Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wed. Is Any Day For All I Care #2

Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter #0
Jungle Girl #0
Project Superpowers #0

Teen Titans Year One #1
Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38
Terror, Inc. #1

Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter #0 (Virgin, $2.95)
Don't let the cover price fool you-- this was solicited at $0.75, and after a special introductory discount I paid only seventeen. A steal at thrice the price, I tell you! I used to work with a girl who idolized Jameson, seeing as they had similiar backgrounds, which led me to read her book, "How To Be a Porn Star" or somesuch. She had a co-writer, and let me assure you, a publisher wouldn't have greenlit a ghost of that quality. It wasn't bad so much as thoroughly amateurish and dependent on the interest celebrity provides. Anyhow, I'm more of a Justine Joli man myself, so my review has the objectivity of a person who isn't lusty over a woman undergoing the strange transformation into a wereduck. Also, Jameson's text foreward spoils part of the preview, but her enthusiasm, as well as her publisher's, enhances the sampler. Jameson's premise isn't original, but a good scripter could run with the inherent metaphor. Hopefully, Christina Z will be that person, as she's better at this game than her resume might suggest. Regardless, the art by Mukesh Singh is gorgeous, like a cross between Joshua Middleton and Brandon Peterson. You can forgive a lot of a book this easy on the eyes. The sadly slight six pages of story are additionally bouyed by a two page interview of Ms. Z and 14 pages of alternate covers and conceptual art. Virgin works hard to win me over, so I'll at least try to thumb through the trade. I just wish that I could get past their starfucker image to a book that grabs my attention.

Jungle Girl #0 (Dynamite, $0.25)
What do I expect for a quarter, minus discount? Better than eight color pages of a nice piece of ass with a hint of personality. It isn't that I feel ripped off, but that if a company is going to bother with this type of sampler, why not put your best foot forward? Unlike Shadow Hunter, there's nothing more than the tiny sample. The other eight pages of the book are devoted to house ads and editorial for what was then called "Superpowers #0." What a wasted opportunity, seeing as if T&A actually is all this book's about, why not just let the cover do all the work that went into this preview?

Project Superpowers #0 (Dynamite, $1.00)
Every failing of Jungle Girl is remedied here. If you enjoy the austerity and epic scope of most of the works associated with Alex Ross, this is a must read. I'm a bit burnt out on that vibe myself, but it works reasonably well in the context of these public domain super-heroes of the WWII era who've largely gone unpublished and unmourned in the years since. God help me, but around a quarter century ago a young Frank bought a magazine at Woolworths that exposed him to coverage of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Roswell conspiracy theories, and the somewhat sordid pulp adventures of characters like Daredevil, the Flame, and the Yellow Claw. Reading this book is like mainlining black tar nostalgia for a time never my own, and I intend to buy it in trade. Both writer Jim Krueger and artists Doug Klauba and Steve Sadowski have their stumbling points, but overall I'm compelled to recommend this project.

Teen Titans Year One #1 (DC, $2.99)
Where's my damned Huntress Year One? Based on what I've seen and heard of this initiative, it'll be shit, but I'd still take the potential in a new Huntress mini over the mostly forgotten "Cry for Blood." Oh hell, I'm supposed to be talking about Teen Titans. The art's nice and all, but the story is so rote and decompressed I've already forgotten it. *Flips pages* Oh yeah, teens deal with mentors under evil influence. I only paid $0.75 cents for this, on the off chance J'Onn J'Onzz might show up. He didn't. Let's just move on.

Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38 (DC, $2.99)
I've steadily whittled down my comic purchases to trades, furthering my lack of interest in greater-than-monthly frequency of receipt. That said, when I heard Jim Shooter would be writing a regular feature again, I both wanted to support his work at go and relish it as it was produced. Because of his less-than-stellar relationship with talent and management alike, Shooter sadly fails to receive his due credit as one of the very best writers this medium has ever produced. Shooter respects the continuity set down in a Legion decidedly not his own, but he clearly has an agenda to push the status quo into new directions. Valerie D'Orazio complained on her blog that the book should have an equally old school artist, which misses an important element of Shooter's appeal, that he always writes ahead of the curve. Shooter really outdoes the British by producing a script that can be enjoyed by veteran readers, but is just as edgy as anything available to the mainstream. These are to some degree Larry Clark teenagers, as they swear constantly, brutalize one another unconscionably, display heinous judgement, and seem likely to get up to naughtiness behind closed doors. Francis Manapul wouldn't necessarily be my choice on art either, but more because his cartoony look is a bit too light for the dirty sexy cool of the script. Again, these kids by-pass the old catch-all expletive of "grife" and go straight to thinly-veiled riffs on "prick," "shit," and more. Quaint, this ain't, and God bless Shooter's thoroughly rock n' roll sensibility here. For this, I'll pay a $2.99 cover price (with my significant discount, 'natch.)

Terror, Inc. #1 (Marvel, $3.99)
Enough Golden and Silver Age nostalgia! Let's move on to Robert Kirkman's School of 90's Comic Restoration! I remember reading the original Terror Inc. #1 back in the day, and I've got to say, this one was much better. Sure, David Lapham is basically just writing a snappier and less offensive riff on a Garth Ennis Punisher/Barracuda script, but it entertains, and I dug the ghoulishness of the lead character. Patrick Zircher impresses by being unrecognizable in a change of art style that suits the material. If the other five issues hold up, I might just by the trade.

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