Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quick Capsule Chronic Reviews!

Hello, kids! Ryan Lee is headed to the cabin tomorrow, and shant be back until late Sunday. So there won't be the usual stream of blog posts this week, which is fine. Rather than go in-depth with one book and then just disappear, I thought it would be better to run through everything I picked up this week in tiny bite-size bursts.

It's sort of like Twittering, only without being quite so goddamn LAME.

Kodiak 1 Shot
IDW Comics

This is written by Joe Hill of Locke & Key fame. I'll call it a cute little "How I Met Your Mother" story, only with more hulking violent bears and less Neil Patrick Harris.

It's not a bad story, although I would say the dialogue is about three steps down from what I read in "Welcome to Lovecraft". I enjoyed the foreground art very much, but couldn't help but notice the very jarring lack of any background detail. Often there are pages go by, and nothing behind the faces but a weird shade of blue.

With a little punching up, this script would have made an adorable episode of "Tales From the Crypt." It is NOT worth $4.

Hellblazer # 271
Vertigo/DC Comics

Johnny C is gettin' married. Yup. Unfortunately for his fiancee, Epiphany Greaves. Because while he's busy consulting a stuttering, hair dressing oracle, she's tied up in Meta with Shade, who means to turn her into Kathy.

Hellblazer works best when John is tottering on that fine wire between acts of semi-nobility and dastardly roguishness. Milligan understands this, and he's turning in a very fine run. Good place to jump on? Probably not. Good place for Hellblazer fans to be? Damn skippy.

Hack Slash: My First Maniac # 4/4
Image Comics

If I wasn't before, and I think I was, I'm officially in love with Cassie Hack. You can go back twenty years, and it's hard to think of even six comic book characters introduced that have any cultural relevance. I'm here to declare that Cassie is one of them.

This is slated to become an animated film, I hear. It should make a fine one. The whole point of the arc was to guide us through a young woman's transformation from a typical "troubled girl" to a fugitive, solitary, bulwark against the darkness. Partly for personal vengeance. Partly because a piece of her feels less vulnerable challenging monsters than opening herself up to emotional loss.

It could easily be trite and horrifying. Seeley has a good habit of recognizing the cliched pitfalls and avoiding them. Case in point: Sarah's fate. Always funny, always entertaining, and this particular arc succeeded without the book's strongest element - Cassie's relationship with Vlad. Very strong.

Birds of Prey # 5
DC Comics

The weakest of the issues so far, and still better than 88.4% of what's out there. A nice little moment between Savant and Creote....even Ryan the Robot has to appreciate that.

The Huntress is at her bad ass best, and the pacing certainly picked up. Maybe too much. The twist at the end feels very abrupt. If we get a little more detail in # 6, all is forgiven, but the end here is quite a gear shift.

The art is very uneven, and sometimes poor. Obviously part of the problem is that there were two pencillers on the book. One of them, either Alvin Lee or Adriana Melo, has decided to make the Birds look like puppets from Team America: World Police. Probably not a good idea. Just like coating your balls in honey and then laying next to fire ant hill is probably not a good idea.

None of this is deal-breaking stuff, by the way. I'm on the Birds as long as Gail Simone is.

X-Factor # 209
Marvel Comics

The Hela mystery takes a bit of a breather so that the Factor can just go nuts in Las Vegas. I'm sure some people out there will feel cheated, because they're plot people, and I suppose that's valid.

I'm a character guy. That's why I read this book. And X-Factor # 209 is just packed to the gills with splendid character moments. Shatterstar is just a goofy gay pirate. Guido is still on fire with the gay Shatterstar material. Jamie looks ready to just start guzzling Maalox, and nobody is yet sure what to think about adult Layla, Theresa, or the return of Rahne.

There's a surprise guest appearance by a really sexy Jane Foster, and for me, there were multiple laugh-out-loud moments. For the layman, nothing "happens" until the last page or two. For me, it was all gold. Peter David for the win, every time.

Morning Glories # 2
Image Comics

OK. If you're not reading this comic, you need to start. I have to be a little careful now, because I'm going to start sounding like a crazy born again or a zombified Avatar cultist.

If you like comics, you need to be reading this. It so weird, in all the most delightful ways.

Honestly, you could skip all the plot elements and just listen to these kids talk to each other. That would be a sustainable comic book. You throw in the those fresh, head-scratching plot points, you got yourself a legend in the making.

Why is the Academy singling out Casey? You got me. But I'll tell you this - Nick Spencer knows. How is the last page even possible? I don't know. But Nick Spencer does. He tossed in another John Hughes reference and a super deep Star Wars reference for free.

You know, there is so much going wrong for comics right now. Just look at the August sales charts, and bring a box of Kleenex, because it is goddamn depressing. But don't tell me that the medium is dead, or that the problem is on the creative end. Secret Six, Morning Glories, Scarlet...comics as a storytelling vehicle is a vibrant, living, glorious thing. This is why Wednesday is still Christmas every week!

- Ryan


Aleksandre said...

No more dragon guard ryan ?

Chronic Insomnia said...

I'm still on Dragon Guard. I'm moving more and more toward DCB Service and their insane discounts. On a $5.99 book, I've decided I can't pay retail. So it's on the way, but I didn't have it in hand to review it this week...

Anonymous said...

Morning Glories? I like the Money Pit, that is my response to that comic.


Chronic Insomnia said...

Morning Glories? It insists upon itself.