Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Three 8/24 Books That I Read So That You Did Not Have To

As always, I tell you about three comics that I did not hear a lot about this week, and then I ask you all to fill me in on comics that I did not read this week.

ANOTHER Special "No DC or Marvel" Edition!

Invincible #25, Conan #19 and Walking Dead #21 Spoilers Ahead!

Invicible #25

This was a very interesting issue. It was a large edition (it cost two more dollars than normal) with one normal story, plus a good deal of short stories (mostly detailing the new members of the Guardians of the Globe). The art was by the normal artist, Ryan Ottley, but the backups were by such impressive artists as Cory Walker (the original Invincible artist), Todd Nauck, Khary Randolph, Matthew Roberts and Joshua Luna. Basically, all artists that I am big fans of, except Roberts, who I am unfamiliar with.

The main story contains an amusing opening where Kirkman gets to make fun of comic fans. What was really impressive to me in this issue was seeing Ottley's art, and how it has improved so much since he started. He was good when he got on to the title, but I think he is basically as good as Cory Walker, and when you can take Cory Walker off a book without losing a, you are in some good shape!!

The fight against Science Dog was fun...but to be honest, I think the joke probably was not as strong as it would have been if we had been further along in the series, because Science Dog has not, to me, become such an entrenched character that his appearance fighting Invincible would carry the right amount of weight to it. For instance, if it was, like Mighty Mouse, we would all get the sheer absurdity of the situation. But because it is a character who we have only seen a couple of times in the 25 issues, I do not think it has that same characteristic. Still a well-handled fight, though.

As for the ending...well, it is quite the cliffhanger, and what is interesting is that it also one of those plot twists that works on more than one level. On the one hand - oh my goodness, his father is back! But on the other hand, seeing his reaction and the look on his face when Mark walks in. Remember, this is a man who is not supposed to CARE for his it opens up a very interesting dynamic for next issue. Good stuff.

The backups were quite interesting, as they were all very short, but they all managed to give us a lot of cool information about the members, many of whom were pretty undeveloped (particulary Dupli-Kate). I liked the Monster Girl backup best, because of the black humor involved, but they were all strong. Aside from the Guardians of the Globe, there was also a Science Dog backup that was kinda odd. I was not a fan. Overall, though...


Conan #19

Now this was a really fun damned comic, from start to finish. Written by Kurt Busiek, with art by Cary Nord and Dave Stewart, this was one of those comics where the main character definitely does not leave the story without having learned something, and how Conan learns this lesson is handled in a most amusing manner, with a number of horrific (if not humorous, in a black humor type of way) and amazing circumstances leading to a change in his disposition towards a certain class of people.

The issue opens with Conan openly mocking the concept of "wise men," as he has no need for information about worlds beyond this one, as he is doing a fine job on THIS one. He is making his way about the town, stealing whatever he pleases, with his scent hidden from anyone who wants to find him. He also has a lovely companion, one SO lovely that Conan conspires to steal a valuable CROWN of a princess just to get the woman "in the mood." Along the way, Conan comes across a young woman who has betrayed him in the past. His trap for her is quite amusing, as are her abilities to work her away around his "secret hiding places."

The final confrontation involving the curse of the crown is handled well, especially in the artistic depiction. It is good to see, every once in awhile, something that probably even CONAN could not stop. Therefore, it is this realization that forces Conan to think twice about dismissing thoughts about other worlds. Great stuff. Characterization, story progression and art all combined to tell a dandy of a tale.


Walking Dead #21

I should do a "Comic Dictionary" entry sometime soon to add "Character Action," which is my new phrase that I love, because I needed a phrase to describe Walking Dead, and how it is so different from so many other titles. "Character Action" is when a book is filled with action, but the action occurs not in the physical "running/fighting/shooting" sense, but in the rapid-fire progression of character moments that occur in the comic book. That is what happens in every issue of Walking Dead, just rapid-fire characterization, giving the reader a fullness and a richness that they are unprepared for when opening the book.

As for the art, Charles Adlard's rough style works SO darn well for the rough world that these people live in, but what is particularly impressive is how he can pull it back, and see the softer side of Sears, when he draws the little kids, in particular, but also in the love scene in this issue. The way the lovers hold each other, it is quite touching and endearing. Tony Moore's cover was strong as well.

In any event, as I was saying before, the character action came fast and furious in this issue, whether it be the tender love scene I mentioned above, or the dirtier sexual act that occured in the issue, transforming relationships seemingly forever, in ways that make you angry at the characters while still understanding the motivations. Meanwhile, Rick, as leader, is forced to make yet ANOTHER tough decision, and in a world where the only thing separting the main characters from the Waling Dead is their humanity, it is devastating to see a man having to make constant decisions that often seem to move him AWAY from his roots in humanity. Decisions no one should be forced to make, Rick has to make - and his burden is quite palatable.

I am enjoying Invincible a lot, but every month, it is Walking Dead that I can count on for my monthly (hehe) dose of humanity, character action, and also, the sense that I really, truly, never know what is going to happen next. There is a certain safety in the conventions of Invincible (although Kirkman tries to mess with them as often as possible), but there is NO safety with Walking Dead. That lack of a safety net makes the ride that much more thrilling, the character action that much more riveting.


Now on to the books that I did not read, so I was hoping you might have read them and could tell me what I missed out on:

Super Manga Blast #54

Angel: The Curse #3

Queen & Country: Declassified


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