Saturday, June 5, 2010

Comics Review - Effects and Atmosphere edition

The Hunter
Adapted by Darwyn Cooke from the Novel by
Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark

The term 'Labour of Love' is an overused one, but there's no doubt of it's applicability to this handsome graphic volume by Darwyn Cooke.

Long time fans will remember Cooke from the rocket age Elseworlds Justice League series The New Frontier. He also led DC's recent rebirth of The Spirit (And left it in a mysterious break with DC.) and is the artist responsible for Catwoman's current popular costume model sheet with its Modesty Blaise lines and mod cats-eyes goggles.

His snappy rat pack cool style is perfect for the 60's hard-boiled tough guy motifs of the classic Parker series, this is one to get in the slickly beautiful hardcover edition and I await the next book in Cooke's planned series of Parker adaptions with keen anticipation.

by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred

Stylized and fun, Roberson and Allred continue to document the afterlife of Gwen, just your average punky pretty grave digger, who seems perfectly long as she chows down on the occasional human brain, otherwise she goes all drippy and shambling like the classic zombie.

Unfortunately eating brains means eating memories and Gwen finds herself compelled to right wrongs and complete the unfinished business of the dead people she devours.

Along with her ghostly plucky friend Ellie who has been rocking the go go boots since she died and a growing cast of monsters and monster hunters, izombie should be a big hit with the black eyeshadow and Nightmare Before Christmas backpacks crowd once they outgrow Emily the Strange and start looking for something with more bite than Twilight.

And you can almost feel the set up for a cable channel original series. Enthusiasm and ambition pour out of every pore of izombie.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2
by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving

At the end of Final Crisis Batman appears to have been killed by the searing eye beams of Darkseid after administering the fatal blow to the evil New God. In fact Darkseid's 'Omega Effect' beams blast Batman into the past and he's been hopping forward ever since, touching down in history at various points over centuries. Issue one was all about cavemen and the origin of Vandal savage. In issue two Bruce Wayne leaps forward thousands of years to 17th century Puritan Gotham.

Its perfect for artist Frazer Irving who's dimly luminescent Klarion the Witchboy was one of the high-points of Morrison's 7 Soldiers of Victory experiment. Irving's art is produced one hundred percent digitally, even the initial sketches directly drawn on tablet by a stylus. The result is a lushly evocative painterly style that is a pleasure to look at.

And the writing is Morrison. So uniformly excellent.


Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #3
by J.T. Krul and Geraldo Borges...

...on the other hand is one big reeking pile of poo.

Ugly, crude, mean-spirited and with the understanding of the subtleties of human nature, grief, loss and addiction of ham-fisted drooling sadists.

All the worst, most stale and limited approaches to adult drama and characterization of post 80's grim and gritty comics are on display - as demonstrated by torturing, maiming and dragging a character as low as possible as a sign of how 'sophisticated' the creators are.

DC seems to be trying to have their cake and eat it too by proclaiming a new brightest day of lighter more sunny superhero fare but still getting to portray their heroes as grieving amputees whipping the mother of their dead child with an electrical cord while remembering how great the sex with her was.

Piece. Of. Shit.

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