Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Today's comic purchases at a glance. 

I don't know if I can call these reviews or impressions or assessments or what, because I'm afraid I'll set off some blogmines or something.

By my own definition, these are impressions of today's comics, since I just got done reading them, and my brain is still assessing them in cold, laboratory-like logic.

The Authority: More Kev #1 of 4 - This is Garth Ennis, so don't expect me to give it any rational kind of discussion. I don't really know anything about this Kev character -- my knowledge of the Authority extends to the first four TPBs, and I have zero interest in reading more -- but I can already tell that I like him. Kev's SAS, because this is Ennis we're talking about here, and some super-powerful aliens want him for unknown reasons or they'll Destroy The Planet. Kev's going to bring some loser charm to the infinitely lovable duo of Apollo and the Midnighter, and nobody writes a grizzled, what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-here-with-these-fucking-people vet like Ennis. Fabry's art is tighter than it has been in series past, and for that I am thankful.

Rating: Barkeep, I'll have another.

The Losers #12 - What, you aren't buying this yet? Why the fuck not? This is a great capper to a somewhat uneven arc, and contains one of the funniest goddamn scenes/lines I've ever read ("Remember where we parked.") What most people might miss is that there's an underlying intelligence to the slam-bang action, a certain informed, cynical glee that makes the book not only a blast to read but damned intriguing. Pick it up. New TPB in November.

Rating: Always a tasty beverage.

Batman #628 - I was very, very skeptical about this run. Winick has absolutely failed to impress me on everything else of his I've read (okay, I've only read one title of his, The Outsiders, which is a cliché-ridden mess of a book) but dammit if this isn't fun. Who would have thought the Penguin could still be so formidable? Who would have thought a straight-up adventure story, with all the taste and none of the nutrition, could still be so fun? Dustin Nguyen's art is well suited, too; the way he makes everyone's face a virtual landscape lends weight to the story.

Rating: Great taste, less filling.

Para #1 - Stuart Moore's (believe it or not) semi-autobiographical story about family legacy, a superconducting super collider, and Science vs... Something Else. I know, I know; took me awhile to get around to this, as #3 just hit the stands today. So far the premise is intriguing, but even in a 6-part arc this first issue feels rushed. Suddenly there's this grad student guy the protagonist apparently has a history with? It's odd. I'm also a little hesitant on the obvious pitting of "Science vs..." as if science were a monolithic entity that did not, in fact, include all occuring phenomenon, whether catalogued or not. Whatever. It's a very, very pretty book, and it looks like it could go somewhere fascinating very fast.

Rating: Needs a bit more aging, but worth a second shot.

DC: The New Frontier #4 - Reading this book in one sitting is the comic book equivalent of running a marathon. Cooke writes a completely immersive world, and his subtle and complete grasp of the setting and style of the times only reinforces that. Seriously, though: Is anything else that goes on in this book even half as fascinating as the Martian Manhunter and John Henry stuff? Hal Jordan's getting boring, Batman's got tantalizing glimpses (and that looks like that's all Cooke'll give us), and I know approximinately nil about the Challengers of the Unknown and the Suicide Squad, so this one lost steam by the last 15 pages or so. Sure is purty, though.

Rating: A fine wine, a little too dense in flavor.

Supreme Power #10 - I really like this series. I really didn't care for this issue. I didn't not like it... it just failed to provoke any kind of response other than mild disappointment. Every other issue, even in exposition scene after exposition scene, felt to be moving at a breakneck pace -- and something was always happening. This issue felt like treading water. And hey, look, I realize it's a MAX title... but do we have to make every female in the issue stark friggin' naked?

Rating: Ah. Right. Moving on.

The Punisher #6 - Two "holy SHIT!" moments, meaning I said "holy SHIT!" out loud twice while reading. (That, to me, should be the by-line of comic book ratings. If you're not consistently enthralled, inspired, or surprised by a book, why the hell are you reading it?) If you had any doubts about Ennis taking the kid gloves off, look no further than this issue. Frank Castle hasn't felt this dangerous in awhile, and I think I know why: previous Punisher series, from Ennis all the way back to Steven Grant, have always been told in narration from Castle himself... I guess so we can empathize, or at least regard him as the de facto protagonist. Beyond issue 1, this entire arc has been told from outside Castle, with almost no interior monologue or narration, so we have no idea what he's thinking or plotting or planning. It's a subtle move, and incredibly effective. I'll miss LaRosa when he's gone, too -- that guy has the grungey world of Frank Castle down pat.

Rating: Now there is a drink with some kick.

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