Thursday, 6 March 2008

Last weeks reads

The amazing work of Spanish couriers means my comics arrived very late. So here I am the day before (hopefully) getting my new ones, giving opinions on what everyone else has already read.
To begin with a non review.
Batman by Grant Morrison may hold up better upon hindsight. The run started with 'superstar' Andy Kubert on the art who seems like a nice guy and has a distinctive style that really does very little for me. It's very typical of current DC (and Marvel to a certain extent) to tell us how awesome someone is when all the evidence in front of you tells you otherwise. We then got a great three parter by J H Williams with Dave Stewart to show us how good it could be before new 'superstar' Tony Daniel came on as the regular artist with Guy Major colouring.
Now my understanding of the logic behind this decision is that he can do a monthly book with a cool style.
The problem for me is that he doesn't have a cool style. His art is jarringly ugly and I would go so far as to say he was better in '93 on X-Force. It was actually an alright style for the time, Following Greg Capullo (when HE was of interest) and before Adam Pollina. Hence the non review. After wincing through the first few parts, wishing I needed glasses so I could take them off, I then had to read the just plain rubbish Ras Al Ghul crossover and called it a day. This week the first one I didn't order came out and I'd like to read it but I can't spend money on it.
I probably will later's Grant Morrison on Batman and I wanna know what happens : )
Continuing with Batman, though one I've read this time, All Star Batman & Robin #9 hit the shelves and continues to show that while Frank Miller never seems to disappoint every time he opens his mouth lately, he still writes really entertaining comics.
At some point it became fine for me to like Jim Lee's art again. He's as much of the reason I got into American comics at sixteen as Image was responsible for me seeking out good comics elswhere (Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Europe etc). It seems to me very much that if he's got Scott Williams inking him, you're all right. I even ended up buying the Absolute Hush as a present for my inner child and while it's a crap read, it's nice seeing Jim Lee experimenting with styles and keeping both himself and me interested. He's doing this even more-so in All-Star Batman.
The comic is a real guilty pleasure. I actually enjoy it. That's my review. If I analyse it too hard I'll find I've very little good to say about it but I do enjoy it and recommend it...(if you're me or someone who found you enjoyed DK2 despite yourself).

The post midlife crisis reboot of Action Comics by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner was troubled from the start by delays, all of which would seem to be the fault of Adam Kubert who turned in fantastic work with colours by Dave 'satisfaction guaranteed' Stewart. I really can't imagine what could have caused delays so huge as to have them keep the series going in the meantime and elect to finish his first (only) story arc in an Annual. I liked it and am looking forward to the end of it.
Anyway, in the meantime we've had a great, strange, Bizarro story by Eric Powell and they've also welcomed as the new regular penciller Gary Frank. I've never been a huge Gary Frank fan, marginalising him as "solid" and once he started getting inked by Top Cow inker Jonathan Sibal a few years back, I thought that was the end. However, the current Action Comics arc has been gorgeous, really. We've got Christopher Reeves as Superman, interesting page design and colours by Dave McCaig bringing it all together. The story, for one not at all up to speed on the Legion, has been great fun and I'm looking forward to good long run on the comic I thought I'd never be able to buy.
Number 1 of Rasl, the new Jeff Smith series also hit and was very well received, by me. The printing's a bit sh*t and while I prefer Jeff Smith's work in black and white, the pinting left it all a bit dark grey and white. Only criticism. I thought the story was a great start which got me really interested but the experience was too short. As you can read anywhere, its a sci-fi adventure about an art thief who can jump through dimensions to nick the same thing various times. This takes a lot out of him and so he's got to drink, smoke and meditate before getting back into the swing of things. This is the premise of the series and is pretty much all we get from the first issue so you kind of read it with a sense of de ja vu. Two months till number 2.


Anthony Hope-Smith said...

Yeah Rasl was a funny one that I guess only someone as talented as Smith can pull off. I really enjoyed it and its brevity really highlighted Smith's skill with storytelling, but it all ended with all too quickly. Looking forward to the next one!

Unrelated, make sure you don't miss the latest Madman, Mr Shyne. I think you are going to like it!

David N said...

I loved Jim Lee when I was 14 too. Now I can't look at his stuff. Mannered and self-parodic, it really suits this particular Miller script, at least.
Gary Frank, on the other hand, gets better with every issue I see by him, even if his work is still a bit stiff.

I don't get what anybody sees in Tony Daniel. I judge Batman artist by their Batman - whether or not I like their version of the costume, how long the ears are, what sort of treatment they give the cape and belt, etc.
His Batman is dull. Like his art.
Rasl good though.

Will Shyne said...

Interesting Madman? Been a while I must say. Maybe give me a bit more to work with...
Harsh words for Jim Lee. I can very much relate with what your saying and the latest issue did have some dreadful poses/anatomy/action scenes. Chalk it up as a guilty pleasure.
I ended up buying the latest Batman,as I knew I would, and it is still shit. Very dull. Fingers crossed for a fill-in!
Lastly Spanish delays mean the last couple of weeks are also running late.This week, they tell me...

Anonymous said...

I didn't used to have a problem with Tony Daniel either but I put that down to youthful exhuberance but maybe that's unfair. I've always really liked Gary Frank though. Sounds stupid but I always thought he has great eye for differing hairstyles and facial hair. Keep an eye out for it. The devil's in the details for me. However ever since Midnight Nation with it's Top Cow inking I can barely look at it. Unfortunately this seemed to coincide with rise to comics stardom so it's in no danger of changing back (to Cam Smith). His work on Supreme Power left me cold but you can tell that the pencils for this Action Comics (along with those for a couple of issues of Avengers a few years back) really show how good he can be. Shame. I thought Rasl had a touch of the Bret Blevins about it.