6.08.11 Reviews

Echo #30 (Abstract Studio): It’s kind of a random observation, but I just thought it was interesting for Moore to end with a Cicero quote after dazzling us with Einstein and Oppenheimer gems for nearly the entire run of the series. That aside, he ends things with a breakneck pace and a literal Big Bang at the Phi Collider. It’s got the denouement of a big action movie, where the stakes feel even higher because we’re so emotionally invested in all of the characters. I like the larger notes about the frail existence of man as a race that has the power to end itself, along with the idea that the true grandeur of an idea is not in itself, but in its execution and application. I can’t believe I’m going to say this after nearly 30 issues of perfection, but it fell apart for me just a tad when we hit that interesting 9-panel grid page that provides exposition for what just happened, and effectively recaps the narrative sweep of the entire series. I’m not sure if it worked completely; I’m not sure if it was logically or emotionally satisfying in the way I expected. So, let’s see, I guess Julie/Annie repelled the dark matter black hole, didn’t die in the process, the suit was expelled from Julie’s body, Ivy got re-aged, the bad guys die, and the good guys are all ok in the rubble of a more-than-thermonuclear explosion? And this all happens largely off panel? Hrmm. I know that the action bits aren’t important, that the series has been rooted in interpersonal relations since its inception. I know that the science was always dubious at best, rooted in realistic lingo, sure, and that Moore made some plausible leaps where we’ve been suspending disbelief thus far… but… something felt just a tiny bit rushed or something, almost as if he needed two issues to wrap up the end rather than just one, but couldn't get it all wrapped in time for San Diego Con(?). I thought it was also interesting that he seems to shift the protagonist POV from Julie to Ivy. I always thought we were viewing this adventure through the eyes of Julie, but Moore admitted in an interview that he shifted it to being through Ivy’s perspective, that she was his X-Files character and this was just another case for her. That’s… interesting, but I’m not sure if the shift works this late in the game. Anyway, that was a long digression that makes it sound like I have a bigger problem with this than I actually do. I was really hoping that Moore would also reveal more specifically what’s in Julie’s little embarrassing box. From the contextual clues we’ve been given, I guess it’s like uhh, a vibrator or some kind of sex toy…? That’s cute and all, but, maybe this is because I’m from the liberal left coast and have dated some pretty adventurous women, I know Moore is from Texas, which is staunchly more conservative, but uhh, do dudes really end their marriages because their wives are into the “perversion” of a dildo or anal beads or something? Sheesh. That’s surprising to me. I mean, what else could it have been? But hey, don’t pay any attention to my petty squabbles. This is one of the best series in the last 5 years. Period. Moore recently confirmed that there is indeed going to be a hardcover omnibus debuting at San Diego Comic-Con. Do yourself a favor and pick it up. He’ll also have copies of the first issue of his new series, Rachel Rising, available for purchase. And if you’re into the Vertigo book Fables, I hear he’ll be penciling an issue of that as well! Grade A.

Scalped #49 (DC/Vertigo): Jason Aaron and RM Guera conclude the “You Gotta Sin To Get Saved” arc with an insane close quarters shootout between Dash and Catcher, as they supposedly confront Gina’s killer. There’s isn’t a whole lot more I can say without getting into specifics, but Scalped just never fails to surprise with these outrageous, yet still somehow plausible, murky morality situations. I love it. I like the idea Red Crow presents about men being better than the worst of our actions. Is that possible in a world where choices may prove that your only loyalty is to yourself? Guera has a little bit of trouble in clarifying who the other man is, but by the end they seem to stick the landing. Grade A.

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1 (DC/Vertigo): Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy spin off a 5 issue mini-series that’s set in pre-WWII era New York. Dave Stewart’s colors are marvelous over Murphy’s pencils. Despite being so weary of vampires in pop culture, I liked the basic premise about the shadow world and vampires having infiltrated the newspaper industry to help cover their tracks, but that quickly gets abandoned for some vampire cure bit. The action is certainly well choreographed, but I’m curious to see if Snyder can distinguish this story from the myriad other half-breed vampire redemption (Blade comes to mind first) things available in movies, TV, and novels. I enjoyed the talented female lead Felicia Book, the time period gives the whole project a smart visual feel, there are certainly many story layers at work, and the cool ring of V.M.S., that’s Vassals of the Morning Star, does the trick for me. I might give it another issue before I decide if I’m all in or will postpone enjoyment for a discounted trade someday. Grade A-.


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