6.27.07 Reviews

The Immortal Iron Fist #6 (Marvel): Channeling my inner Hannibal Tabu here... Russ Heath? Here's a little story about that: no. *Not* a welcome addition to the art stable at all. Completely *didn't* enjoy his representaton of the flashback sequences one bit. It was simply the wrong tone. Aja's thread-bare and lean style is the prime driver and attraction on the art front, even with his little quirks (notice how even Cage and the new Heroes For Hire all have the weird elongated torso). Cage and said Heroes lose Jeryn in the middle of the melee? Hello, rookie mistake! This remains one of the best titles out there from Marvel right now, with the perfect balance of retro hip Kung Fu awesomeness and historical significance building toward epic proportions. Less the Russ Heath bits, of course. Heh. Grade A-.

Sinestro Corps Special #1 (DC): It begins with a nice summary of Sinestro's history and motivations amid his current plight, brings in all 4 Lanterns from Earth (which makes the Corps still feel a little Earth-centric doesn't it?), and nicely captures the feeling that something big is building. There was a small reveal here about the secret of the 52. The Guardians are discussing it and indicate that not only are there 52 parallel Earths, but there are also 52 parallel universes. That's kinda' a big deal, no? Wouldn't that seem to indicate that there are then 2,704 (52x52) individual possibilities? Sheesh, talk about a multiverse. Anyway, I like how Johns was able to weave this story around existing GL mythology with the "Blackest Night" prophecy, though it does smack a bit of Episode 1/Anakin's emergence. There seemed to be a bunch of disparate little bits here than were woven together pretty skillfully, if unevenly. Hal as outcast Earther? Cool. Guy with some tender moments with Kyle? Umm, no. And Ethan Van Sciver's art makes Kyle look like some awful 90's Image rendition of Bruce Wayne, but then bounces back with some cool touches like Guy's green jacket being ripped off to reveal the black tunic underneath, which just struck me as kinda' neat-o. Overall, pretty entertaining though, with a sneak attack, dozens of GL's killed, the implied tragedy of dozens of rings frantically seeking out new owners, and Sinestro getting the best and most sinister line: "Power Rings won't allow you to kill. A Green Lantern is an empty threat." Sinestro, a badass in his own right, has now assembled an army of disgruntled ring bearers, the Ion power, Parallax, Superboy Prime, Cyborg Superman, *and* the Anti-Monitor, in preparation for one hell of a showdown. Grade B.

Hellboy: Darkness Calls #3 (Dark Horse): Fegredo's art hits a nice peak here with the warrior skeleton army and Mignola's writing is as strong as usual, but... even that combined pairing can't escape the vortex of badness swirling around this week. Maybe it's put me in a bad mood, but I keep asking myself if I need to buy single issues and could get by on trades alone. Am I buying Hellboy out of habit? Is it time for Mignola to wrap up the main Hellboy saga already? I mean, how many times are we going to see the Baba Yaga again? Blasphemy! I know. But, I'm certainly enjoying the BPRD team dynamics much more, their status as agents of a larger organization pushes my buttons more than the mysterious loner, brawler type. Maybe this is the last HB mini I buy in singles(?). It's quite good in terms of execution, but just not as engaging to me as I feel it needs to be to warrant continued financial support. Grade B.

The Nightly News #6 (Image): I basically lost track of who's who, what their motivations are, all the different layers of manipulation, and why the ultimate outcome is important. There are some rough jumps in time, I have no recollection of what happened in #5, thus no way of knowing if there is anything dangling or properly resolved here. It all adds up to a disappointing denoument; it's just people talking at me. But, if The Nightly News can be considered a noble failure, the most important element of that is that it was an interesting experiment. I'm actually very excited to check out Hickman's new projects in the pipe, as he's suddenly become an Image darling with his hip graphic design-y sensibility. Giving the benefit of the doubt, true innovators are rarely understood and appreciated at first glance. Anxiously awaiting Pax Romana and Red Mass For Mars. Grade B-.

X-Men #200 (Marvel): The narrative starts with a pretty disjointed feeling, but then settles in nicely to a more linear tale about a coordinated attack against the various X-Squads. The Ramos/Bachalo art duo make for a highly stylized approach which ranges from nice to odd. Sometimes the hard angular lines create disproportion, such as with Mystique. Notice how her waist is as thin as her neck, both of which are smaller than her head. That's just... odd. Carey gets some points for lines like "Enjoy damaging your meningeal wall and leeching your natural electrolytes," certainly a case against alcohol consumption if I ever heard one. This book feels hefty enough, even with the price tag, though it probably is telegraphing its moves with Wolverine being able to "heal" Rogue. It's ok enough, but not quite good enough for me to envision following a 17 part crossover into a bunch of titles I don't normally pick up. Oh, and why doesn't Sunfire (personal fave) on the cover of the book match up looks-wise to anything in the story on pinup? Editorial assist, please. Grade B-.

Silent War #6 (Marvel): Speaking of dastardly disappointing denouments... what the hell happened here? This title was burning along nicely as one of the strongest in the Marvel stable, a gripping and original read with innovative art, then just... stopped. Maximus' ascension was chronicled well on the writing front and superbly by Frazer Irving's art, and just when it starts to get fascinating with the destruction of the moon-based Attilan, it literally ends in the middle of a conversation between Black Bolt and Luna with a blank page. No information, no "the end," no "continued in ___," really resolving nothing that had been set in motion. It's a bizarrely unappealing way to "end" what was otherwise a strong mini-series. Grade C.

X-Factor #20 (Marvel): Continuing the week of disappointment, we have Khoi Pham on art chores with another *ugh* performance. There's a panel with Quicksilver that sums up that sentiment nicely with its odd perspective that manages to make Pietro look like a fat jawed yokel, while simultaneously appearing flat with no depth. It takes a rare anti-talent to be this off-putting. Rahne comes off looking like a steroid enhanced cat in need of shearing, appearing simply awful in feral form. The art is is like a degraded copy of a copy of a copy over time; it's hardly noticeable until you compare this issue to the skill of earlier issues by Ryan Sook and see just how far the quality has dropped. Not even Peter David's scripts may save this one as it offically enters the pool of consideration for titles to drop altogether(!). Rictor manages to somehow pull the Terrigen shit outta' Pietro while the combined might of The Inhumans couldn't(?). When did Quicksilver gain the ability to pull versions of himself outta' the future? Is this Marvel's answer to The Speed Force? So confused and just don't care. Grade C-.


6.20.07 Reviews - Part 2

Wasteland #10 (Oni Press): I've been studying the Eisner Nominations this year pretty hard... and Wasteland would be my vote for Best New Series, I was disappointed to see it absent from the list of nominees in any category. Looking specifically at that category, I see The Lone Ranger and Criminal, both worthy contenders and books I enjoy, but Wasteland tops them for me. This issue we get a ton of clues revealed, more info about A-REE-YASS-I, the mysterious symbol in its original form, flashback images from pre-Big Wet(?) of another time or place, and the continued crisp social commentary the book is becoming known for. Like an evil, drug-dealing Dickensian headmaster, Johnston is doling out small portions of crack laced story porridge here... and I just want a little bit more! Just one more taste, Sir. Please! I beg of you! Mitten stretches himself on the artistic front and provides some surreal looking art that makes me think of David Mack or JH Williams III and their approach to innovative and experimental page layouts. These creators are craftsmen who are pushing themselves to the peak of their game. The result is the delivery of a modern epic rife with social commentary and entertainment that could serve as a primer on how to successfully launch a new series. Grade A.

Ex Machina #29 (DC/Wildstorm): Ex Machina is really reading like all middle lately and is on the short list for conversion to (gasp!) "wait for the trade" reading. Each issue seems to feel like I'm listening in on the middle third of a conversation, isn't really in context, and feels much better and cohesive when I get the entire piece in one sitting. Sure, it's still fun, excellently rendered, etc., but here we are the next day after I read it and I can't really recall what exactly occurred. Something cool about the weird spaceman from an alternate reality/timeline(?). Ordinarily, I do not advocate "wait for the trade." It's basically counter to my entire philosophy of supporting books and creators you like and voting with your wallet in the marketplace. However... it's not as if Vaughan is an upstart creator, he has a loyal fan following that should carry him regardless of my practices. I'm torn on what to do. What do you think? Is this a slippery slope I'm on? Grade B+.

I also picked up;

Maxwell Strangewell (Dark Horse): I don't know much about creators the Fillbach Brothers, but this certainly passed the casual flip test with the Phil Hester/Mike Mignola/Darwyn Cooke inspired art, and nearly 400 pages (380 was it?) for slightly under $20 is a freakin' bargain.


6.20.07 Reviews - Part 1

The Brave & The Bold #4 (DC): Once again, there's a 1960's Silver Age, manic, wacky fun to this book. It takes some seemingly outlandish, but entertaining and well delivered, plot devices like the haruspex and puts our heroes in uncomfortable situations that require old fashioned teamwork. It all makes for some cool moments and likable charm. Love how Blue Beetle is left hanging thinking he's done the impossible! We get a real two-fer here with distinct tales and character team-ups, but they're all related in the macro plot running across the series to date. The sexual barbs and banter between Lobo and Supergirl are priceless as they argue like an old married couple. They make for one of the unlikeliest, but most entertaining, team-ups ever. They're quippy, but not offensive, well-played dialogue captures the charm of the characters (especially Lobo) that few writers can. Check out how he's spinning brodies on Destiny's garden! Check out Kara's innocence with "EAAAUGGGHH! ...never... be... clean!" or "La-la-la... not listening!" Really a bold move to include Destiny of the Endless here, with a continued motif that runs a few pages with other oblique references to his siblings. This title is a good example of a somewhat aloof and independent book from the 52 Infinite Identity Crisis Countdown bullshit going on right now, yet is still firmly entrenched in a DCU/Vertigo that many of us know, love, and quite frankly, miss. It's a wonderful example of character development and organic, plot driven action vs. event driven, crying wolf situational spectacles with no substance. This is how you make comics chock full of fun and solid characterization, gang. This is simply great comics. Grade A+.

Justice League of America #10 (DC): Anticlimactic and nonsensical. If there's two words that can sum up the conclusion to the "Lightning Saga" involving the Legion of Superheroes, JSA, and JLA, them's the ones. So yeah, umm... the story is that a handful of Legionnaires come back in time and work some random 31st century hocus pocus and suddenly Wally West appears a few issues later. And it plays about as exciting as I just typed it. There's no cohesive thought to follow here, it all feels sort of like arbitrary scene collages flailing around trying to look important. The entire "surprise" is a telegraphed move anyway knowing about the leaked shuck and jive move that DC did with restarting the Flash book without Impulse/Bart. So yeah, basically "stuff" happens, but there's no explanation as to why, how, or its importance, which basically erodes any gravitas this would have had. The art lays on the page pretty lifeless and stiff, nothing kinetic about it, notice how Roy and Wally look exactly the same, with no variation in facial features. And what happened to the trio of villains previously revealed, then never followed up on? Dangling plot threads, anyone? Grade C-.

Checkmate #15 (DC): It's really bothersome that this is supposedly a crossover with The Outsiders, but there's habitually no reference to it on the cover, much less a "previously in" (the other book I didn't read) blurb. It makes for some very confusing reading when picking up just one book. Lines like "baseline vitals and data has been recorded for each subject as I require?" don't help. So that should read, "baseline vitals *HAVE* been recorded..." Come on, this is basic noun/verb agreement, people. Two different things makes the subject plural, which means you use "have," not "has." I guess someone was absent the day they taught grammar in 4th grade. There's also a "hole in the hull" moment, which so obviously doesn't read well that it's just painful to endure, evidence of sloppy writing, editing, or both. Top off with some crap art (check out Nightwing in his cell for awkward, stiff, and just plain ugly poses, or the hair dots on Owen and scruff on Dick for even more ickiness) and that sucking sound you hear is my enthusiasm for this title being drained away. There's a lot of chatter here about Egg Foo Dumb (yes, I know that's not his name), the Chinese heroes from 52 (like anyone cares), and whoever's in the spiffy plane (no idea) tailing the Pequod, and it's all boring as hell and overpowers any of the interesting bits, like Sasha's anatomy, Waller's deception, and Batman's arrival. Grade C-.


6.13.07 Reviews

World War Hulk #1 (Marvel): Wasn't Professor X part of the whole secret Illuminati cabal that banished Hulk to space? How come no mention of him here? There are X-Men crossover books with this Hulk event, but his name and image are mysteriously absent. I like how Pak brings a cinematic disaster flic feel, ala Independence Day, to this; nice framing for a mini-series. Also appreciated how the Planet Hulk story was summarized nicely for those who didn't read it. How the hell does he defeat Black Bolt? Are we to just assume that he's never been this mad/strong, and he's at a new peak of power? The defeat is handled entirely off panel! I do like seeing Hulk in command of his own little force. Dr. Strange's astral projection, hrmm... isn't he bleeding to death right now over in New Avengers since he was stabbed by Elektra? Some nice ties to the most recent Sentry mini-series with his relationship to Hulk. Romita Jr.'s art is as strong as ever, beautiful facial expressions, and great overall panel flow. Where the heck did Tony get that Celestial-y looking suit? All in all, some engaging action, a slugfest that has been properly intro'd and framed, some concern exhibited over the real world inhabitants, and most importantly, Tony actually owning his actions - right or wrong, it's a nice way humanize him for a change. The "warp core" reference smacks a bit overtly of Jean-Luc Picard and the Star Trek-verse. Not a big Thor fan, but Straczynski and Coipel just might be enough to get me buying it ('specially Olivier Coipel on pencils). Marvel always seem to go for the 9/11 imagery these days, as evidenced by the silo'd collapse of Sentry Tower. As you see, I have quite a few little quibbles, but overall this was actually really entertaining if you can get past them. Grade B+.

BPRD: Garden of Souls #4 (Dark Horse): Another doomsday apocalypse scenario is revealed to be in progess, Abe learns more about his own origin and that of the mysterious sanctuary he was drawn to, and reacts predictably opposed to the world tampering and those trying to play God (conjuring up images of his own experiences porting souls into new corporeal forms). This all converges with Captain Daimio's (my new fave BPRD member!) investigation. Solid as usual. Grade B+.

Stormwatch: PHD #8 (DC/Wildstorm): Gage gives us a cool cross-training motif that infuses old characters with new. And yes, I finally found something to bitch about with this book! Andy Smith's art is just a little too generic, not the distinct tone of Mahnke's usual lines, which ultimately brings down the charm factor significantly. Some nice house ads for Green Arrow: Year One, The Programme from Peter Milligan and CP Smith. Umm, so Jackson King is laying on the ground with a bullet hole in the head, oozing deep dark rich red blood, generally a sign that you're D-E-A-D. Umm, putting 02 on him and doing chest compressions won't really help all that much. That silliness aside, this could be the set up for a nice little closed room murder, as Stormwatch: Prime and Stormwatch: PHD reps are vying for control of the crime scene. Grade B-.

New Avengers #31 (Marvel): All of the post-Civil War New Avengers issues have been pretty solid... (wait for it)... until now. It's unfortunate that just as I thought it was hitting its stride, it loses me. The dialogue goes a little something like this: "Wow. There are many ninjas. Oh. We are making jokes. Hey. I am going to light you on fire now." In its quest to be light or funny or action-y... or something, it comes off stiff as hell and just pushed me right out. Yu's art (which I've been praising) now looks rushed in spots, with skimpy backgrounds and figures that lack definition, more representational than overly detailed. I feel like this fight has been aflutter for about 3 issues now and I can't remember why or what the point is or why I'm supposed to care all that much. Isn't it... ahem, *strange* that Dr. Strange asks Danny if he speaks Japanese? Umm, hello, Logan does, he was just doing it 3 pages earlier, and he's standing right next to you. Sorry, but I'm missing the significance of Skrull(?) Elektra, is this the "shocking last page revelation" that was promised? Wouldn't Wolverine have smelled the differene between Elektra and a Skrull? Yeah, umm, doesn't make sense, not too shocking, and just for the record - it's not the last page. The last page has some minimalist banter between Wong and Jess with Luke and Jess' baby showing green eyes. To quote Danny: "What does this mean?" All in all, a sloppy, snoozy, head-scratchin' mess. Grade C+.

I also picked up;

The Black Diamond Detective Agency (First Second): Annnnnd my LCS finally delivers a week late. Looking forward to chugging through this after the FCBD offering.

Conan: Volume 4: The Hall of the Dead & Other Stories (Dark Horse): Annnnnd my LCS finally delivers *two* weeks late. Looking forward to reading (the bulk of) this for the first time since I started skipping single issues during this run.

Warren Ellis Is Back In Black

Black Summer #0 (Avatar Press): Ok, he never really went anywhere. But, I say "back" because I think Warren Ellis revisits here what he does best - and it's not the subject matter, it's the process he imposes onto the subject matter. He knows that you can get gripping science fiction by asking a series of plausible "what if?" type questions. By asking these logical questions, he's exposing how the superhero mindset is extremely subjective. We trust them to do "what's right." But, what's right? Doesn't everyone's definition differ? If they're supposed to fight evil, where does that stop? Does it? If you have an all powerful superhero figure... and you make him aware of evil... and the expectation is he will vanquish evil... are we supposed to flinch away from the inevitable outcome no matter where that leads? Wouldn't that be hypocritical of us? Ellis takes this to a logical conclusion here by placing the evil and corruption squarely inside the US Government, with its most prominent figure, POTUS - The President of the United States. By doing so, he makes the traditional superhero paradigm seem quite silly by comparison. Black Summer actually ends up being much more realistic than any of the relatively bound-by-conventional-wisdom offerings of the Big 2. Black Summer isn't necessarily shocking in the statements it makes (essentially that Bush lied to get us into Iraq as a staging point for Middle East conquest, elections were rigged, the American public largely turned a deaf ear to it all since they felt no method to air their grievances given the closed process, etc.). Yeah, all that's basically "true" to anyone whose been paying attention and has even a mild liberal, left wing streak in them. His true innovation here is that he then applies the superhero paradigm on top of that. If that was the backdrop, what would an all powerful Superman/Batman/Mister Terrific hybrid (and his extended associates) do about that? What would the government do in response to their initial actions? That would be fucking scary as hell. And I think it might look exactly like this issue looks so far. Black Summer proclaims "Yes, I will burn this village in order to save it." I can't wait to see what happens next. Throw in Juan Jose Ryp's art, which is perfectly suited to the task. Here it boasts some Frank Quitely influence in the level of detail and thin line facial expressions, looking brilliant in color. And all for .99 cents! This is the deal of the decade. Whether you're even a casual superhero fan amid the hoi polloi who just wants some big bang spectacle, or if you want a little more high-brow commentary and consider yourself part of the comic book congnoscenti, this is most definitely for you. Grade A+.


6.06.07 Reviews

Scalped #6 (DC/Vertigo): Simply put, Scalped is properly positioned to inherit the mantle of Vertigo Flagship Book once things like Y: The Last Man and Fables ultimately wrap up. It's definitely on par with 100 Bullets, Preacher, and the like in terms of sweeping scope, intensity, social commentary, and quality of execution. Jump on board now so you can say you were there when it all started! Jason Aaron exhibits a mastery of language cadence here with lines that drip fluidity like, "How you're more than just some two-bit, trailer trash billy jack raised on gutmeat and government cheese." We're being given an absolutely brilliant portrayal of the warped dynamics that occur in a closed society. The art remains a tad confusing and murky at times, particularly in some isolated action sequences, but is otherwise solid, with a consistent and unique style. Aaron throws in a mysterious figure dropping cryptic knowledge, manages to advance the superstory, all while stringing us along with cliffhanger-y endings that make us beg for more. Also enjoyed a slew of ads for new Vertigo books like Lapham's Silverfish, the hip-hop infused Sentences, and Faker by Mike Carey and Jock. Grade A.

The Lone Ranger #6 (Dynamite Entertainment): Brett Matthews and company offer up a touching family moment here as they continue to lay the ground work for the reimaging of the Lone Ranger origin. I love how they incorporate familiar elements in a completely organic way - the horse, the guns, the term for friend, etc. It's all slowly building and fun to see coalesce into something mythic. Cariello's already strong art is really improving over time and starting to pick up collaborator Cassaday's influence. There are certain panels with the Ranger's face, that boast a level of fine detail very reminiscent, and near indistinguishable, from Cassaday's own pencils. I do appreciate that LR is fallible here, not an uber-competent hero, he's still learning. I know I always complain that this reads incredibly fast, but it still rings true. Not sure if it's the effective panel to panel transitions or the sparse, stripped down dialogue, but as soon as I crack it open, it's as if I'm turning to the last page. Make no mistake, I enjoy every second it it, but it's just that, it feels like fleeting seconds. Oh, and I'm *still* waitin' on that collected edition hardcover. Whadda' y'all reckon's the dadgum hold up on that thar fella? Grade A.

Fear Agent: The Last Goodbye #1 (Dark Horse): It appears that Fear Agent is now meant to function as a series of mini-series(?). It seems that we pick up right where the last issue of the Volume 2 TPB left off. Were we ever told this was the plan with the move to Dark Horse? I just don't recall. Anyway, aside from some political messaging that's a little too overt (not that I disagree with it, but still...), it just feels like it's coming straight from the author, and is not the characters speaking. This issue pulls off an odd little dance that weaves in some scenes from the last issue, simultaneously reprinting and integrating the old series from the old publisher with the new series from the new publisher, all the while being an effort at a flashback arc. Got that? Some obvious influences from sci-fi pop culture (War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Independence Day, etc.), but overall pretty entertaining. Beautiful art and colors from Tony Moore and Lee Loughridge. Grade B+.

Uncanny X-Men #487 (Marvel): The opening scene, while meant to be full of intrigue, was not that great for me since I've never held much interest for the Morlocks. Brubaker has definitely captured the voices of most of the characters and downright nails a regretful tone, filled with a sense of duty, between Nightcrawler and Xavier, as they discuss Havok and the continuing Sh'iar rebellion. Nice little recurring cameo set up for Storm-Queen of Wakanda-Fantastic Four Member, and X-Man. Larroca's pencils are nice, with some effective dark inking. This is a well done set up for the next arc, but that arc kinda' feels like filler material that could have been done at any time (I mean, Caliban? Really?), and is just buying us time until X-Men #200, the Endangered Species special(s), and whatever they're cooking up for Uncanny #500. Grade B.

I also picked up;

Exit Wounds (Drawn & Quarterly): Award winning writer/arist Rutu Modan's new book, serving as further evidence of the strong and growing Israeli (female) comics scene.

Like The Dark Knight, My LCS Strikes Again

That's Local Comics Shop, for anyone unfamiliar with the acronym. Still having some random, repetitive problems with mine. In the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, "LUU-CYY! WHA HOPPEN?!"

Remember a couple weeks ago when I had my little encounter over the latest ish of Iron Fist? Well, that retailer *just this week* finally got copies in. Yes, that's four weeks later, or a month late. Although I was kinda' pleased to see that they finally did get a healthy stack of copies in, there was no explanation to regular customers why they didn't have them in the first place, that they intended to order more, when they would arrive, or when they finally *did* arrive... they simply got silently folded into the mix and put up on the shelf with this week's new books. I smiled to myself and was glad I'd bought it elsewhere. Certainly don't want to reward those screwball practices and disservice w/o communication.

Last week, I had a similar little chat over Volume 4 of the Conan Hardcovers from Dark Horse. Didn't see it on the shelf, but had the same basic convo. Q: Yo, did Volume 4 of the Conan Hardcover come out today? A: Umm, I don't know. Q: It was on Diamond's Shipping List though(?). A: Yeah, we didn't get it. Q: Yes, I can see that. But it came out? A: (Consults Shipping List Printout) Yeah, it did. But we didn't order it. Ok, well that last bit of info is new, right? Instead of the perplexingly nonsensical circular logic I got last time of "if you don't see it on the shelf it means we don't have it because it didn't come out because you don't see it on the shelf," I got something meaningful with the we didn't order it part. And I'm thinking, you didn't order it? Why the fuck not? You have the first three Conan Hardcovers sitting on your shelf over there. I deliberately stopped buying the single issues so I could convert to hardcovers and that's precisely the moment you decide not to order it? This, a major property, from (arguably) the third largest publisher - and you just randomly didn't order it with no reason why. That makes oh-so-much sense to me. Awesome.

To top things off this week, I went in looking for the new Warren Ellis book Black Summer #0, based on an interesting review over at Comix Experience. And, you guessed it, my LCS did not order this book either. A new #0 issue. A new Warren Ellis #0 issue. A new Warren Ellis #0 issue about superheroes. A new Warren Ellis #0 issue about superheroes with a reported cynical, political bent. A new Warren Ellis #0 issue about superheroes with a reported cynical, political bent - for only 99 cents! You're guaranteed to sell a pile! Warren Ellis, arguably one of the best/hottest writers in the last few years, with a loyal fan following on a book that is purported to be Authority-esque in nature. What the fuck? Did you decide that you don't like making money?

And it didn't stop there; it was apparenly two-fer follies this week. The Warren Ellis debacle wasn't the only mystery ordering gooch to behold. You know what else was on the Diamond Shipping List this week? Eddie Campbell's new book: The Black Diamond Detective Agency. Eddie Campbell, friend and occasional collaborator to Alan Moore. Arguably one of the finest writer/artist self-contained dynamic creator duos out there. Critically acclaimed Eddie Campbell, whose teaser for The Black Diamond Detective Agency was one of the books to appear during Free Comic Book Day. For fuck's sake, I *got* the damn Free Book from this very LCS, and now you don't even order the damn thing? You have From Hell. You have Alec. But you didn't order this. Fucking hell, alrighty then.

I'm at the point where I would seriously consider changing stores to frequent based on this series of mishaps, but there are no other options. Unfortunately, this is the (ahem) "best" (a relative term for sure) store I've been able to find in my area.

Stop acting like a bunch of retarded sea donkeys.


Graphic Novel(s) Of The Month

It's another "three-fer" this month, since I'm too busy and worn out to do an in-depth review of one work, so you get three short ones! See, everyone wins! I get some of my day back and you get three very solid recommendations...

Fell: Limited Edition Hardcover (Image): One of Warren Ellis' best writing efforts to date. Ellis proves that he is a genre master and genre "tinkerer" here. What I think he does so skillfully is take a pretty tired genre (the cop/crime one) and infuse it with some horror elements, the combination of which transcends either original by itself. And for a little twist, the fact that the ideas are lifted from actual events only further underscores the disturbing realism of the "reality" he's creating. Throw on some inventive Ben Templesmith art (who really looks to be at the top of his game here) and you have not only an instant winner, but an instant classic. Grade A.

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Archaia Studios Press): Mouse Guard is one of the subtlest, yet boldest debuts in a long time. I say subtle, because superficially these look like relatively simple themes being toyed around with, survival, society, loyalty, etc. The story, on the surface, looks like a mish-mash of other pop culture influences. And artistically, some of the figures can ostensibly be quite simplistic in their representational forms. This is just a bunch of mice running around trying to preserve their hidden society... right? Wrong. Mouse Guard is bold. Yes, there are just a handful of themes. Yes, the art can be a bit stark. But, the strength of those themes, the elegance in the simplicity of those forms, and the unique world that's been created here, all stand straight up and punch you squarely between the eyes. Mouse Guard is like a shining beacon of pure thought, strong messaging, focused scripting, and skillful delivery. Grade A.

The Professor's Daughter (First Second): Not necessarily as "deep" or thoughtful as some of Joann Sfar's other work (namely, The Rabbi's Cat), but this work balances a wide-eyed innocence with some witty mischief. It's a whimsical story about life and love. Errrr, about the afterlife and undying love, anyway. Guibert's watercolors are extremely beautiful and worth the price of admission alone, they lend an airy light, almost dreamlike feel to the story that supports that balance of wonderment and fun. Grade A.