10.02.13 [Weekly Reviews]

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Lazarus #4 (Image): Greg Rucka and Michael Lark bring the first story burst to a close, with plenty of action and heaping doses of narrative thread to continue in future installments. Basically everyone is dealing with the fallout from the unsuccessful hit on Forever Carlyle (and Joacquim, the Morray Family Lazarus). It’s an utterly gritty scene with feverish action expertly choreographed by the creative team. It’s interesting how so many visual dynamics are taking place, from overlapping action sequences, to vibrant pops of color that hone the reader’s eye on a central image, to the “honor among thieves” vibe that’s present between flirtatious Forever and Joacquim. It’s certainly a post-apocalyptic paradigm shift when the only people you can really trust are the genetically enhanced paramilitary crime family enforcers, the hitmen with the hearts of gold, pulling their best Peter Quinn conflicted killer number. The narrative wedges growing between Johanna and Jonah, Forever and the rest of Family Lazarus, and the general divide in the expertly world-built future are very exciting. The backmatter is so damn good, almost as good as the main feature, highlighting the growing distrust for authority figures (I’m typing this on the first day of the Federal Government Shutdown), and the seemingly inevitable merge of politicians, military forces, and financial means. At this point, shit, I want a mini-series about all the civil unrest, and “The Pendleton Five,” and everything leading up to the union of government elements and Carlyle private forces. The world of comics rarely gets better than what Rucka and Lark are doing with Lazarus. Grade A.

Todd The Ugliest Kid On Earth #6 (Image): With Charlie Rose’s table functioning as a virgin-swallowing portal to hell that’s snatched up Todd’s “sister” Sandy, their dad forces Todd to dress up as her to run the ruse he's got going with a fading starlet. Mr. Belluomo tells Sandy-Todd that he’s just allowing him to "explore his feminine side," like any good father would, which is a good example of how Ken Kristensen subverts family dynamics. Todd’s dad always finds a way to justify his actions, only when it conveniently suits him, even if they run contrary to how he’d typically act. It’s this type of hypocrisy that Todd The Ugliest Kid uses as rocket fuel for this particular brand of parody. It’s a society where people are more  concerned with their “Q-Score” metrics and how that drives decision-making, than anything real. The centerpiece of the issue is Todd-Sandy cutting his hair “all Miley Cyrus and shit,” which amps up the “primal ape shit” pheromones of the bullies. Todd-Sandy plays a startling game of Seven Minutes in Heaven which does NOT go according to plan. The game is all behind closed doors, but despite not being able to see the action, the characterization and dialogue is so precise and descriptive that it’s easily imagined in our mind’s eye. By the end, MK Perker sells the caricature so hard that it’s time for “Enter The Marxman!” the anti-semitic satanic demon hunter. Todd The Ugliest Kid On Earth is crammed so full of memorable one-liners that you’ll not only be struggling to keep up with the staccato pace of the dialogue, but you’ll also swear it’s “’95 Buick Skylark handsome.” It’s the funniest and most subversive book currently being published. Grade A.


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