was truly from San Francisco) seem to have faded. This is a great issue from an intriguing new series that blends family drama and horror. I like the notes that were hit here regarding a mom’s parenting choices, and the strong arcs that the characters go through, namely Kinsey’s. This title has some very out of the ordinary things occurring, both murderous and supernatural, yet hums along with realistic dialogue and convincing art that pull the reader right in. Grade B+.

I also picked up;

The Rabbi’s Cat: Volume 2 (Pantheon Books): Any time there is a new Joan Sfar book out, it’s time to rejoice. The Rabbi’s Cat is hands down one of my favorite books, so words can’t capture the excitement I feel about another volume.

Aqua Leung (Image): I sort of feel like this is Grant Morrison doing a no holds barred look at Aquaman, illustrated by Paul Pope. If that doesn’t get your blood boiling, then I can’t help you.

Conan: Volume 5: Rogues in the House & Other Stories (Dark Horse): The long awaited next installment of the Conan saga.

Jessica Farm (Fantagraphics): Here’s the first chunk of Josh Simmons ambitious project, in which he’ll draw a page a month over the next 42 years, publishing one 96 page volume every eight years until he’s got a 600 page work completed in 2050.


At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the pushing of Wasteland. :) It's a title I wish I was up to date on, as I've probably said before. I've got most the issues, but for some reason my LCS is a bit iffy about that particular series (despite my having it on my pull list for months and months), and about every three issues I'm randomly missing one. So I've just been letting it pile up, with plans to eventually plow through it all once I get the issues I'm missing. I'm starting to think though, that perhaps I should just go for it, and say to hell with it and see how well I can follow things with the gaps I've been stuck with.

I did read the first three issues before the random skipping started, and really really enjoyed it. So I'm looking forward to diving in moreso.

I really liked your thoughts on the recent issue of Amazing Spidey as well. You hit on something I didn't in my review -- the element of him actually being LIKEABLE now. Growing up I always remembered him being the most relateable character around. The last bunch of years though I've always just found myself wanting to kick his ass or beg himj to stfu. It's nice to see writers working on his book that realize people can be down on their luck without being total losers about it. Good stuff J.

Talk at ya soon!

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...


Man, there is nothing more frustrating than an inconsistent LCS. Like either order the book or don't order it, but don't order it half the time!

I think Wasteland actually does read better in the trade, because Johnston is telling one long story. It's like if you divide a movie up into 12 parts and then randomly see 1/12 of it, it's a tough little package. Part of me wants to say "wait for the trade" for a better reading experience, but that runs contrary to my basic philosophy of supporting individual issues of independent titles that need the shot in the arm. So... have you considered ordering your missing issues direct from Oni? Anyway, I think you'd do fine just going for it, there's usually a decent blurb on what's come before - would love to see you reviewing this title.

Re: ASM - Man, Bachalo can draw anything and I'd check it out. I remember when he did The Witching Hour for DC, that was a tough book to follow on the scripting front, but it was worth it to see how he'd manipulate each page layout. I'm loving his panels, sans borders, here. I also credit the success of this arc to Zeb Wells. Did you check out FF/Iron Man: Big in Japan? That was classic. Anyway, I think he's really captured Peter in a palatable way. He's proving that the character can be fun, witout being childish and lame, and he can also be introspective, without being overly dark and grim. Too bad this creative team only has one more issue(?), I think I read that somewhere today... if they stuck on the title, I'd be buying it regularly, and I honestly have never bought a Spidey title regularly.

Catch you later Tom,



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