Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday Is A Buck BOOM! For All I Care #124

Doctor Who Volume 2 #1 (2011)
Planet of the Apes #5 (2011)
The Rinse #1
Wormwood Gentleman Corpse #1 (2006)

Hundred Penny Press: Doctor Who Volume 2 #1 (IDW, 2011, $1.00)
My first girlfriend was a Whovian, and so is my father, but I managed not to watch a single episode until a few years ago. It was the one about the guy who forms a band with Moaning Myrtle, and while I understand the episode received mixed reviews, I liked it pretty well. I've caught a few more since then with David Tennet and Matt Smith, and for a geeky sci-fi show, it's pretty corny and goofy in the good way. Based on my limited exposure, this comic seems to capture that feeling of the show, although it also has that distinct comic book disregard for budgets and a bit of stilted pacing. Some of that comes from the likenesses, which unlike that Buffy comic from last week are so spot on I have to figure some referencing chicanery is going on. There's also a bit of cognitive dissonance when I look from a lovingly rendered Amy Pond to a villain that resembles Danny Trejo as drawn by Mort Drucker. Tony Lee and Andrew Currie coast along on easy charm for this pleasant little done in one.

Hundred Penny Press: Wormwood Gentleman Corpse #1 (IDW, 2011, $1.00)
I hate the art style of Ben Templesmith, and all of his clones. I get fucking sick of pages and pages of brown. I also find his painterly eccentricities are used to bury plain old bad work consisting of plain figures, oversized panels, the general absence of backgrounds and chickenscratch. He's basically the Rob Liefeld of the art house scene. His writing is solid enough though on this quirky tale, which held me interest right up until the plague of our times, decompression, saw the book end right as I was starting to get into it. Admittedly, the quirks are largely secondhand, but for seriocomic gothic adventure, it was surprisingly decent.

Planet of the Apes #5 (BOOM!, 2011, $1.00)
How thoroughly must a director shit the bad on a franchise when you make hundreds of millions of dollars on a remake and the studio still doesn't bother with a sequel. Poor Dark Horse had the license for Tim Burton's version of POTA, and I figure Adventure Comics got more mileage out of their take on the original movies fifteen years after they had stopped being produced. BOOM! hedged their bets by also hewing to the old movies, despite a second reboot being a top film this year. Probably for the best, since Rise of the Planet of the Apes didn't establish enough lore to spin a comic series out of, and the old stuff remains meaty material.

For instance, the assumption of political undertones in the franchise means updating the property is as simple as following modern day politics. There's terror bombings, union strikes, underclass labor, extraordinary rendition, martyrdom... bridging the world we know and a time before the first Apes movie. BOOM! likes to do this thing where they offer a dollar issue the same month as a trade collection of the issues that preceded it. I wonder if anyone ever buys the one issue on its own? I don't imagine it would make a lot of sense, but it soundly continues Daryl Gregory's dense plot. Unfortunately, it also continues flat, uninvolving characters that are moved about his chess board. Carlos Magno's rich art seemed too busy to me at first, but I've grown to like it and his ability to convey the humanity the script does not. The guy has a lot of potential to go far, and he's well served by the coloring of Nolan Woodard.

The Rinse #1 (BOOM!, 2011, $1.00)
People gnash their teeth and rend their clothes over the death of most genres in comic books beyond super-heroes. I think they forget that television started bleeding the audience from comic in the 1950s, and the medium's steady death march across decades has never truly abated. People buy super-hero comics because it's the only thing about comic books that hasn't been adopted and bettered by video games, motion pictures and the like. Of course, now that super-hero comics are written like a single hour of television spread out across five issues, even the one thing the industry can still call its own is losing its unique appeal.

What does all of this have to do with a comic about an expert money launderer? Because it reads like an old time television show, from back when they were all based on short prose stories, plays, and radio dramas. I guess someplace like AMC or HBO might could pull off a project like this as a cable show, but it strikes me that reaching back in this way is something comics are ideally suited for. It might work better as a graphic novel than a floppy, since I doubt the story can keep its moment in monthly installments. It isn't that Gary Phillips story is any sort of revelation, but it's okay, and the art of Marc Laming and colorist Darrin Moore make it better. Basically, as prose, this would be nothing special, but transitioned to the comics medium with the right collaborators, it turns out a bit better than the usual fare from either discipline.

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