Tuesday, September 28, 2004


One danger in deciding that I would not post during the weekend is that on those occasions when I get snowed under at work for a couple of days, all of a sudden its been 5 days since I’ve posted, and I’m at the bottom of the Updates page. Oh well. I need to catch up on TV posting, but I guess I’ll start with a few comics reviews of this weeks stuff.

SLEEPER SEASON TWO #4: As usual, a good issue without exciting me quite enough to say anything of substance. I have a friend in the workplace that will read and enjoy certain comics that I lend them. They loved Goldfish and the first four issues of Caper, and really dug the CSI and Shield comics from IDW. But I have had a bit of trouble trying to broaden their interests, or even finding the edge of what they like. I wasn’t totally surprised that Watchmen went over like a Lead Zeppelin, but I was surprised that the reception to Jinx was so cold. They have basically rejected the idea of superhero comics as a viable read. Sleeper is one of those titles that I somehow wish could have avoided being a superhero comic, because I think that they might like it if it weren’t for the “powers.”

TOM STRONG #28: Nice self-contained issue, and the best in a while. Probably the best non Moore issues, in fact (and better than some of Moore’s efforts of late). The real spark of life here was the melee with figures from famous paintings (though “the scream” didn’t help out much), but the actual story was simple and touching, if not entirely original. This title started out really, well, strong, with the interesting first few issues followed by the 4 issue Saveen arc (did it win the Eisner for best serialized story? Can’t remember – it was quite good), but has seemed to be treading a lot of water for a long time (the problem began for me with the first Terra Occulta arc – issues 11-2?). Signs of life occasionally appear, but for the most part my favorite Tom Strong appearances since the first year have been in Promethia. Terrific Tales, for me, has been an almost complete loss. Again, once Moore leaves ABC, and my thoughts congeal, maybe I’ll be able to face up to writing a “what went wrong” piece on ABC.

ELRIC MAKING OF A SORCERER #1: It’s always nice to see new ambitious work from Simonson, and Moorcock’s Elric is always worth a look (I recently reread the Marvel Graphic Novel #2, and it was even better than I remembered it being). This story, though, is a bit abrupt in it’s storytelling method (i.e. it’s choppy, and grinds its gears while shifting), and is kind of hard to follow if you don’t know most of the Elric story (I’ve read a few books and GN’s, but don’t know the full story by any means, and I could follow it only with extreme effort). Also, the 2nd part has only just been solicited, meaning waiting for the end of this 4 issue series may take a while. Still, it was pretty, and built up a head of steam during the brief periods of fluid narrative between the gear grinding.

VENOM VS CARNAGE #3: How is this art done? Is this standard pen and ink art colored with some pseudo 3-D methodology (sort of the evil opposite of cell shading), or is this simply an unusual computer “painting” method? The story’s not too bad, really (remember – I buy this because my wife likes venom), but this is definitely the “evil” (clock punching) Peter Milligan, and I don’t think this will change anyone’s life.

UNCANNY X-MEN #449: All it takes is one non-Alan Davis issue to make abundantly clear that I’m only buying this title for the Davis/Farmer team. That said, the fill in artist is not that bad, but the inanity of what’s going on in this title finally has really penetrated.

AVANGERS #502: Ugh!

EX MACHINA #4: This is a case of me clearly seeing the issues that some online critics have with this title, but simply not having any of said issues myself. I know, intellectually, that the scene between the artist and the intern from the mayor’s office is implausible (the intern seems to have had the perfect speech prepared, and the artist reacts on cue), but it felt fine and didn’t crack my suspension of disbelief when I read it. I’m not sure that my gut believes the twist at the end, but we don’t really don’t know if it’s true or not yet, so I’m in wait and see mode. Incidentally, I may be the last person in the entire comic reading public to get the “Ex” part of the joke in the book’s title. I understood the “Machina” part in context, but just noticed that since he’s not the Great Machine any more, that the mayor is now…Ex Machina. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

VENOM #18: This is a series I haven’t enjoyed that much because it doesn’t make sense to me moth to month. I suspect that it would read a lot better if read together, but I don’t know if I’m up to try. It seems like there is some time travel thing that will explain things, but I can’t figure it out with the little they give me to go on every 30 days.

BLACK WIDOW #1: Very disappointed (most depressing purchase of the week). Bill’s art was so-so, which makes it better than 90% of everything else, but the story was unpleasantly didactic (to the point of being almost preachy) and lacked the sense that it’s going somewhere. The Black Widow (exotic spy) is the wrong place to prattle about female victemization, which is most of what I retained after reading it. The truckers win the “most clichéd characters of the month” award.

TEEN TITANS #16: Last issue I will buy. This is supposed to make you WANT to buy the Titans/Legion crossover?

CONAN #8: Interesting “Origin” story (something I didn’t expect them to do at this point) with change of pace but nice art by Greg Ruth (of Freaks in the Heartland fame).

That’s enough for now – tomorrow, I should take a look at Veronica Mars, and/or give a status report on this TV season.


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