Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wed. Is Any Day For All I Care #10

I Kill Giants #1
Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods #1
Legion of Super-Heroes #43-44
Monster Pile-Up #1

I Kill Giants #1 (Image, $2.99)
I want to like Joe Kelly's writing, but his scripts are so blasted unfocused, I rarely ever do. It doesn't help that he seems to be trying for "Jimmy Corrigan" territory here, and comes off more like a lower rent "Donnie Darko." The book's about a nerdy schoolgirl named Barbara who claims she kills giants. She tells this to a motivational speaker, gets sent to the principle's office, and is made to feel self-conscious on the bus ride home. There's also a role-playing game. There's your first issue. It's trying to be witty and perceptive, but the script and Jm Ken Niimura's sloppy art just sit on the page. This is to comics what Zach Braff movies are to cinema, and there's no Natalie Portman in sight. Six more issues of this, and you'll just be $18 and a half hour the poorer.

Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99)
Well, finding a more generic title would have been a real challenge, but the story starts well. There's a page of set-up, then exciting action and cute dialogue for sixteen pages. This I could see running for seven issues, but therein lies the problem, as it's only four. The scale of the threat involved with the artifact is too great to be treated fairly in such scant space, so already there's the sense of big talk and hurried pace amounting to little. There's just a few pages of exposition before we're on to the cliffhanger ending, which I suppose suits the material, but seems a bit lightweight for my taste. Honestly, if the stakes were lowered, and this were treated as a more casual escapade at the same pace, I'd be more inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt. The hype kills my interest, not the otherwise solid execution of Rob Williams and Steve Scott.

Legion of Super-Heroes #43-44 (DC, $2.99)
This seems to be the week of caveat emptor. I've really enjoyed Jim Shooter's Legion so far, but I think perhaps background stress, which caused him to temporarily quit the book, crept into these issues. Through serendipity, I happened to reread the "Legends" mini-series this week, in which Guy Gardner lays the smack down on a savage Shooter satire, artist John Byrne having then-recently quit Marvel over his micromanagement. Then I read a Shooter script over twenty years later, and he's got the "Peril Men" and the "Ikonn" fighting over who'll pillage a temple "built to glorify a pantheon of legends and gods by the colony of artists that settled here a long time ago." Oy vey! Too much to ask of a reader who catches the references to not get kicked right out of the narrative for the duration. Not helping was the story retroactively tying into the wretched "Countdown" series that we'd all sooner forget.

Things got worse in #44, as the dynamic Francis Manapul was replaced the amateurish Sanford Greene on art. Shooter meanwhile took his dense long term narrative and wrapped everything up with the worst Mary Sue in recent memory. I appreciate the shout out to the departed Rich Morrissey (I nice guy I was pleased to meet a number of years back,) but such a painful deus ex machina seems a disservice. Had I waited for the trade, I'd have never expressed kind words previously typed here.

Monster Pile-Up #1 (Image, $1.99)
Speaking of which, I was feeling remorse for having followed the advise of other reviewers to avoid "The Astounding Wolf-Man," the first several issues of which I ended up enjoying quite a bit on loan from a friend. After posting positive reviews here, I planned to remedy the oversight, and what does Kirkman do but spoil that trade with a huge revelation in his trial edition. Instead of contributing a new story to whet readers' appetites, he just ripped the first four pages out of the latest issue, which would be meaningless to the uninitiated. So good job fucking yourself out of a sale, Kirkman, and hope I'll be over it by the time the second collection is offered.

Next up was Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn's original five page Firebreather tale, which had problems by going in the opposite direction from Kirkman. Too little is explained about their series, and what was there didn't provoke much of a response. On the plus side, I enjoyed the first issue of the character's new mini-series recently, and nothing here dissuaded me from ordering the collected edition, so that's money in the bank.

I can't say the same about Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau's the Perhapanauts, which offered a full-length version of the Firebreather short's flaws a short while back. I enjoyed this five page original more, and still see a lot of potential in the concepts and designs, but not enough to get over my initial burn. Maybe next time.

Proof was the only introduction to me in this edition, and unfortunately it amounted to the fourth of four disappointments. The art is rough and colors muddy in that fashion of Ben Templesmith/Ashley Wood that I loathe. The story read like "Pop-Up Video" running over an A&E historical drama, which would be a problem if the random factoids weren't the best part of the (pale semblance of a) story. I hope it was extracted from or a preview to another piece, because based on the pages offered, my only conclusion is it's a piece of *something*.

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