Saturday, May 24, 2003

Negative Burn #1 Review

Thanks to Joe Pruett and Desperado, Negative Burn returns to comics, through Image, and it is well worth the wait.

The funniest thing to me is that, at $6, it isn't even all that pricey, as it has 56 pages for twice the price of a 22 page comic book from Marvel or DC. Yeah, it's black and white, but for a good 56 pages, I think it's well worth the price, as Negative Burn was quite good.

The first story, by Patton Oswalt and Jonathan Luna, works well as a clever examination into modern life, but Oswalt decides to swing it into the absurd. The impulse by Oswalt is quite good, as, if it is pulled off, I think it would be an excellent little story. However, I do not think he does a good enough job articulating the alien point of view. If it was clearer, I think the joke would have been a good deal more fullfilling. Still, a noble effort on his part.

Brian Bolland gives a cute one page story.

Matthew Smith follows with a GORGEOUSLY drawn story about spirits, and the people who tend to them. The story is nice (a bit slight), but the art is fantastic. After reading this story, I doubt you'll think of Smith as "Mignola-lite," which I think is what my pal Stony calls him.

Phil Hester contributes a fairly blah story, with nice art, though.

Greg Ruth's sketchbook for an upcoming project is sparkling. It is painted and realistic without ever going into "Greg Land" territory. Of course, I'd have to actually see it sequentially, but I think there are enough different poses to tell if Ruth can pull it off, and oh boy, CAN he! Just remarkable artwork. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Will Volley does an incredibly trippy story called "The Gull." The art is very nice, but I think the story is a bit TOO trippy.

Eric Powell gives us a very cute one-pager about his son. Very cute stuff.

Mark Aswith (words) and R. G. Taylor (art) team up for the highlight of the issue, a story involving Moebius, and a trip he made to Aswith's comic book store awhile back. It is essentially a modern day fable, and when you get to that point, wow - it really works. I am impressed with how well Taylor depicted some of the scenes, as, for the story to really work, you have to see some detailed stuff, and Taylor pulls it off well. Just a great tale overall.

James A. Owen finishes off the issue with a nice, short illustrated text piece, with a clever comment about magic that I think was also made in the full-page ad DC did for Xombi back circa 1994. Anyone remember that ad? This story is just like that ad.

In any event, while some stories are stronger than others, the art is very strong throughout the volume, and while not all the entries are winners, enough of them are that I can feel confident in recommending it without reservation.

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