Friday, April 04, 2008

Comics Out April 2, 2008

Casanova 13. I am busy putting together a list of my must read prestige books -- All Star Superman, WE3, Assault on Weapon Plus, Dark Knight Strikes Again (nothing that would surprise any of you) -- and this one is right on the top of the list. I love this book for the same reasons I love the others on that list -- at no point to I have to say things like "Oh, yeah, the Invisibles is great but the art is spotty in parts," or "Seven Soldiers is awesome but the end maybe leaves a little to be desired." I love the fluid line work and the colors -- like drawing with water. I love the crazy things the characters say: ""I'm a robot inside of a robot inside of another robot. I'm like a nesting doll that gives blowjobs steeped in existential ennui." And I love how Fraction thinks: I like how he balances the science fiction "cheat" -- not really a cheat since the existence of perfect replica robot people has been a core part of this book since early on --. Let me start that sentence again. I like how he balances the science fiction "cheat" to get out of the events of last issue (they were all robots) with the idea that even if you have a mad sci-fi escape maybe you should reject it for emotion and a blind faith in the power of the unique.

Punisher War Journal 18. Marvel with the product placement. Very disturbing. I have to believe it could be incorporated into the image more naturally. I mean I know they are in a guitar store, but the ad is to poorly incorporated it looks like a sticker has been placed over the art. I am not always against product placement -- people use products and GMC, for example, has some awesome product placement on 24. I don't even drive a car and now I associate the brand with the one thing that can save America. I am not saying Marvel should stop, but they should find a way to not make it so jarring. Cause it makes me hate comic books. Also, Chaykin continues to elude me.

Amazing Spiderman 555. Bachalo, on the other hand, I get. Bachalo I love. Bachalo would do a hell of a Casanova volume -- this is a guy who can do what that book needs: cute girls, and dense visual information. Check out the cover of this Spiderman issue to see how he has reached a compromise with people who say he is too cluttered: the image is a cluttered as he gets, but the colors isolate our heroes so we can see, nice and fast, what is going on. The same spare use of colors for the interior snow scenes is just beautiful and iconic. Bachalo draws a great Wolverine, though I suppose you could argue he is too cartoony. You can't argue such a thing for Spiderman. Bachalo is great for Spiderman, which is a character who needs to be a lot of fun, especially the Brand New Day version. The white borders are nice, especially with the snow, and cute girls Bachalo can draw like no man's business. Bachalo makes me want to date Betty. I know every time I write about Bachalo and cute girls -- and I write it a lot -- I sound shallow, but I think superhero comic books need cute girls and the ones that get all the attention are often no more than grotesque ... things. A note to the writer however -- grab a book on verse. There is more to writing poetry -- even Dr. Strange's speeches -- than the occasional rhyme. The use of rhythm was MAKING ME NUTS.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 13. Oh, fine. Whatever. It is not terrible. I will keep getting this book. But you cannot make me review it every month.

Angel 6. Same here.

I also picked up an AMAZING oversized Ashley Wood book -- and I love Ashley Wood -- called Zombies vs Robots vs Amazons (and Amazons is code for lesbians), but that will need its own post I think, to capture all the greatness. Hint: the genre-mash up -- and that is kind of my thing -- is good, but the ART is what makes it work.

14 comments:

Morgan Jeske said...

Fraction really did outdo himself with this issue, I must say. I laughed out loud several times and was actually moved by the flashback scenes.
There were also moments were I got goose-bumps thinking about what 14 holds in store, I think I know, but I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it.
I LOVE that this Album is as Fraction described in an interview, the space that exists around Cass. The negative space, as opposed to the space he fills.

Morgan Jeske said...

ps

Bachalo on Casanova---R-A-D!

j.liang said...

I picked up the latest issue (my first, actually) of Comics Foundry because Matt Fraction is on the cover. Very good interview. His description of the post-Messiah CompleX X-Men makes me a bit wary but I'm still looking forward to see what he does on Uncanny.

A lot of other fun stuff inside: Grant Morrison on Final Crisis; Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba talking about themselves and each other; Ryan North on Dinosaur Comics; Grace Park on BSG Season 4; and a preview of The Venture Bros., Season 3.

scott91777 said...

Geoff,

Just curious, could you clarify what you mean by 'prestige books'; the first thing I think of is DC's old 'Prestige Format.'

Geoff Klock said...

Scott -- I am thinking of books where the monthly format is not allowed to mess with the story or art, even if you have to wait six months between issues.

scott91777 said...

Geoff,

In that case, would Assault on Weapon Plus be considered 'presige'? Wasn't that part of Grant Morrison's monthly tenure on New X-men?

Geoff Klock said...

Scott -- it did not think it out that well. It sort of is, but it does not feel like it because so much about New X-Men was just "get the thing done I don't care how you do it."

Timothy Callahan said...

Freakin' Guitar Hero III. I could not stop looking at that horribly inserted product placement. I kept thinking, "Is there something wrong with me that I'm offended by the produce placement and not by the torture occurring in the panels beneath it?"

Now I know I was not alone.

Anonymous said...

Now there's a dream team: Fraction & Bachalo on X-Men.

Bachalo's art on Spidey is apt for a kid-friendly book, while his more "gritty" style on Assault on Weapon Plus is apt there too.

As for your "cute girls", Geoff, vs the more grotesque depictions of femininity in modern comics I refer to Christopher Booker's 'The Seven Basic Plots'. A book that discusses storytelling in context of the light and dark values of masculinity & femininity in storytelling through the ages. The book does not discuss comics or TV, but I've realised what it is about comics that keeps me reading them. Booker's thesis is far from original (Joseph Campbell wrote a similar tome: "The Masks of God" etc) but I've started thinking about it and applying it to the comics I enjoy and to LOST and Buffy & Angel.

See, the cute girls in comics are the ones who are "in touch" with the "light feminine" and "light Masculine" values - Animus in balance for females (and vice versa Anima in male heroes) when these values are unbalanced in stories then they are less enjoyable, less complete according to Booker's thesis, one which I am in agreement with.

As for Buffy and Angel - the characters are in touch with their light anima/animus values. And while they could be better written, I feel compelled to keep reading to see how their stories are realised, because I feel that a genuine ending for both characters is in sight. That they will prevail over the dark forces against them and have a "happy" ending.

Coligo said...

I love Ashley Wood and the art for 'Zombies vs Robots vs Amazons' is no exception, but I've found the issues to be incredibly slight and the genre mash-up hasn't really gotten me that excited either. Something about it just feels a little forced. As I said though, Wood gives great art.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Aw yeah, Ashley Wood! I totally dig his art; it's so unique and weird, sometimes devolving into scratchy, messy jumbles and other times (usually when "cute girls" are being depicted) becoming perfectly clear and defined. I enjoyed ZvRvA, even if I don't necessarily think it was that good of a comic, probably because I like his art so much. That zombie minotaur was freaky, and don't get me started on the "secret Amazon meeting" scene.

Matthew J. Brady said...

By the way, The Boys was quite good last week, as was American Splendor. And Casanova, of course. Awesome; I love love love that book.

Christian said...

Casanova was fucking excellence. Suck on that emotional core, disbelievers. ;)

We're a week late here, so I'm allowed to necro posts.

Jason said...

"Casanova was fucking excellence. Suck on that emotional core, disbelievers. ;)"

Heehee. :)