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Joe Rice Media Review 3/11/07

Wow-wow-wow.  What a big week.  Any week with Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Paul Hornschmeier, Lewis Trondheim, and Anders Nilsen is a pretty goddam great week, especially if all that came in just two books!  And there was other good stuff too!  The wife’s dirty martini did the trick of putting her to bed early so I’ve got some time to do some writing tonight.  It’s a good thing; this stack is going to take a while.

B.P.R.D. is, by its nature, a book that delves into creepiness.  The adventure/serial/Cthulu combination always has something creeping up to the surface, especially with Guy Davis on art chores.  But, unreal as it is, it does real very well.  This month saw excellence in the real (I’m sorry, but the scene where the girls talk about a skirt was an amazing show of low-key real awesomeness) and the unreal.  Liz’s vision was creepy, the stuff in the weird jungle was creepier, and that BIG EYED CAT GIRL FREAKED ME OUT.  Great work and some possible new plot threads emerging . . .and hints of the great Mr. L. Johnson showing his awesome face again.  Good book.

I remember hearing Peter Milligan had written a Kid Amazo book what seems like twenty years ago.  I was extremely excited.  And this week it finally got started in the pages of JLA Classified.  And it was . . .OK.  The art, by Carlos D’anda, took a while to win me over.  It’s got a bit of a Patrick Gleason feel to it, but with harder edges.  Something about the book just didn’t quite work for me.  The main character was something of an annoying cliché . . .oooh, the rebellious philosopher.  There’s a reason I couldn’t stand those guys in college.  But perhaps it will serve the story.  I’ll give it another issue before I completely abandon this, though.  There was promise.

Why was everyone (outside of New Yorkers that didn’t get it on time) complaining about Madman last week?  I thought it was a lot of fun.  Allred’s pacing has always been rather individual.  And after all these years I appreciated the recap.  But anyone that believes that everyone really is irrevocably dead and that Frank is Death Incarnate has apparently never read Madman before, and maybe never read superhero comics at all.  Hell, at the end he’s called Death and Life consecutively.  There’s clearly something going on here.  And that ART!  Yum.  I want to snuggle with it.  I’m actually REALLY interested in where this goes.

Ahhh, Thunderbolts.  Dark, ugly art.  Obvious image rips from movies.  Unsympathetic, gross characters.  But it’s such an entertaining train wreck, half-satire and half-straightforward-action-flick.  The best scenes, again, are with the low-level heroes that the Thunderbolts are hunting and with Norman “REAL CRAZY” Osborne.  I can totally see why someone wouldn’t like this, but I’m enjoying it.

Karl Moline draws the HELL out of The Loners.  I just wish he had more of a book to draw.  A bunch of lame characters in what should have been a one-joke situation talk talk talk talk talk and then bust up a drug ring.  It’s not poorly-written, it just isn’t very compelling, no matter how many references to better comics are thrown in.  But damn that art is nice.  I’ll be watching what this guy draws.

When I saw so many people telling Greg to get Spider-man and the Fantastic Four, I was a little puzzled.  Granted, I really, really enjoyed Agents of Atlas.  But some of Parker’s other work has been, well, merely “good.”  Not exactly harsh criticism, but not yet enough to ensure I’ll try everything he does.  He seemed a sort of Dan Slott with stronger writing chops, but not quite a sure bet.  Well, this book was pretty damn nice.  The Wieringo art doesn’t hurt one bit.  We get what couldn’t really be more of a straight-up superhero story, but told with enough wit and panache that you totally don’t mind.  The scene with the couple in the park particularly tickled me.  Anyway, if you’re not really going to break ground, do the old thing really well, and this does.  I guess I officially have to try all of Parker’s work now.

And I’m still enjoying the hell out of New Avengers.  Yu’s art and layouts still stand out.  His storytelling and panel choices are really great.  And Bendis is doing a great two-layered story here, each of them compelling (that last part is particularly hard to pull off).  Hey, is Wonder Man wearing that cheeseball guido chain in other books?  It’s so perfect for a guy who’d actually wear that awful leisure suit.  And is it wrong that I was cheering for Iron Fist’s lawyer?  Totally fun.

But, really, no superhero book this week could out-fun, out-write, out-draw, or out-awesome All-Star Superman.  From that beautiful cover, to the beginning where the bizarro technician starts accruing debris, to Superman tenderly saying goodbye to his pet Sun-Eater to FRICKIN BIZARRO WORLD and you’re only on page 5.  Jimmy’s still the coolest guy around, Lombard’s on . . .”performance enhancers,” Lois is beautiful, Superman had a card for her . . .Christ, I’m just listing awesome things here.  And that last page!  Ung!  Quitely’s mastery of draftsmanship, his perfection with character, and his brilliance in storytelling make each page of Morrison’s fun, exciting script just give you a kiss on the brain.  God, I can’t wait for the next issue.  I forgot how great this is.

I got Gipi’s Garage Band but have not yet had time to read it.  You’ll get the review when I do.  Looks fun.  And in Mome, I’ve only read Nilson’s comic (heart-wrenching) and Columbia’s bit (awesome).  More when I read more but it looks well-worth the time and money, a great little anthology.  Some crap, of course, but enough good to mean something.

8 Comments

Rohan Williams

April 11, 2007 at 9:31 pm

As much as I love All-Star Superman and want it to continue forever and ever- preferably in daily, nay, hourly installments delivered directly to my brain- I’m kind of looking forward to the end of Morrison and Quitely’s run, so I can read your in-depth thoughts on the series as a whole.

I mean, I don’t even usually read this column, and have been just generally an asshole towards you in the past, but it was the glowing reviews from you and Alex that got me so excited about picking up this book in the first place. I’d be interested to read your analysis of the underlying themes and such.

On the last page of All-Star Superman…if I ever run into Quitely at a con, and I can get a sketch from him, I now know what to ask for. The concept was brushed upon in the old “Bizarro World” stories, but Morrison will probably take this in a fun and very scary direction.

Iron Fist’s lawyer is one bad ass motherfucker.

He should get his own book. Herb Finkelstein, Lawyer of Iron Fist.

I wish I got a new story from Madman but I enjoyed the tripped out metaphysical recap. I’m just glad Allred is back on this book. I can’t wait for Gargantua to come out .

ASS is always good. C’mon ZiBarro. That’s just awesome.

Yeah, that lawyer has big brass balls.

White Tiger was also good this week. I enjoyed the Deadpool cameo immensely.

Kinda sucks for Zibarro, though, having a name that sounds like he should be running a mediocre Italian franchise.

This guy I knew in high school, Skeeter, he used to stir the sauce at the Sbarro’s where he worked by putting his filthy arm into it up to the armpit. True story. I mean, the fact that he was willingly called Skeeter should tell you something.

I’m not like some drooling Bendisphile but man, his New Avengers is really good, isn’t it? It’s fun, tricky, smart-ass superhero comics.

The guy deserves way more credit than he gets–the whole “let’s play with time” bit isn’t exactly the most original device in the storyteller’s playbook, but it plays so well here, and the pieces fit together so nicely.

“Kinda sucks for Zibarro, though, having a name that sounds like he should be running a mediocre Italian franchise.”

I think that adds to his tragedy.

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