Sunday, March 20, 2005

Three Comics That I Read So That You Did Not Have To

Each week, a few books seem to slip by almost unnoticed. I figured I will try to keep you abreast of these less renowned books and whether I would recommend them, and in return, you can tell me about books that I did not have a chance to read this week, and tell me if you would recommend them!

Some spoilers ahead!

The Blade of Kumori #4 - I really do not think that I like the idea of Grafiksismik. Grafiksismik is a full service art studio (artists and colorists) that does a lot of work for Devil's Due (plus other studios). They give the credit the studio, not the individual artist. I do not like that. I admire the togetherness of the studio, but I would prefer each individual artist to be credited with the book, for both a "giving credit where credit's due" reason and also a "so we know what to expect from the art" reason.

In any event, "Dub" of Grafiksismik draws this issue, which is written by Ron Marz. The Blade of Kumori is about an assasin named Kumori who is trying to come to terms with her life (and the secrets of her seemingly superpowered abilities). The key to the book is the interaction between Kumori and the American superhero Great White, who she was assigned to kill in #2, but she refused.

Two issues later, he is still in her thoughts, and she in his.

This certainly has the making of an interesting comic book, but I do not think that Marz has put it all together yet. The best issue of the series so far, in my estimation, was #2, which showed Great White trying to connect with Kumori. Marz found a strong character dynamic, and worked it well.

Then he went away from it for most of the next two issues.

In addition, in this issue, there is a hamhanded scene with Great White and one of his associates as she decides to put the moves on him, and we learn that he is still hung up on the Japanese assassin he only briefly met. I understand what Marz is trying to get out of the scene, but it is just so clumsy. We saw some friendly banter between Great White and his compatriot in #2, but nothing more of her until this issue, where suddenly she's strutting in with a tight little red dress to seduce him. For a book that has taken its time with the storyline, sudden rushes like that are just highlighted more.

Finally, Dub's art does not actively hurt the book, but nor does it assist the book much.

Next issue is going to be all Great White and Kumori (he decides to go to Japan and she decides to prove herself by killing him), so h0pefully the book will be on track, but for now, I have to say that this book is not recommended.

Manhunter #8 - I feel bad for enjoying this issue, because a lot of the reason why I enjoyed this issue more than others is because it did not give us much insight into the character of Kate Spencer.

I really dislike the woman behind the Manhunter mask.

I like the idea of having a flawed heroine, but Kate is more annoying to me than flawed. I do not like how, for me, the most sympathetic person in the book is her assistant, who has made a career of working for super villains. This issue, though, was all action, so I did not have to worry about her annoying (to me) personality.

In addition, the real star of Manhunter is Jesus Saiz's art, and this issue is without it, so that is a letdown, but Javier Pina does a good job filling in.

There is a little too much Identity Crisis tie-in for my tastes (why must every book in the DC Universe be tied together?!?!?), but it is thankfully understated (and I understand that the book needs all the readers it can get).

My pal, Loren, will have to help me out here, as he looooves prosecutors, but it seemed a bit odd to me that Kate, in the trial, kept trotting out character witnesses for the VICTIM. I really do not get how the evidence was relevant, but I was never much into prosecutions, so hopefully he can fill me in.

Forgetting everything else, her assitant Dylan is still cool. I really dig him, and Andreyko gives him all the best lines in the book. If only HE could be Manhunter....ah well.

If the above stuff sounds like it is your bag, then you might like it, but I do not think that I can rightfully recommend this issue either.

Catwoman #41 - This is the first part of a fill-in arc before Will Pfeiffer takes over the title (I wonder what THAT will be like). It is written by a name I am unfamiliar with, Matteo Casali, and drawn by Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti (who also inked Manhunter #8, by the by).

The story is fairly straightforward.

The Romanian mob is using human slaves as prostitutes, and also having illegal dog fights. Meanwhile, someone is killing the Romanian prostitutes, and Catwoman is investigating.

That is basically the entire issue's plot totally summed up.

What Casali does well, though, is the details of the plot. The thoroughness of the scenery and the characters is very accomplished. It is something that I think will serve him well if he gets a shot at a gig with a little more freedom (as compared to a quick fill-in arc between writers). Here, he is basically just writing Ed Brubaker's Catwoman, but it is not offensive to any Brubaker fans ,I do not think.

Walker, meanwhile, is really impressing me more and more with his work. This issue had a fullness that I have not yet seen from him. I liked it.

In any event, while there was a lot here to like, and a lot of promise for future good things from both the writer and the artist, I do not think that I could truthfully recommend this issue.

Okay, now on to the books I have not read this week:

Freedom Force #3
Lullaby Wisdom Seeker #1
Digital Webbing Presents #21
Hopeless Savages B-Sides All Flashback SP One Shot
Shaolin Cowboy #2


Blogger Loren said...

You're right to be skeptical about Kate's selection of witnesses. Her last three witnesses would be great choices to call during the sentencing phase, but during the trial they probably wouldn't even be allowed to take the stand. Like you say, "Ronnie was a great guy" isn't relevant testimony.

That's my short take on the issue. Here is the longer one.

3/20/2005 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

Jeff Lester at the Savage Critic gave Shaolin Cowboy the highest mark of the single issues this week. I'd give you a link, but I'm lazy. So you'll have to trust me. Same with Paul O'Brian liking the Hopeless Savages one shot.

3/21/2005 01:56:00 PM  
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