Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Comics Out October 17, 2007

The Umbrella Academy 2. I liked this issue quite a bit more than the last one, and I liked the last one pretty good. The colors, which I failed to talk about last time are great -- the washed out fall present, particularly the sky, the red and rich browns of the apocalyptic future, the hot pink for the carnival under laser blast, the single bit of primary red for the inside lining of our villain's opera cape. Spaceboy, the evil floating bots (with that wonderfully updated clunky old look), the little kid having fun in the future -- all rendered with a lot of joy. The story's whimsicality feels less forced now: the villain and his plan I like a lot, seeing these wacky different people all together (so much more fun than the matching little kids -- we should have started with this and seen the kids in a flashback at some point later), even the understated "The Umbrella Academy" title I thought were all really charming. Not my favorite book ever -- the Grant Morrison blurb on the cover overstates I think but that is what blurbs and Grant Morrison are supposed to do -- but a nice one. I think it is every bit as good as Hellboy for example. Way to go Dark Horse.

One little overlap -- there is a visual chime between Ba's shot of the villain and his crew and the last page of Casanova 10 which Ba used to draw and which is not out yet but will be shortly -- you will see what I mean. Coincidence? Or a little wish on Ba's part to be back at his old job? Or just me over reading? I am willing to admit I over-read occasionally (occasionally).

Marvel Zombies 2 #1. I was not going to get this. I liked the original Marvel Zombies pretty well -- the idea is inspired as is the basic way the story continues (The Silver Surfer! Of Course!) and I liked the art. But exposition was clunky, and the hype was annoying. But I got a kick out of the first splash page of the new issue, which suggested this was going to go a new direction, and sure enough there seems to be some life still kicking in this concept. Exposition still rattles like an old car on a hot day: there is 0% imagination in how they reestablish that the zombies cannot eat each other for example, and Kirkman loves to set a scene with the worn out "Earth...", "New Wakanda...", "Meanwhile, out in deep space..." (where the fuck did he think I would think they were without the caption? Near space?), "Back on Earth...", "Elsewhere in New Wakanda...". The absolute worst moment was a panel of Black Panther and his wife sleeping. The caption reads "Later that night. Aboard Asteroid M, the quarters of Black Panther and his wife." The very next panel is captioned "Elsewhere" and off we go. Why is Kirkman prepping this for audiobook? Is this comics for blind people? Phillips is great because this feels like the book he was born to draw, but even he is far too addicted to that big posed tee-shirt ready shot of Marvel heroes in Zombie form -- four times in the issue. Do I look like a whack-a-mole? I get it. I know it is superheroes in zombie form but stop treating me like I am an idiot.

I had wanted to talk about Captain America's new costume here, but I am currently talking to a guest blogger about covering it and I have decided to save all my comments for that.


Casey Malone said...

Marvel Zombies is an idea which wore its welcome out incredibly fast with me. The Ultimate FF Story they originated from was extremely clever, and managed to actually catch me by surprise, which are both rare things lately.

But beyond a few clever turns in the main series (Silver Surfer, the uninfected people of Asteroid M) and the jokey, "look at how ridiculous this is, really" Army of Darkness story, their appearance has been pulled out and show to us so often it's become stale. I find myself simply wishing Marvel Zombies would go away.

Comment... FROM THE FUTURE - Does anyone think that Alex Ross's Cap redesign borrows really heavily from his unused concept work from the first Spiderman movie?


Geoff Klock said...

yeah, I read a blog where someone discussed that.

Streebo said...

It's strange that I'm a die-hard horror fan - yet the Marvel zombies concept left me cold. I flipped through the book in the store and put it right back on the shelf.

I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and write a review of Warren Ellis' Black Summer some time soon. No one ever mentions it here. :(

James said...

I might say more when the proper post comes, but the Captain America costume is unbeleivably crummy, and not because of the knife and the gun.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Geoff, you nailed some of what bothers me about Robert Kirkman's writing: he does too much exposition. It's not enough to show you action, he has to tell you, sometimes several times. Sounds like he's doing that here, even in the basic captions. I used to read The Walking Dead and some of his other stuff, but his dialogue started to bug me, and once I put my finger on what it was that I didn't like, I started to see it in everything he did, and now I can't read anything by him anymore. An example: in the first Marvel Zombies, there was a bit where Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, etc. killed and ate somebody (Magneto? I forget), and when Iron Man found out, he was pissed that they didn't save any for him. But then he had to give a speech about how he was upset, but he understood, because he would have done the same thing, and really, they're all hungry, and who could blame them, since they had food available, and they couldn't stop themselves, and it's every man for himself, so they didn't have any of the others in mind, so they weren't so bad by doing that really. Maybe he didn't go on about it that long, but it seemed like it. Kirkman does that, having a character state over and over what they're feeling when a simple facial expression could convey the same information much more eloquently.

Oh, and I disagree that Sean Phillips is born to draw the book. I greatly prefer Phillips' art in crime/noir books like Criminal or Sleeper. When he's laying down deep shadows and drawing quietly intense confrontations or realistic violence, that's when he's at his best. When he draws zombies, he just shows characters with lots of teeth (really, the instant anybody gets turned zombie, it's like their lips got ripped off). I'm sure this sort of thing pays better, since it sells so much for some reason, but I wish he would stick to the simpler, more human stories. His art just isn't a good fit for superheroes, unless it's gritty, street-level stuff.

Well, that's my opinion anyway.

Ping33 said...

Death of the New Gods is awesome!

I am loving the love they're getting from DC. The 4th World omnibi are the best collection DC has complied in YEARS and it's great to see people really digging into the more uber-Kirby stuff which was buried under the rug for decades (like the Zoomway, Jimmy Olsen Clones, Wendell Williams and more)