Thursday, March 11, 2004

The tally. 

My opinions on those comics I got yesterday, not that you asked for them. Rating system is made up as I go along.

In no particular order:

The Sword of Dracula #2 and #3 - Not bad, not bad at all. There's a few details that irk me -- the fast and loose play with Genesis, for instance -- but overall the story holds up pretty well. Pacing's good. Dialogue's pretty good. The B&W art, while rather breathtaking at points, can seem so blurred by the "photocopy" look the book has that the action gets confusing. And was it really necessary for a character to describe Dracula as "the bin Laden of vampires" TWO ISSUES IN A ROW?

Issue #2 does have the author's musings on Dracula in the back as a little added bonus, wherein he makes the case for the monster-Dracula, as opposed to the sexy-misunderstood-Dracula. Because Dracula is one of my favorite books of all time, and I too view the man as a monster and not a tragic hero, Scott Henderson gets major props.

Rating: Not bad. Worth picking up the next issue.

Freaks of the Heartland #1 - I am the last person to gripe about decompressed storytelling. That's a term that gets thrown around way too often, usually by lazy critics looking for something to gripe about.

But good lord...

Nothing. Happens. The art is fantastic, but why do I get the feeling your average writer could have told the same story that fills all of issue #1 in about 5 pages? So. Great art, props to Greg Ruth. A story that is worth more along the lines of 99 cents, not $2.99. And some of the most intrusive, obnoxiously done computer lettering I've seen in awhile. And if I notice your lettering, something's up.

Rating: Dammit!

Coup D'etat: Afterword - Eh. It's just a couple blurbs of story to "follow up" the Coup D'etat storyline, which it does with middlin' success. I would, naturally, get a hell of a lot more out of this if I were a knowledgable Sleeper or Wetworks fan, but I am not. And it all strikes me as basically a 22-page ad for Wildstorm titles, not really so much as actual stories meant to accomplish anything. So.

Rating: Uh. Okay.

El Cazador: The Bloody Ballad of Blackjack Tom - Not a bad little treat. The artwork is up to the usual standards, and Dixon delivers a fine, feisty, bloody little origin tale for the feisty, bloody Blackack Tom from the main series. Not essential, but if you've got $3 to blow and you like El Cazador, why the hell not?

Rating: Coo.

Scars - Not bad. Warren Ellis has a pretty good ability to shock, and by contrast sometimes has the annoying ability to overexplain little bits of trivia that he obviously thought were pretty cool. So you get one or two blurbs of embarassingly expositional dialogue right up front, but luckily those go away. What do I think? I think it's pretty good. I don't think it's as much a soulfuck as Ellis and the other introductory writers in there say it is, but it's a solid study of the protagonist's descent into a place from which he won't, can't, refuses to return. I'd recommend buying it if you can find it cheaper than the cover price, say maybe $10 to $15. And it's got some fantastic Steven Grant essays in there. (Where can you go wrong with Steven Grant?)

And near the end, in no small part due to the presence of Grant essays, I kept thinking.. "Frank Castle.. Frank Castle.. Frank Castle.."

Rating: Sure, yeah.

Spooked, Street Angel... I haven't so much read yet. Back off! I'm busy!

More to come later.

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