Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Some Long-Winded Comic Reviews

Regurgitation at its best....enjoy (except you folks from CBR, who can feel free to skip this entry)!

Shining Knight #1

This is gonna be so much fun, isn't it?

I mean, I don't see why the other series won't be as good as this one, and this first issue was a ton of fun.

The basic gist of the plot of the original Shining Knight is that Sir Justin and his flying horse Victory were trapped in ice until World War II.

This issue follows that plot as well, only a slight variation. The horse is named Vanguard, the transport is not through ice, and the time he travels to is today.

Beyond that, Morrison gives us a swashbuckling adventure that you are not likely to see again until the NEXT issue of Shining Knight.

The introductions of the Knights of the Round Table are handled delightfully, and the villain, the queen of the magical beasts who fight the Knights, known only as the Sheeda.

Like most comics he writes, Morrison tosses in a few metafiction remarks, a little fantasy/textual references, but mainly, a sense of wonderment and fun ("Have you ever heard of a mad horse?").

Simone Bianchi helps Morrison get this sense of grandeur (with an undertone of grittiness) and wonder across beautifully.

And the transition from the grandeur and grittiness of Justin's time to just the grittiness of modern day America...it's jarring...and awesome.

I can't wait until next issue.

Blood of the Demon #1

This was a good book.

Right off the bat, DC appears to be taking the approach that, if it does not specifically say that it is code approved, then the comic in question could very well have very graphic content.

An odd way to handle labeling.

In any event, this comic has very good, gritty John Byrne art (helped, no doubt, by the inks of the oddly named "Nekros"...who apparantly is a pseudonym for Bud La Rosa).

The comic has a lot of graphic violence, but most of it is monsters being killed. Still, Byrne depicts it in full gruesome detail, including the point where Jason Blood is "killed" BEFORE he fully transforms into Etrigan!!

This sets up a new status quo for Jason, as he can achieve a mid-level Demon form now.

With the help of his friends (who are worked into the book as longtime supporting characters SHOULD be, they are there for those who recognize them, but are not totally necessary for those who dod not know them), Blood sets back to gain revenge upon the demons who "killed" him.

He does a fine job, until he lets the demon within him loose - and this time, Etrigan is not being held back!!!

I thought this was a really good first issue. The book opens with both a concise explanation of the background of the Demon, but it adds foreshadow to the ending of the issue.

Pfeiffer's dialogue is TONS better than Byrne's dialogue over on Doom Patrol, but even Pfeiffer has a problem with clunky dialogue at times. Still, the improved dialogue helps a lot. Get Pfeiffer on Doom Patrol, as well!

Not to take away from Byrne as a writer, his plotting in the issue was well done, especially the way he uses his own skills as an artist to punctuate scenes as he knows he CAN, as he is the artist. It is these types of risks that only a writer/artist can achieve.

There is a detective (drawn quite ethically by Byrne...and it's good to see an artist dare to draw a character to be clearly ethic in appearances) who is following the "dead body" who woke up in the morgue (Blood, natch) who is extremely old (Blood has been around since the time of King Arthur, natch). It is a pretty standard storyline, but it is handled well.

I am really pleased with the opening of this series.

X-Men: The End #1 - Heroes and Martyrs #1

This may have been the dorkiest comic that I have ever read.

That doesn't mean that it was a BAD comic, but oh man, was this a dorky comic book.

It just oozed it all over the place, like look! Domino's real name revealed!

Or look - Vargas is the head of XSE now!

Talk about writing to a specific audience!!

Surprise!! You might never guess what old Claremont plotline might be super important to the storyline!!

With all the teasing aside, the issue also has a somber side to it.

Claremont kills off Northstar!!!!

WHY DOES CLAREMONT HATE HOMOSEXUALS?!?!?!?!?!?

Okay...so maybe all the teasing wasn't aside.

In any event, I thought the issue moved sorta slowly in the beginning, as it caught you up with the story, but then as the issue went on, the story picked up, and ended on a high note.

Sean Chen did a good job. My favorite scene was with the kids...Sean Chen would have been an AWEsome Power Pack artist...and Claremont wouldn't have been a half-bad Power Pack writer!

All in all, this was an enjoyable, dorky comic book.

District X #11

An adage I find myself repeating over and over in comic reviews is "sometimes a cliche is a cliche because it works."

District X is trying to get away from a cliched protagonist in Izzy Ortega, but I think there is something to be said for having a protagonist in a comic book not being, you know, a total jerk.

I get "conflicted," but Izzy has gone waaaaaaaaaay over the line.

He's cheating on his wife, he is treating her like garbage, and most importantly, he's treating his son like trash.

This is all something that DOES happen.

Otherwise good people like Izzy Ortega become total jerks.

But is it really something we want as the star of a comic book?!

In any event, the personal conflicts was basically all we got this issue, as the rest of the "action" seemed to just set up next issue's conclusion.

The art was very nice (via Lan Medina), but I just was not happy with the character development....cliches are not necesarilly bad!

Wolverine: Soultaker #1

Now THIS, more or less, is the Akira Yoshida I came to dig on Thor: Son of Asgard!!

This comic is a straightforward Wolverine in Japan story, where Yukio steals a cursed artifact, leading her and Wolverine into confrontation with some evil spirits.

While straightforward, it still tells a complete story, with a clear storytelling style.

The art, from Shin "Jason" Nagasawa, is very manga-esque, and it does the purposes, while not really having THAT much personalized style to it.

In any event, this was a fun book.

In addition, Yoshida knows a lot about Japanese culture. If you did not know that coming into the issue, you'll certainly know by the end.

Some more original discussion tomorrow! I only gave you this because I thought there'd be a "This Week's Funnies" here.

7 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Didn't they already reveal Domino's real name?

3/10/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Nik said...

I rather liked the Demon too -- I think you meant the detective was drawn "ethnically" rather than "ethically" though. ;)

3/10/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Hehe...yes, nik, but wouldn't it be cooler if I really just thought Byrne drew her ethically?

3/10/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Michael, they've given a few different names for Domino, but they've all been shown to be aliases.

And since, in the first series, Claremont also revealed X-23's name, I take it to mean that this is Domino's real name.

3/10/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

Everything I hear about X-Men: the End makes me think that Claremont took the title way too seriously. I admire your bravery here, Cronin. Giving a Byrne comic a positive review on a blog you cohabitate with alex and Joe. I regret not having been able to get Shining Knight yet. And I have to say that they really, really need to find another setting for these ancillary Wolverine mini-series besides Japan. Can't we find a middle ground and have him fight Ninjas in Sweden or something? And I still haven't read the first District-X trade, and I get the feeling it won't last beyond the next arc anyway, so I can't really get too worked about it. That covers everything. In a huge paragraph.

3/10/2005 08:00:00 PM  
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