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Monday, January 30, 2006

ADD's Quick Hits -- Thanks to last week's birthday spectacular shopping trip to Modern Myths in Northampton, Massachusetts and a pretty heavy week at Earthworld in Albany, NY, I had a metric fuckload of comics and graphic novels to read this past weekend. I haven't rundown a whole batcha comics like this in a while, but I thought I'd give it a shot...

GANGES #1: One of the very best comics that will come out this year, inventive, expansive and entertaining as hell. The very best comics are those that make you want to make your own comics, and I defy you to read this and not want to get started telling your own stories. Kevin Huizenga is fully installed as a member of the modern pantheon of Great Cartoonists, and every move is a joy to behold. Grade: 5/5

NEXT WAVE #1: Ellis making fun of his own (and everyone else's) silliest comic book tropes. Fun, but not anything I feel like I need to read more of. Grade: 3/5

BLACKGAS #1: This, on the other hand, feels like Ellis exercising some new muscles. A zombie story, and yeah, everybody's doing zombie stories these days, but this one feels, after one issue, like the start of a fun story with excellent, full-colour art. I'll be following this one all the way through. Grade: 4/5

GODLAND TPB AND #7: I wasn't sure if I would love or hate this, but with Joe Casey it's always one or the other. This feels like the best thing he's turned out since the glory days of Wildcats 3.0, and Scioli's Kirby impression is being put too good use. In the long run the artistic success or failure of this book will depend on whether Casey and Scioli can both sustain the fun and make it feel like more than mere pastiche, but I am willing to give them some time to see what they can do with this, so far, very entertaining book. Grade: 4/5

JLA CLASSIFIED #16: The closest DC has come to porting the joy of the animated series onto the pages of the comics, where it belongs. Garcia-Lopez and Janson mesh better than I would have expected (I like them both, but they're not a match made in heaven), and really, this should be the main title istead of the unreadable mess the title has mostly been since Morrison left, what, five years or more ago? Grade: 3.5/5

LOCAL #3: Not enjoying this as much as the best of Demo, but much, much more than DMZ (which I dropped after the first issue). Wood seems to excel best when he's telling character-based stories, and this one kind of goes nowhere but is a pleasant exercise in character delineation. I firmly believe Wood's best work is ahead of him, but it's been fascinating watching him develop and occasionally go far, far off the mark (Pounded, anybody?). Grade: 3.5/5

SERENITY TPB: I didn't get this, but I read the series when it was originally published, and if you like Firefly/Serenity, you'll enjoy this. It's a bridge between the TV series and the movie, and be warned that you're expected to know quite a bit about the series in order for this to make much sense. With that said, though, this is very good. Grade: 4/5

SAVAGE DRAGON #122: A very good issue that was long, long delayed. Larsen's ascension as Image Publisher may have critically wounded this continuity-heavy title, which sufferes from a delay between issues. For diehard fans, though, he seems to be making some artistic leaps and the text piece indicates that he has some pretty worthwhile goals for the title long-term. Grade: 4/5

X-MEN DEADLY GENESIS #3: I am finding all of Brubeker's Marvel work readable at worst (this one) and very good at best (Captain America). I will probably never quite get over the cancellation of Sleeper, but it's nice to have good, solid Brubaker comics on the stand on a regular basis. Grade: 3.5/5

SURROGATES #4: A science-fiction parable about vanity and identity, with excellent art reminiscent of Ben Templesmith channeling Guy Davis. I read and dismissed the first issue back when it came out, but a second read has made me a believer in this dark, Blade Runner-like story. Grade: 4.5/5



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