5.14.08 Reviews

Casanova #14 (Image): This book is the business. For me, one of the most appealing things about a run is when you reach a moment that compels you to want to go back and re-read the entire series because that singular moment has a revelation which redefines everything that’s come before. It’s almost as if I can’t review this issue without first doing that, in order to truly comment on what this issue means to the saga as a whole. In the interim, Timothy Callahan has done a superb job analyzing the entire affair over at CBR: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=16406 Needless to say, Fraction, Moon, and Ba have achieved a landmark of experimentation and pop synthesis that should be remembered for years to come. Grade A.

DMZ #31 (DC/Vertigo): What I still appreciate about DMZ is that Matty Roth is really the perfect “everyman” of a POV character that we can all experience the radical setting of the DMZ through. It doesn’t matter if it’s his reaction to his mother, the communication attempts of his girlfriend, being ambushed by the media, or his involvement in the “Delgado Nation,” we’re allowed to sort of react with him to the world around us that Wood has scripted. On the penciling end of things, I’m impressed by how Burchielli really knows how to manage a shot. Check out the two page splash of the city and the way the frame is a deliberate parallelogram that forces our eye movement and the energy of the story forward. I will say that some of the monologues felt dense and expository, but don’t worry DMZ. We can still get together on Wednesday nights and discuss contemporary social issues in a near future US Civil War setting. On a side note, I like that DC/Vertigo has really been pushing the sneak previews of upcoming books. It seems with every book I’ve purchased recently, I’ve gotten a nice bonus feature in the back. I suppose they can’t all be winners though. The Madame Xanadu spot this particular time out was really a bunch of gibberish. Grade A-.

Captain Britain & MI-13 #1 (Marvel): For fans of the underappreciated Wisdom mini-series that wrapped a while back, this will get you a bit of that high back. And really, wouldn't "Pete Wisdom: Director of MI-13" be a cooler, more appropriate title? I suppose Captain Britain on the cover will sell more books. Sigh. Anyway... I would’ve liked a little more of Paul Cornell’s aping of Warren Ellis’ writing style and a little less involvement of the Skrull Invasion, but so be it. Leonard Kirk’s pencils feel a bit uneven or rushed in spots, but the script compensates nicely. It was fun to see all of the British heroes rolled up into MI-13, headed by Wisdom, references to Union Jack, and a British Op that ostensibly was about protecting their resident gateway to the magical realm. This book offers fun, attitude, and carries some small touching moments that make it a bit unique. Grade B+.

Transhuman #2 (Image): Jonathan Hickman’s latest project remains an interesting "VH1 Behind the Music" style of storytelling, but is not without a couple minor hiccups. I did enjoy Evergreen Capital being a stand-in (assumably) for real world venture capital firm Sequoia Capital (who originally backed my former employer), but devoting an entire issue to obtaining said venture capital felt like a bit of padding, which is odd for a four issue mini-series. The entire plot of this issue was basically “…and then the two competing companies got their VC and went into asymmetrical business warfare.” I love the narrator’s tone, yet there are moments when his interactions with various characters lose the illusion of a true mockumentary and come off kind of glib and out of character. There’s a fun WE3 reference to be had, but the white lettering on the black word balloons was sometimes thin and I had to squint to make out the text. Still interested, but not as strong as the first issue. Grade B+.

Zorro #3 (Dynamite Entertainment): Ok, ride with me on this… If Zorro #3 and I were friends, I’d flick it in the forehead for being kind of mediocre. While it was mildly interesting to see the time in Spain receiving academic and weapons training, the book is largely full of stock characters portrayed in painfully straightforward ways. It’s not bad per se, it’s just boring. It’s all very competent with no real hook. The art is pretty static, laying flat on the page without much energy to it. I’ve been on the fence with this book from the first issue and goofy editorial mistakes like the “Next Issue” blurb showing Zorro #3, right here in Zorro #3 have finally pushed me over the edge and convinced me not to return. Grade B.

Locke & Key #4 (IDW): For all of the Floyd fans out there, perhaps this is just “a momentary lapse of reason,” but I don’t feel like reading this book any more either. There are some disturbing insights into the villains’ history that I appreciated, but for $3.99 I don’t feel that I’m getting my money’s worth here – despite the nice production qualities of the book. The story bits from previous issues that I really liked, such as more time on the familial interactions, the plight of the mom trying to hold the family together and normalizing an environment, and focusing on Kinsey were all absent here (this last plot thread seriously left dangling from the last page of last issue). It’s still nicely done, but as I continue to refine and cull my pull list, I need something exceptional to justify the spend. Grade B.


At 11:40 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Man, I'm going crazy at wanting to get my hands on the new casanova issue. I'm away from my LCS right now and the shop i went to yesterday didn't carry Casanova and had hardly heard of it. -- what the fuck is wrong with everyone?

But man...to see how much you enjoyed it, hear fraction say it's the best thing he's ever done...I'm seriously chomping at the bit to get my hands on it. That said, it looks like maybe it's a blessing in disguise because now I'll end up reading it when I'm around my other issues so I can do the whole 'looking back' thing that seems like it's going to be so necessary.

Anyway, do you not read Walking Dead? Also, we never quite got my 'comeback' post together, but we should definitely do something else collaborative soon. Perhaps just some type of back and forth dialogue about whatever, or shoot each other a few interview-type questions to get the ball rolling? Shoot me an email if you've got any ideas.

I'll be back once I've read Cas #14. :)

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...


Seriously, right? What is wrong with everyone? It's a Matt Fraction book for $1.99. If you can't order that and sell it right out, you just shouldn't be in retail.

I don't think you'll be disappointed by #14... if I could do it all over again, I'd sit right down and read 1 through 13 again before 14 for maximum enjoyment.

I jumped on late to Walking Dead and have been picking it up in the big oversized hardcovers rather than single issues. I've got the first three which is the equivalent of like 24 or 36 issues or so(?). I'm not really a zombie guy, but this book is pretty solid, love the unpredictability and sense that anything can happen - nothing is sacred, it's the only thing from Kirkman I read, besides Battle Pope - which was excellent.

Cool beans, I'll drop you an email!



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