4.16.08 Reviews

DMZ #30 (DC/Vertigo): Brian Wood continues to provide excellent social commentary while simultaneously offering an entertaining story. Here we have interesting observations about politically influenced media outlets and questioning whether or not journalistic impartiality can truly exist. The latter really exists on a spectrum, from full on “going native” at one end of the spectrum, to the other end, which at the very least, tests the adage about things under observation being influenced by the very act of observing. Matty’s recruitment into the Delgado campaign is gripping and intelligent and some of Wood’s best work, amid an already formidable body of product. Burchielli continues to be a perfect match in his ability to serve the story with a gritty, war torn cityscape full of both physical and emotional fallout. Grade A+.

The Lone Ranger #11 (Dynamite Entertainment): Regular readers of 13 Minutes will not be surprised to hear me say that the inclusion of the Paul Pope interlude story is worth the price of admission alone. It’s a special treat to see his intricate line work grace these pages, aided by the luminous coloring of Marcelo Pinto of Impacto Studio. I could just stare at these Pope panels and be satisfied, but when they’re taken in context as a parable designed to illustrate a truth it’s all the more appealing. The Lone Ranger is a rare specimen which combines a gritty authentic Western setting with introspection and erudition about the human experience. Grade A.

Fear Agent #20 (Dark Horse): I still miss the Clemens quotes and don’t understand why they mysteriously stopped when they seemed to be a scripting stalwart, but the occasional insightful line like “there lies the hollowness of revenge – it’s all in the anticipation,” makes up for it. Kieron Dwyer’s art is right at home here and I didn’t even notice it wasn’t Jerome Opena until about half way through the book. Fear Agent is still a grand exercise in showing that there is inherent drama in desperation. It reminds me of the new Battlestar Galactica in that it is first and foremost a complex drama about dysfunctional relationships and hopelessness – that just happens to be in a traditional sci-fi setting. Grade B+.

War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #2 (Marvel/MAX): You know, I really want to like this title but I’m having a difficult time due to the following roadblocks. I found the exposition about deep offensive patrols to be umm… too expository. There are some quirky linguistics going on and I’m not sure if they’re just British syntax idiosyncracies or actual typos, and that’s very distracting. Another reviewer on the interwebs pointed out the lack of typical Chaykin sound effects in this title, and now I can’t get that out of my head when I read the book. It pushes me out, though I suspect it’s a deliberate move to try and draw readers into creating their own sounds in the mind’s eye. I feel that there’s a tonal dissonance in the gritty horror of war scenes and the idiotic sex scenes. The military procedural jargon still tends to hum though, and Chaykin’s art is otherwise great. The pairing of those two qualities sort of make the whole package work in spite of its blunders. Grade B.

The Brave & The Bold #12 (DC): I feel like I missed an issue, though I know I didn’t. I don’t know where we are or how we got to this exactly. I don’t understand how Hal is supposedly recharging his ring. Gerry Ordway’s art does a decent job of aping George Perez’s style, thanks in part to the beautiful colors of Tom Smith. But sadly, the Perez art was a large part of what made this book tick for me. Mark Waid’s script now feels more heavily focused on hurried plot resolution and less so on the fun character interaction that made the title so appealing in the first place. This is basically fizzling out for me in a very anti-climactic way. Grade B-.

The Infinite Horizon #3 (Image): Speaking of feeling like I missed an issue… this is a pretty jarring jump cut from issue two. I have no idea where we are. I have no idea how we got here. I have no idea what the characters are trying to accomplish, or why. The "Cyclops" is an intrusively overt stand-in to the mythological origins this story is trying to emulate. The parts back home are boring; outside of showing a clichéd “what we’re fighting for” motif, they’re so far unnecessary and don’t add much value to the overall story. The further along this mini-series gets, the more obfuscated it becomes. Because the original high concept is still strong and there are some interesting qualities to the art, Grade C+.

I also picked up;

Nixon’s Pals (Image): I really don’t know much about this title other than the fact that Joe Casey is writing it. That’s enough for me.

The Comic Book Holocaust (Buenaventura Press): Johnny Ryan’s book is an irreverent send up of nearly every type of comic. There are jabs at the classics, the 1960’s Marvel stable, indie comics, autobiographical fare, and just about everything else. It does lean pretty far toward very flat dildo-fart-anal jokes, but occasionally there’s a laugh out loud moment that perfectly portrays a caricature of behavior.


At 10:39 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Excellent reviews Justin. I just discovered your site through newseedcomics. I love your writing style.

Is it possible for you to send me a mailing address so that I could get you a copy of Danijel Zezelj's Rex?

Jason Thibault
Optimum Wound Comics

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...


Thanks for your comments, and I'm glad the referral was from .newseed, I consider them our "sister" site!

Absolutely! I'll shoot you an email under separate cover. I'd be honored, I really enjoy Zezelj's work and have been eagerly awaiting another project after his brief stint on Desolation Jones.




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