Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wed. Is Any Day For All I Care #13

A short while ago, I switched this newish comic review column to biweekly status, front loaded early in the month. Since I don't care much about being timely anyway, I thought I might round out the month with much older comics to review. I'm behind deadline, so this might get a bit choppy...

The Atheist #1
Bear #10
Eternals #1
Solo #3

The Atheist #1 (Image, 2005, $3.50)
So far, the more Phil Hester scripts I read, the more I like. This comic flows very much like the opening of a winning television series, although the severed head would indicate HBO or F/X. Antoine Sharpe is one of those super-logical super-assholes loved by a particular type of fan the world over. Artist John McCrea altered his style for this project to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, and it's some of the best dramatic work of his career. There's a creepy reprint short by Hester to round out the issue. An ominous supernatural tale with a solid opening twist, which makes me wish the trade collection published by Desperado wasn't so overpriced. I'll finish this eventually, though.

Bear #10 (SLG, 2005, $2.95)
The tale of one bad cat, his slacker owner, and the stuffed bear he torments. Despite the gothic cover image targeting the Hot Topic crowd, Jamie Smart's comic strips runs more like Garfield by way of Evan Dorkin. The dialogue must be read with an English accent, with the profanity-laden dialogue and general absurdist tone likely familar to fans of BBC America. It's not bad, and has a good rhythm, though the heavy use of non-sequiters as a humorous device will annoy "Family Guy" detractors.

Eternals #1 (Marvel, 2006, $3.99)
A respectable reworking of the Jack Kirby concept of super-powered immortals created by godlike aliens to combat monstrous Deviants. The problem is that no one has ever cared about the characters that are meant to drive the series, and Neil Gaiman seems just as concerned with set-up and exposition over a personality to hook readers as Kirby was. Thanks to the texture of Danny Miki's inks, this is some of the best art of John Romita Jr's career.

Solo #3 (DC, 2005, $4.95)
Paul Pope's one of those artists I feel I'm supposed to like and respect, but every time I've tried his work, never felt much inclination to continue. It isn't that it's in any way bad, just not my flavor. Sometimes a creator just doesn't grab you at a basic level, y'know? This volume had me reconsidering my evaluation, however.

  1. "The Problem In Knossos," was my favorite of the stories, retelling ancient myth with modern attitude, up to redressing Theseus in rather anachronistic black tee & denim.
  2. "Are You Ready For The World That's Coming?" is a much more sucessful reinterpretation of 70's Kirby than Gaiman, enhancing the inherent weirdness of OMAC with alterna-cool. I would love to see this expanded to a mini-series.
  3. "Life-Sized Monster Ghost" is the lament of a boy who actually bought all those crappy novelties advertised in old comic books. Satisfying as a brief expose for all of us who never did.
  4. "En Esta Esquina (On The Corner)" is the pretentious art story that goes nowhere, quite literally, by just describing a day in the life of a vicinity.
  5. "Teenage Sidekick" is the obligatory Batman story, starring Robin. I liked seeing Dick with a cocky attitude, even in the face of mishap, but the actual story covers less ground than "On The Corner."

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