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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Comic Reviews: Week of March 31

DC/Vertigo:


Detective Comics #853: In the final chapter of "Cutter," we learn that the slash-happy killer currently being tracked down by Batwoman is the same nutty dude that Batman caught 10 years ago (as if most readers hadn't figured that out already). Although it was fun for the first few issues, Rucka's mirror-image scripting style was starting to wear on me; however, it did make for a fantastic example of comic book structuring. While others have usually used this mirror-style for stand-alone single issues, Rucka took the opportunity to prolong it over an entire arc, thereby utilizing it to slowly reveal more about the central character and her de facto mentor. I have to say that now I really want to read a Rucka-written Bruce Wayne story. His Batman was great, and to me the Cutter arc firmly establishes Kathy Kane as an important and worthy member of the Bat-family. This issue was also a big one because Kane finally knows (spoiler!) that her cousin is the Flamebird, leading us into what could be a new Bat/Bird team in the same vein as Batman and Robin.



Unknown Soldier #18: I don't know if I've ever read a book as scary as Unknown Soldier. On the one hand, you have the unspeakable horrors being committed against (and by) the Ugandan people. On the other hand, you have Moses Lwanga, our increasingly unstable, completely psychotic protagonist. This double layer of terror is Unknown Soldier's strength: it works on both a large and small scale. As readers, we're constantly asked how an insanely violent man would act if he were dropped in the middle of an insanely violent environment; to nobody's surprise, the answer is never pleasant. Other than Scalped, no other comic book keeps me on the edge of my seat as consistently as "Unknown Soldier." Yet while Scalped does well by branching off to focus on peripheral characters, Unknown Soldier is best when the spotlight is on the Unknown Soldier himself. While many of the early issues were spent building the factual basis of the story, it is just as compelling (if not moreso) when the focus is less on Ugandan history and more on Moses himself.



Marvel:


Punisher #15: As we approach the end of the initial Frankencastle arc, it looks as though Remender is gearing up to win back some of the Punisher fans he lost when Castle went supernatural. Personally, I have a hard time seeing their point of view, as I don't know if I've enjoyed reading Punisher this much since Garth Ennis began his run back in 2000. Just look at that cover. Punisher blowing away a battalion of Nazi Zombies? Sign me up. Then read the first few pages of #15 and then tell me that, undead or not, this isn't spot-on Punisher storytelling. At the very least, Punisher's one-man seige on Castle Hellsgaard is a hell of a lot more entertaining than the other Seige currently happening in the Marvel U. I mean, he shows up riding a dragon. That's pretty awesome. Tony Moore's art is as great as ever here, and the beginning of the Punisher/Hellsgaard showdown is well-paced, revealing parallels between the characters that were hinted at in earlier issues while keeping the bullet-riddled panels full of action.



Fantastic Four #577: "How does one best serve the universal collective?" Apparently, by confusing the hell out of us. I've enjoyed Jonathan Hickman's run on FF so far, but even I'll admit that this one was a bit hard to grasp. But despite being a bit confusing, this is a great issue. Hickman excels at the near-impossible task of making exposition interesting, so even though there were more than a few leftover questions after reading #577, it's still a great issue, and definitely the lynchpin of the current arc. I've never been big on the FF, but I always felt that the team does best when they are dealing with large-scale inter-planetary crises (as is the case here). Dale Eaglesham's art certainly doesn't hurt. Judging by one very familiar FF panel, he's having a great time on the book; and as far as extra-terrestrial settings go, Eaglesham's grand space cruisers and moon-bases make for enviable entries into the tradition of 1970s-styled SciFi art.





MISC:


Terminator 2029 #1 (Dark Horse -- Zack Whedon, Andy MacDonald): While I was excited to see a new Terminator comic, I have yet to read or see a future-set Terminator story that I liked. The worst films (Rise of the Machines and Salvation) relied too heavily on Judgement Day coming to frution, and unfortunately, Terminator 2029 is headed down the same path. Of course, be it in the past, present, or future, there's no denying that this franchise has been beaten to death. So I was really hoping that Terminator 2029 would give me reason to enjoy the Terminator franchise again. Instead, I spent 15 minutes reading a fairly mundane story set before the first film, starring Kyle Reese and a group of survivors on-the-run from the Skynet army of robo-baddies and newly humanoid Terminators. Though there's nothing egregiously terrible about Terminator 2029, it suffers from a fate worse than being bad: this comic is just plain boring. Andy MacDonald's art is good, but not great. Zack Whedon's writing gets us from one panel to the next, but without much to make us want to keep reading. If this is the status quo for the series, Terminator 2029 is set to be an unfortunately dry and forumlaic franchise series.



Logan's Run #2 (Bluewater Comics -- Paul Salamoff, Daniel Gete): When I compare the current Logan's Run comic to the first issue of Terminator 2029, one crucial difference becomes abundantly clear: Logan's Run is a success partly because, unlike the mind-numbingly familiar Terminator franchise, Logan's Run is a science fiction story that hasn't been squeezed dry by over-exposure. Even still, this is one small reason why this series is turning out to be so surprisingly good. The bigger reason is that Paul Salamoff and Daniel Gete are a great team doing great work. I originally picked this up out of curiosity and nostalgia, but somehow they have done the seemingly impossible and turned Logan's Run into a legitimately intriguing comic. It's clear that Salamoff understands the all-important mantra of "less is more." His scripting is clean, compact, and tells us everything we need to know before letting Gete's impeccable art fill in the rest. I'll save the synopsis and just say that if you're a fan of the original Logan's Run novel or film, or if you're just a fan of science fiction in general, I recommend you pick up this book.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the fantastic review of LOGAN'S RUN: LAST DAY#2. I'm so glad that you like the series so far. I look forward to reading your reviews on the upcoming issues. You haven't seen anything yet!!!

    BTW: If you could fix the spelling of my name, I'd appreciate it :)

    Very best,
    Paul j. Salamoff

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Paul,

    Thanks in return for checking out the site. We love Logan's Run, and eagerly await issue three!

    PS: Typeo Fixed! Sorry about that!

    --jsg

    ReplyDelete