Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Three 9/28 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.

Star Wars Empire #35, Vigilante #1 and Drax the Destroyer #1 Spoilers Ahead!

Star Wars Empire #35

I enjoyed the previous storyline, but this issue was very, very good. This is probably my favorite comic that I have ever read by John Jackson Miller (He had a run on Iron Man a year or so ago where he made Tony Stark the Secretary of Defense).

The best Star Wars story, I think, is one that appeals to fans of the Star Wars mythos while still appealing to someone who has never seen a Star Wars movie, and Miller achieves this with this issue.

Brian Ching's art works well, as well, supplying a real realistic feel to the drawings that can be annoying in some comics, but works really well for a comic based on real people (at the same time, Ching is clearly DRAWING here, not tracing a photograph).

The story involves Darth Vader and a Commander who cannot see eye to eye with Vader, and when people do not see eye to eye with Darth Vader, they have a funny tendancy to find themselves grasping for air as their body is levitated in the air. The way that the commander approaches this very real dilemma is, to me, handled extremely well.

Meanwhile, at the same time, there is a mystery at foot, and Vader's approach at solving it, and his result AFTER he solves it is both chilling, and very in keeping with the malevolent mind that Anakin Skywalker became as the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Very strong one-shot story.


Vigilante #1

There is a lot to like about Bruce Jones' debut (on his brand-new DC exclusive deal) series for DC, Vigilante.

The art, by Ben Oliver, is very good. Oliver captures the mood of the story well, and manages to give each character in the comic, even the minor ones, separate and distinct mannerisms.

Jones also creates a nice group of characters, and he does it really quickly. The reporter, Lansky, the cop Sovereign, the police psychiatrist Rene Carpenter, and the psychiatrist Justin Powell, who we were SO led to believe was the Vigilante that the last page was quite interesting, as Powell comes face to face with the Vigilante.

All these characters are good and interesting, as is the basic conceit of the Vigilante, which is some guy using the files of a psychiatrist to go after the psychiatrist's evil patients.

In fact, in the whole comic, there were only two real noticeable drawbacks, one not that bad, one pretty darn bad.

The first is that they have detectives arguing over what team Stan Musial played for. That is silly. He is too famous to not know what team he played for.

The second is that Jones has a long scene with a hispanic prostitute, and he decides to use "realistic" dialogue, which means we get "tropple" instead of "trouble," "Jew" instead of "You," "Coot" instead of "Could," it was just SO lame that it really took me out of the reading experience. It was THAT jarring to me.

So, even though it had a lot good going for it, I think that, for this one issue, I would have to say...

Not Recommended!

Drax the Destroyer #1

As you may all know already, I have developed a tried and true theory that states that Keith Giffen is a plotting god, but a scripting devil. Well, astonishingly enough, Drax the Destroyer #1 has pretty good dialogue.

I do not doubt my theory that much, as the back of the issue has (like every other Marvel book this month) a preview of a new Giffen title, "Howling Commandoes," and the dialogue in the short four-page preview is JUST the kind of horrendous "makes the comic painful to read" dialogue that Giffen is known for, but he somehow manages to avoid this in Drax #1, and if he manages to keep this up for the entire series, I think we are all in for a treat.

The concept of Drax is quite simple (to the point of being terribly cliched), but quite effective.

An intergalactic prison transport crashlands on Earth carrying a load of intergalactic folks headed for a death sentence. The ship crashlands in a small Alaskan town (population 2816) where a tomboy and her nerd friend investigate a possible UFO (or at least movie filming). Hilarity will undoubtably ensue in the next issue, as this issue ends with the aliens coming across the children.

The cast (besides the humans) is a vertibale Who's Who of "Really? THAT guy? You're using THAT guy?" characters, specifically Paibok the Power Skrull from Tom Defalco's Fantastic Four, Lunatik, from Giffen's ill-fated attempts at getting him a series in the mid-90s, the Blood Brothers, from Drax's first appearance waaaaaaaaay back in Iron Man #55, and Drax himself.

The banter between the five prisoners is quite humorous, with plenty of good lines, however, Giffen manages to have the humor be more dry than over the top stuff. Lines like "Skrulls don't skulk. We reconnoiter." or the scene where the Blood Brother can't help but challenge Drax to a fight, even though he knows Drax will kick his ass.

Finally, Giffen is having a fine time with the whole dual aspect of Drax's personalities. Is he a moron or is he not? I presume we'll find out in this series.

Finally, Mitch Breitweiser recently signed a Marvel exclusive deal, and man...he is a star on the rise. His work here perfectly captures the deadpan humor as well as the remoteness of the Alaskan small town life. I think we'll be hearing a lot from him in the future.

All in all, I would have to say...


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:

Lady Snowblood Vol. 1

Long Hot Summer GN

Shadowplay #1


Read More


Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

Stan Musial is the greatest ballplayer that the casual fan of today doesn't know. That's what happens when you play for a midwestern team and have a quiet personality.

Were he a jerkass, we'd probably know him. But Stan, he was a great guy. One guy put it well. "If you don't like Stan Musial, you don't like people."

Check out his career stats. They're like science fiction. Dude was a god among ballplayers.

Just hadda share. Damn, was Stan truly The Man. Phew.

10/05/2005 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Agreed, Harvey, but still...way too famous to NOT know what team he played for, I think.

10/05/2005 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

I was thinking more "If you know who Stan Musial is, you probably know what team he played for," but I guess that's splitting hairs.

10/05/2005 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

I have never heard of this Stan character.

10/05/2005 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger G. Bob said...

You know, I can accept a great deal in comics. Radioactive spiders giving you super powers? Check. Yellow sun lets you fly? You betcha. No problem. A sports fan not knowing what team Stan Musial played for? Can't quite stretch disbelief that far. There weren't many players who were more identified with their team than Stan.

Then again, I would need to see the context of the conversation. Perhaps it was something like this;

"I swear! I really am a baseball fan."

"Bull. Prove it. What team did Stan Musial play for?"

"Damn it. You caught me. I don't watch sports. I didn't see the game. Will and Grace was on."

See, in context you could have two detectives disagree about what team Stan played for.

10/06/2005 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

No, G. Bob, it was just two detectives arguing over which team Musial played for, the Red Sox or the Cardinals. This was used as Jones' way of showing how familiar the detectives were with his reporter character.

As they pass him, they ask him, and the reporter tells them it was the Cardinals.

And I agree, it makes no sense.

And yes, Brad, your hair-splitting point is correct, "If you know who Stan Musial is, you probably know what team he played for" IS more accurate than my "He is too famous to not know what team he played for."

So yeah, Jones just dropped the ball there.

Is Jones American? He is, isn't he? If he was British, that'd be an excuse, I suppose.

10/06/2005 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Althalus said...

Long Hot Summer GN

Bought this because the art looked nice... reminded me a little of Rolston. But the story was a bit lacking, though. In the end my main impression was: a little dry, bordering on boring... and what was the point of it all? Johanna over at Cognitive Dissonace sums it up better than I'd be able to.

10/08/2005 04:20:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home