Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1
The Creep #0
National Comics: Looker #1
I've been working goddamned near non-stop for weeks, plus thirteen days into the month, and Mail Order Comics still hasn't gotten me my September book shipment. I hate the fucking slow loading site of theirs, too. That place really went to shit with the new owners...
Anti #1 (12-Gauge, 2012, $1.00)
I read half of this book months ago as part of 12-Gauge's Free Comic Book Day offering, so it couldn't help but lose receptive momentum as I reread the rerun to progress to the relatively predictable new. Peter Calloway's script starts off promisingly dark, but ultimately sacrifices exposition for action, and enough of the premise is teased not to seem inspired. So far, it's a more callous Trinity recruiting a more compromised Neo to fight demonic agents. Artist Daniel Hillyard does a solid Leinil Yu impersonation in the first half, then decides to switch references with Frank Quitely, so colorist Charlie Kirchoff is forced to blend the disparate styles as best he can. It doesn't help that the art gets more funky junky as the one man jam progresses. It's still better than most starfucker books where hired hands flesh out the ideas of a movie producer whose name gets on the cover while the legitimate creators' do not.
Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 (DC, 2012, $3.99)
In 1986, Alan Moore revised the Question to more fully embody creator Steve Ditko's objectivist philosophy while sending up such right-think by making his analogue a stinky, ugly little creep who subsisted on cold beans straight from the can before being sent to prison. The new Rorschach solo mini-series is too obviously a cynical cash grab on Brian Azzarello's part to even pretend at making an effort at satire. This is the exact same urban vigilante recycling of Death Wish that you've been reading since you first discovered comics. There's a serial killer who carves messages into his victims' flesh, 42nd Street is still a red light district littered with junkie whores and peepshows, criminals are Dick Tracy grotesques who hang out in subway tunnels and the bad guys beat the hero within an inch of his life so that he can come back for revenge. In short, bone tired bullshit that ran its course during the era it lazily invokes. The only reason for this comic to exist is that Lee Bermejo is pretty much the only photorealistic artist who isn't just tossing Google images into a Photoshop filter and calling it comics. I want to put my dick in his artwork, it's so fine, but not without a condom, because it's pretty sleazy too. There's also a two page "Curse of the Crimson Corsair" installment, because that's still happening, even though I totally can't remember reading it.
The Creep #0 (Dark Horse, 2012, $2.99)
It felt like this comic had more story heft than most modern debut issues, so of course that means it actually collected three installments of a serialized story from Dark Horse Presents. It makes a pretty good case against following the anthology title, since I'd be pissed if I was given six months worth of previews only to be forced to continue my reading elsewhere. Anyway, all three bits read as one piece seamlessly, and I enjoyed the writing and art. John Arcudi basically transplants golden age Hollywood actor Rondo Hatton into a 1980s neo-noir, making his acromegaly a sticking point for the sympathetic character. The only fault in Jonathan Case's art is that his Creep is too human and handsome to seem at all off-putting. I appreciated his shifts in style from Vertigo-cartoony in the main story to hazy watercolor memories/delusions. I could definitely see buying this in trade paperback.
National Comics: Looker #1 (DC, 2012, $3.99)
Falling below the bar set by Kid Eternity in premise and execution, Looker is about a former supermodel forced to run her own agency after being bitten by a vampire. That's a concept that starts off bad, gets convoluted with successive layers of additional badness, but never manages to loop around under the weight of ridiculous tropes to becoming so-bad-it's-good. You just sort of marvel at the earnestness of the dumb ideas and shady pilfered characters like Stanley Tucci reprising the role of Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada.
The saving grace is the evolving art of Mike S. Miller. I always liked his work, even though he was one of those stylists who produced drawings of comic book characters in comic books of a a certain style that looked drawn. During his "Please Forget What I said About Homosexuality" hiatus from people paying him for pages, he's clearly taken a long hard look at guys like Kevin Maguire, Jeff Johnson and Art Adams. While he's still not as good as any of those guys, and integration of their elements have blurred the distinctiveness of Miller's old style, the results are quite attractive. If he can better synthesize his influences and add more innovative flair to launch from their base, Miller could become a force to be reckoned with. It's rare to see artists as far into their career as Miller clearly, actively work to improve themselves, but those that pull it off are the stuff of legends.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
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