Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Is About Dollar Dames For All I Care #88

Image Firsts: Dead@17 #1
Image Firsts: Hack/Slash #1
Lady Death Premiere
Mata Hari #0 (2010)
Warlord of Mars #1 (2010)

Image Firsts: Dead@17 #1 (Image, 2003/2010, $1.00)
Once again, I'm in a position to compare Josh Howard's Dead@17 unfavorably against Tim Seeley's Hack/Slash. Howard draws in a cartoonish style that completely neutralizes the horror element while still managing to sexualize the murder of a teenage girl. The characters are uninvolving stock caricatures, the genre tropes familiar, and I fail to see the appeal in Buffy meets lonelygirl15.

Image Firsts: Hack/Slash (Image, 2010, $1.00)
I maybe should have been pissed when I realized this book featured the same material as Hack/Slash: New Reader Halloween Treat #1, which itself reprinted segments from Euthenized and Gross Anatomy. However, I'm not sure where my copy is, and I enjoyed the material more the second time than the first (there were extraneous spoilery elements that irked me then, plus I'd paid $3.50.) I did finally buy a trade paperback collection, My First Maniac, that I hopefully won't read and wait a year to review, as is often the case...

Lady Death Premiere (Boundless, 2010, Free)
I'm not entirely sure why Avatar felt the need to create a separate publishing entity to release a Lady Death comic. There's still gore, cleavage 'o plenty, and at least one naked ass, which posits it on the welcoming end of immature mature readership. I guess when your company is known for incestuous rape and the devouring of entrails in grisly detail, there might be concern that might overshadow more mainstream product. 

Lady Death is still written by Brian Pulido as a better than average '80s fantasy title with surprisingly good art. Marcelo Mueller bridges the stylistic gap between two of the character's best known artists, Steven Hughes and Ivan Reis, so expect him to be stolen by a major publisher in the relatively near future. Somebody's going to have to draw that Aquaman ongoing series after Brightest Day wraps. The twelve page story establishes a new nemesis and status quo, and is trailed by three pin-ups intended for future covers by Juan Jose Ryp (already drawing a Wolverine book for Marvel,) Richard Ortiz, and Matt Martin (who draws a damned fine athletic backside.) I've never been a big Lady Death supporter, but it does my heart good that she and Vampirella are still headliners at small companies, instead of wasting away in a big company file drawer.

Mata Hari #0 (Radical, 2010, $1.00)
I talk a lot of shit about Radical Publishing, and I do think they ruin Roy Allan Martinez's art by having Drazenka Kimpel paint over it like an old Innovation adaptation, but Mata Hari still comes across well. Obviously, the infamous entertainer/spy presents a rich vein for fiction, and writer Rich Wilkes takes pleasure in weaving contestable fact with fiction. As usual, the book abruptly stops with narrative interuptus, and I'm not won over to such a degree as to pay twenty bucks for the hardcover graphic novel, but I got my buck's worth at the taste.

Lady Death Premiere (Boundless, 2010, Free)
I also talk a lot of shit about Dynamite Entertainment, but their take on Edgar Rice Buroughs' John Carter starts off strong. I've been impressed with what little I've read from Arvid Nelson, and his take on Carter by way of '70s Clint Eastwood sells the badass. Stephen Sadowski, who I always found off-putting on super-heroes, seems far more in his element on a western. After the first dozen pages, both creators stumble in the transition to Mars. Sad's Martian youths look like cloned Ambush Bugs, while Nelson doesn't have much to offer amidst the sparse dialogue and barbarism on display in the back ten. A two page prose piece tries to pick up the slack, but momentum had been lost. Again, this teaser is stronger than average, and I'd be willing to try another, but not at full price.

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