9.04.13 [Weekly Reviews]

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Suicide Risk #5 (Boom!): In the spirit of full disclosure, I was all ready to drop this title (in fact, I think I may have already missed issue four), but when I noticed Joelle Jones’ name on the cover, I got pulled in for another look. Her art is just gorgeous. This is the story of “Instant Access,” a beaten down housewife with ratty kids and a good-for-nothing husband, who takes matters into her own hands. It’s a beautiful one-off examination of how an otherwise good person can become tempted by power. How attaining powers can lead from wanting to do good, to doing great rights by doing a little wrong, to full on becoming a villainess that runs most of the organized crime within a fairly small region. There’s something beautifully sad about this bell-curve path for the character arc and Jones’ art brings a polished sense of realism and emotion that I felt was sometimes lacking with the former artist on the title. For me, Suicide Risk is at a crucial moment now. I don’t know if this story is just a single issue and has any bearing on the main narrative. I don’t recognize any of these characters. I don’t know if Joelle Jones is planning on staying on for just this issue, this one arc, or for the rest of the series. Depending on the answers to those questions, I could be staying around a little longer too. But, taken for the sake of itself, this is a highly effective issue. Grade A.
Reality Check #1 (Image): Glen Brunswick and Viktor Bogdanovic offer up a kinda fun meta premise, with a down-on-his-luck comic book writer toiling away in Hollywood trying to get his next project off the ground. He’s a little too obsessed with hot chicks for my comfort level on the creep-o-meter, Boom! I guess becomes Blam! when he pitches to them, Golden Apple is cameo’d (which used to be a great store, but basically sucks now), and I worry that his corny awful Batman knock-off, the comic within the comic, will be something readers confuse with any strength the actual comic has. There’s some really confusing dialogue as well. “He helped me find the appropriate key… to unlock her heart… wherein she discovered that I had already beaten her there.” Huh? I enjoyed the brief inner workings regarding the industry, like all the talk of Diamond, but I’m not sure this has legs. The whole basic “twist” of the first issue is also spoiled by the cover. The art is pleasant enough, sort of a lean energetic style that can pull off the humor, and I might give the next issue a flip at the LCS, but I doubt I’ll be picking it up. For now, this is a very low Grade B.

God Is Dead #1 (Avatar Press): Jonathan Hickman has earned some credibility over the years with his creator owned work at Image Comics and, most recently, with the hit East of West. Unfortunately, he makes a major withdrawal from the credibility bank with this latest offering. Perhaps some of the blame can be laid at the feet of co-writer Mike Costa. There’s certainly enough blame to go around, with artist Di Amorim rightfully taking some of the heat I’m about to dish as well. Truthfully, the first 6 pages of this book are terrific. They’re near perfect in depicting a series of cataclysmic global events (we like our post-apocalyptic shit around these parts) and the “second coming” that nobody saw coming. Zeus (and fellow Greek Gods) return to Earth, as do Gods from the pantheons of many other forgotten religions, Egyptian, Norse, Indian, and South American. Hickman boldly lays down the Latin words for God. King. Earth. This was all fun. From there, things quickly degenerate. The art gets really inconsistent, stiff and unnatural poses that don't gel with basic human anatomy, morphing into a blobby Avatar house style that lacks any strong sense of identity, the panel transitions are awkward and hard to follow, people from India, Mexico, Egypt, and Norway all kinda look generically the same, there’s an officer whose uniform inexplicably changes color from one shot to the next, that sort of sloppy thing. At the same time, the scripting becomes over-the-top, and just dumbed down to the point of being off-puttingly cliché. There’s a tough military guy who believes in THE MIGHT OF THE ‘MERICAN MILITARY! The outgoing POTUS cries because he’s probably a SOFTIE LIBERAL PINKO COMMIE WHO DOESN’T LIKE WAR, BECAUSE WAR! Zeus says that the Earth is a BITCH WHO’S RIPE AND READY FOR THE TAKING! Because, apparently this is a Mark Millar comic now or something? Thor, Odin, and Loki are running around, there’s gratuitous shots of sex slaves with nipple piercings, the weapons protocol of the command bunker makes ZERO sense, and there’s typos like the Ritz “Carton” Hotel. The very basic premise is intriguing, and I admit to liking the end shots of the incoming gods from different pantheons, but holy crap this was a mess in the middle majority of the book. I basically could only stomach 8 total pages and it’s $3.99. Grade C+. 


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