12.11.13 [Weekly Reviews]

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Lazarus #5 (Image): Ok, I totally dig Lark’s interior art, but something is seriously wrong with that cover. It’s like they put an adult head on a little 7 year old body or something. It looks all kinds of weird CG glossy and out of proportion. That aside, “Lift” shows us life from a different POV and starts an arc that’s going to appear to demonstrate how one can exceedingly rarely be pulled up through a bureaucratic nightmare from "Waste" to worker bee "Serf" in the Controlling Family socio-economic system. Forever’s flashback drives home how she was bred as a warrior, while the modern day scenes continue to show how conflicted she is about her role in a crisp world that’s been built, full of social extrapolation and resource scarcity. I really liked those cool ships that look a little like the old GI Joe “Skyhawks,” which were one of my favorite toys as a kid. We see them along the Mississippi River, acting as an antagonistic border between Family-States, and Forever’s handling of an “incident” is absolutely chilling! As Rucka says in the backmatter, “The world should explain itself, the author shouldn’t explain the world.” YES THANK YOU MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE. Grade A.

Three #3 (Image): Ryan Kelly & Jordie Bellaire are a really good artistic combo, Bellaire’s deep palette really stands up well to Kelly’s thick line art and gives a nice richness to the aesthetic. The crimsons and the Earth tones mesh together all of the landscapes, and people, and weapons of war, in these heavy bronze hues that are so beautiful. Bellaire also captures the dimly moonlit nights. I’m starting to have some slight trouble with Gillen’s writing, namely the stilted dialogue (which I also noticed recently in Uber), and then the tendencies toward exposition around the geography and character motivations. I understand that the book exists to clarify popularized misconceptions about Spartan society, but the script is starting to reflect some of the dryness of the research, and I hope he won’t forget that telling a compelling story is his first and foremost obligation. Amid trackers tracking Helots on the run, and Klaros being a man with a secret (“Who ARE you?”), at least there’s a hint toward more character driven story elements and less of the stuff I’m being bored by. In the interim, it looks absolutely gorgeous. Grade A-.

Unity #2 (Valiant): Kindt has a way with the action and geo-politics around the historical bits. It makes for nice commentary on the nature of modern warfare. There’s that high-level strategy to the writing, but it also exhibits smarts on the tactical narration side with Ninjak. All of Kindt’s words flow so well, and I dig how Kindt is positioning this book as the new center of the Valiant Universe. It’s getting to the point where you could just read this one book and basically get the gist of the entire line, it touches almost all the corners of the world. You can almost see the contrarian-to-Marvel-and-DC pitch, that this is “Conan in the Iron Man Armor (X-O Manowar) fighting the Justice League (Harada, Eternal Warrior, Ninjak, et al),” and Braithwaite’s art has the right grit to it, serious tone and dire battle conditions that feel adequately consequential. Grade B+.

Harbinger #19 (Valiant): I gotta’ say, this whole VR construct and cartoon character bit really needs to go. It’s too much silly, too little gravitas. It’s too much talk, too little progression. I generally dig Dysart’s writing, but for the last couple of issues I’ve been really starting to lose interest. I’m hoping it’s just this arc and not endemic of the direction the title is going long-term. The art has some nice moments, but mostly looks inconsistent and rushed. This has been my long-standing gripe about the entire line, with few exceptions, that the art generally wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the strength of most of the writers. Grade B-.


At 11:16 AM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

Dude, seriously, what is up with that cover!??! Great that the interiors are not like the cover, but then...WHY THAT COVER???

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...

I can only assume Michael Lark is experimenting with new tools or new styles or something. It looks nothing like the very strong interior art.


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