Sunday, June 22, 2008

Review by Darren: Continuity GN

Writer: Jason McNamara
Artist: Tony Talbert
Publisher: AiT/PlanetLar (July 12, 2006)
: $12.95 (Softcover)
Format: Graphic Novel

What would happen if you went to bed and woke up in the morning to find the world changed overnight.
This is Alicia's dilemma that begins innocently and quickly takes a sharp turn into horror.

Hopped up on amphetamines, Alicia can't allow herself to fall asleep because the world she knows changes everytime she dreams.

Review by Darren: Garth Ennis' 303 TPB

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Jacen Burrows
Publisher: Avatar Press (March 21, 2007)
: $19.99 (Softcover)
Format: TPB
Includes: 303 #1-6

A team of Russian mercenaries hunt for the downed wreckage of an American Plane in the hills of Afghanistan with a British contingent of mercenaries after the same goal.
In the aftermath of the destruction of both teams, a Russian Colonel, the lone survivor, is cursed with darkest of secrets and a thirst for revenge that takes him to the heartland of America.

He will not stop until his 303 rifle is satisfied.

This is the best thing that GARTH ENNIS has ever written. Tightly paced with a prescient narration, the hands off attitude of AVATAR comics has allowed ENNIS to take his story to whatever dark corner he chooses.

And, boy, is it dark.

Review by Darren: One Plus One TPB

Writer: Neal Shaffer
Artist: Daniel Krall
Publisher: Oni Press (October 1, 2003)
: $14.95 (Softcover)
Format: TPB
Includes: One Plus One #1-5
David Coulson is an agent of destiny and not necessarily a good guy or a bad one. He journeys into dead end bars and makes sure the cards fall where they're supposed to. Leonard is a writer tortured by everyday life, unable to look at people without seeing what they will look like after they die. Celeste is a waitress with a dark social life and Eddie is the wanna-be con man David decides to teach the ropes. Who will live, who will die and why oh why?

One of the only comics in recent years I've read again and again, not because it's impenetrable but because it is layered and complex with meanings that unlock themselves for the dedicated reader.

Review by Darren: The Adventures of Luther Arkwright TPB

Writer and Artist: Bryan Talbot
Publisher: Dark Horse (May 21, 2008)
: $18.95 (Softcover)
Format: TPB
Includes: The Adventures of Luther Arkwright #1-9

"A work ambitious in both scope and complexity that still stands unique upon the comics landscape...stunning"-ALAN MOORE

"Surely one of the all time great epics of the medium."-GARTH ENNIS

"An alternative history of modern times...It is also a very good, romantic inventive, fast paced yarn"-MICHAEL MOORCOCK

Yes. I frontloaded this review with some heavyweights, putting aside my own enlarged ego to make you at least look at just who loves this book.

Behold the David Bowie Jerry Cornelius godhead, a being who exists in only one parallel reality but is able to navigate within all of them. His mission: to stop the parallel world advance of the Disruptors who are bent on nothing less than total enslavement or, if need be, total destruction of all counter earths.

Don't get bogged down in the plot. This is a dissertation on fascism and the creation of mythology masquerading as an action movie. Densely written and drawn by Bryan Talbot, it is a masterpiece that stands along Watchmen in terms of quality. Now that Dark Horse has put it back in print, there is no excuse for anyone not to read it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Review by the Dork: Suburban Glamour TPB

Writer and Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Publisher: Image Comics (May 21, 2008)
: $9.99
Format: TPB
Includes: Suburban Glamour #1-4

First off, I avoided the single issues of this book because I wasn't overly thrilled by the Phonogram TPB; which I believe had been drawn AND written by
Jamie McKelvie. The writing on Phonogram came off a little too pretentious for my taste.

So it came as a nice surprise when I found myself enjoying the story as well as the art in the Suburban Glamour TPB. Upon further investigation (like reading the credits) I discovered something!
Jamie McKelvie did NOT write the Phonogram series. He did, however, write Suburban Glamour.

My quick, ill placed judgment of
Jamie McKelvie was undeserved and almost cost me a good read. Sorry about that dude. Now back to the book at hand.

Suburban Glamour was enjoyable to read and nicely complemented by
Jamie McKelvie's clean art style. The story was not overly original, but what stories are? In the end, it's how you tell the story that matters and Astrid Johnson's story is told quite well.

What I especially liked about the series is the character development. Too often characters in comics are blank slates with little or no personality. But
Jamie McKelvie manages to give his heroine a voice, a persona; which is cool and unexpected.

My only criticism is of his artwork, which feels stiff at times. My guess is that pages and deadlines will hammer that out.

I look forward to his next project as artist AND writer and will pick up the single issues this time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Review by Darren: Sleeper Volumes 1-4 TPBS

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Wildstorm (DC) (January 1, 2004-October 1, 2005)
: $17.95 (Softcover) Volumes 2 and 3 In Print. Volumes 1 and 4 are Out of Print.
Format: TPB
Includes: Sleeper #1-12 and Sleeper: Season Two #1-12

It's the late 90's and an obscure Wildstorm character, Holden Carver, has been resurrected by relative unknown, Ed Brubaker.
Holden is placed in deep cover with the bad guys. I mean, the real bad guys (the Illuminati, bilderberg group, any secret society that rules the world). His job, to infiltrate and eventually destroy them. The problem is, the only man who knows he's undercover, the man who placed him undercover has been shot and is in a deep coma . Can Holden survive playing for both sides? Is there any way to maintain a moral compass when both sides start to seem indistinguishable from one another.

Brubaker is a master at injecting passion and gravitas into comics while most writers sleep through years of tired continuity. His stories matter.

All four Sleeper books should be purchased and all at once. Anything less will only cause you further grief, because you're going to read the first one and immediately want the next and curse the fates for having to get in your shitty and burn precious fossil fuels getting back to the comic shop. There's also a great prequel by the name of Point Blank that explains just who put Holden's boss in a coma. It's a doozy.

If you like your superheroes on the mature side, if you love noir, if you love espionage, if you have any love for anything in your heart, you will pick up these books. A complete saga in a finite amount of books. Go. Buy.

P.S. If you want to go to a store that 99% of the time keeps the books in stock, Earth 2 at 15017 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks is the store for you. They also do mail order. Tell them Darren sent you.