Monday, March 10, 2008

What I Read This Week

Graveslinger #4 -- The finale to the first adventure of Frank Timmons, custodian of the undead in the Old West, comes to a close as Frank's metaphysical conflict comes crashing headlong into a more mundane, but just as deadly, skirmish. This issue is pretty much just a running gunfight, along with the ubiquitous (and not entirely unexpected nor unwelcome) set up for a sequel. Sorat's surreal art is a good fit for the bloody action herein, and Denton and Mariotte seem to enjoy writing their anti-hero. The whole thing never gels together all that well, but I guess this is sort of a pilot for the Further Adventures of Frank Timmons, and in that sense I guess some disconnect is expected. Not bad, but overall this series was not as good as I would have hoped.

Project Superpowers #1 -- After the backstory in #0, we're off to a proper start here as the eldery Fighting Yank, now obsessed with both righting the wrong from his past as well as his prophecised demise, travels to the remote East to meet with his old ally, the Green Lama. Jim Krueger (and ostensibly Alex Ross) turns in an interesting premise, and as good a reason to revive these characters as I can think of. What I don't like is the relatively simplistic characterizations of both the Yank and Black Terror we see here. Yank is very one note regarding his evidently soon-to-be-forthcoming death, and Terror seems like bloodthirsty killer who would not have been out of place 15 years ago in an Image comic. This may change, of course, but at first blush his rantings about killing his one-time ally as well as his enemy didn't do it for me. There are some nice touches -- the villain of the piece seems pretty interesting, and the fact that his company is called "Dynamic Forces" is a cute bit as well. Carlos Paul's artwork is unique in-so-far as it doesn't look inked; there is not a lot of linework, giving a sort of "colored over pencils" appearance which makes things look other-worldly. On the whole this was a mixed bag, but I have hopes that the series will improve.

Justice League: The New Frontier Special -- Having never read the original New Frontier, I figured it was only right for me to pick this one up, even with the hefty price tag. And I must say, it was definitely worth the cost. We get three features here, all written by Darwyn Cooke, with retro-style art by Cooke, J. Bone and David Bullock, plus some bonus features in the back. The lead story is a "deleted scene" of sorts from the original, and details the battle between Superman and Batman before they became chums. The second feature stars Robin, The Boy Wonder, as he tackles a case involving a street racing ring that is more than it seems, and ends up getting some scarlet-and-yellow assistance. Rounding out the lineup is a humorous Wonder Woman and Black Canary tale, featuring the two ladies attempting to "enlighten" the patrons at the opening of a new Playboy Club. The bonus material has some character designs and storyboards from the film, and is not too heavy on info but nice nonetheless. Pretty much everything about this comic works: from the intense clash of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, to the goofy, psuedo-rivalry camraderie of Robin and Kid Flash, to the outright slapstick of Wonder Woman in the Playboy Club, from start to finish this is enjoyable, quality work. Even as someone who was not familiar with the property until a very shot while ago, this is truly a special any DC fan would get a real kick out of.

The Pick of the Pile this week is an obvious one, the New Frontier Special. As I said, even at $4.99, this is chock-full of content, and the vast majority of the content is really stand-out stuff (about the only gripe I have is a story-based decision, and trust me, I have a rant all planned for that already). If you passed on it last week, definitely grab it this week.

So what did YOU read this week?

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