Jack Avarice is The Courier #1
Charles M. Schulz Peanuts #0
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Jack Avarice is The Courier #1 (IDW, 2011, $3.99)
I bought this book expecting to like the art and not give a rat's ass about the story. Instead, it was breezy, funny read with art glitches that gave me pause. Creator Chris Madden is set to revive the Danger Girl series, and in terms of basic style, he's quite clearly a suitable stand-in for J. Scott Campbell. However, I'd be very surprised to learn that he drew on anything but a tablet, and I'd expect some sort of background in animation, as well. This is to say, Madden tells a story well visually, but in an extremely rough hewn shorthand. Each panel looks like a really nice sketch jotted out on the quick at a convention, with all the layout framework left in. The art could be very pretty, with elements of Kyle Baker slipping into the Campbell, but it is often distracting in its disheveled nature. This book is published weekly, so perhaps the intention is to show how well Madden can perform under extreme deadline pressure.
Anyhow, despite my aggravation with the "almost there" art, the story is as fun as Danger Girl was over a decade ago, and Madden's silly characters make the sort of immediately endearing impression one would expect from a cartoon. Giving everyone distinctive features and their own logos right off the bat never hurts. Twenty bucks to read this week after week for a month doesn't seem that steep when the book seems like such a good time.
Orchid #1 (Dark Horse, 2011, $1.00)
Companies like Virgin Comics used to talk with famous people about their lame ass ideas for b-movies and potential starring vehicles, then hire some journeyman writer to turn their shitty star-fuck-fan-fic into a marketable product. That is not the case with Dark Horse and Tom Morello, legendary guitarist from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. Morello, a man of integrity, has written his own first chapter of a graphic novella that can stand proudly next to one of those shitty derivative sci-fi stories from the back of a Heavy Metal you bought in junior high to masturbate to the Luis Royo cover or the Horacio Altuna lead before they invented internet porn. It's much better written than the free music track downloadable with purchase, and will take longer to read than to listen, but it's still sort of like splitting a fifty count McNugget combo with a friend. It sounds like a good deal until you're chocking down #37 while the wedges of salt with potatoes mixed in have dried your throat and sent your BP to 180/120.
Peanuts #0 (kaboom!, 2011, $1.00)
It's Peanuts. I have to explain Peanuts to you? If you don't know whether you'll like this going in, google "Peanuts." The six page opening works fine, in part because it plays like a Sunday strip with more individual panel image space. The silent "Woodstock's New Nest" is like a week or two worth of daily strips strung together into a series of set-ups and beats. There are four pages of reprint strips of predictable quality, and the closing weak link four page sample of the graphic novel "Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown!" It goes by quick, but at a buck, there's nothing to complain about.
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (IDW, 2012, $3.99)
This is one of those books that seems like a natural, and although there's little connection between the two franchises in this opening issue, its steady going so far. A decade of super-hero porn commissions haven't kept the Moy brothers in their fighting from from a run on Legion in the '90s, and sometimes flat coloring does them little favor, but it's not a bad looking book overall. Chris Roberson establishes the premise of the crossover, and while the various characters aren't really given a proper introduction (aside from mugshots on the inside cover,) the characters' voices seem confident.
There's also ten page preview of another Roberson project, "Memorial," which reads just like one of those network shows out this season that ripped of Fables. Actually, I only saw the pilot of Once Upon A Time, but it's pretty much just like that. Fairy tale characters in a modern setting, less Willingham's cynicism and innovations in favor of playing things more obviously cute and fanciful. It's not bad for this type of thing, but you'd figure that if this is half of the debut issue, you'd spend more time with your protagonist and less with Pinocchio and Captain Hook decked out like Reservoir Dogs. That is, if you don't want to be dismissed as a total cash-in, I mean. Didn't Roberson even write an actual Fables spin-off? This is one of those "change the names to reuse a rejected script" things, isn't it?
Monday, November 21, 2011
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