Friday, October 9, 2009

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #43

Irredeemable #5
Magog #1
Sweet Tooth #1
Vampirella: The Second Coming #1




Irredeemable #5 (BOOM!, 2009, $0.99)
More Evil Superman, with a side of "funny bad attitudinal" Black Lightning. There are fewer "Curt Swan" flashback moments, but Krause's art suffers from the lack of focus. This whole affair is so very tired and dated, I can't imagine going any further.


Magog #1 (DC, 2009, $2.99)
I haven't followed JSA since Rags Morales was drawing it, and Lord knows I've always felt Kingdom Come was unsatisfying, derivative, and overly praised. It should then come as no surprise that I bought this book solely because it came heavily discounted, and for the purpose of a quick, negative review. Imagine my surprise that I actually liked it! Keith Giffen, a writer I've loved and hated in equal measure, works in gruff anti-hero mode here (see also: Lobo, Trencher, Lunatik, etc.) However, thanks to allusions to real world atrocities and Magog's contrasting against more uptight Golden Age heroes, it works. Most of Magog's relevant backstory is related in a single page, leaving plenty of room for action, proper introductions to supporting characters, and some endearing moments with Magog himself. Giffen is aided in his hard sell by Howard Porter and John Dell, whose art is still closer to latter-day JLA than that book's creative sweet spot, but is well suited for a vigilante badass. Alex Ross' riff on Cable holds up pretty well under the pen of others, an exception perhaps being Glenn Fabrey's off-center cover, but as a whole things work surprisingly well herein.


Sweet Tooth #1 (Vertigo, 2009, $1.00)
I don't recall reading any of Jeff Lemire's indie work, but I enjoyed this quirky, sensitive first issue of a new ongoing series. The book follows a young boy/deer hybrid as he first experiences the post-apocalyptic world outside the small sanctuary he's inhabited most of his life. Telling more would spoil the story to date, which is my major criticism of the book. Between the large panels and sparse dialogue, I read the issue so quickly I felt the need to double check that it ran full length (what, between the low introductory price and seven page text excerpt from the upcoming Fables novel, and all.) If they cut a break on the first trade collection, it may prove the more convincing entry point to this intriguing but overly decompressed series.


Vampirella: The Second Coming #1 (Harris, 2009, $1.99)
Y'know, I'm a bit peeved that Phil Hester's run on Vampirella actually began with Return of the Blood Red Queen, which seems to have ended in Vampi's death. This series picks up from that point, focusing on a series of women in some way touched by Vampi's legacy, treating her as a sort of Betty Page/Suicide Girls inspirational icon. While still a jumping on point, the constant references to the other story makes me feel like I missed out. Then again, old Vampirella comics often felt episodic, and there's a sense things will be veering off in an entirely different direction than before.

The premise of the story is novel, and the new characters developing. I'd say my primary reservation is the art of Daniel Sampere, who I would be damning with faint praise by saying he would normally be a cut above the standard Vampi fare. Sampere's style has eye appeal, and he can tell a story, just not the same one Hester is writing. The script begs for '70s atmosphere, like the Filipino studio artists used to produce. This is an Alfedo Alcala book drawn by a super-hero penciler. Tony DeZuniga could have thrown shadows all over to make the demonic Gore believable as a dinner guest in one scene, but as drawn he's so clearly polluted and otherworldly, only an absolute damned fool would deign to dine with him (especially in an underground tunnel, a major plot point.) The art does such a disservice to the story, it's hard to take anything about the project seriously, and the whole thing pivots on a more "realistic" view of the material. I'll be giving this title a little more length thanks to its economic value and saving graces, but I'm on record with my apprehension...

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