Monday, December 23, 2013

More Overdue Reviews

Lazarus 5
Damn, I love this book. Real science fiction, dark and messy, with a mystery -- who is Forever Carlyle really? The second story arc begins with Forever having gotten a message at the end of the last story that she's not really a Carlyle, but that's not what the new story focuses on. Called "Lift," it focuses on an aspect of life in this dystopian future when the Waste of society, those not in the Families or in Service to the Families, get the chance to be elevated to the service class, aka Serfs. This chapter is mostly setup, but it's a heartbreaking one that shows what life is like for the people in the Waste class when rain comes and a river is threatening to overflow. Writer Greg Rucka and artist Michael Lark bring this world to life with vivid strokes and leave much room for thought. And it has a lettercol, and a good one at that. Someone suggested Katee Sackhoff could play Forever if it were made into a movie, and as good a choice as that is, I have another: Sarah Shahi, currently kicking ass on Person of Interest. If you're not reading Lazarus, and you don't mind dark tales, give it a try. And while you're at it, give Person of Interest a try, too. It's about artificial intelligence, government conspiracies, redemption, and a few other things.

Fairest 21
Someone's trying to kill Snow White and Cinderella in the start of a story by Marc Andreyko. The art by Shawn McManus is nice, but I wish they had better paper in this book, nice slick paper to show off the art/coloring better. The cover, as has been the case for the series so far, is lovely.

Astro City 7
This returns the superheroes to the forefront for a story focusing on Winged Victory. When a team of super powered women get caught committing a crime, one of them claims Winged Victory trained them, which not only puts Vic in personal jeopardy with the law, but threatens all the good work she does empowering women through whatever assistance they need, from medical care for abused women to training in self-defense. This book continues to push the envelope of what a superhero book can be.

Rocket Girl 2
I honestly have no idea what's going on, but what a fun ride this is so far. Brandon Montclaire's writing is zippy and playful and Amy Reeder's art is a delight. Dayoung, the titular hero, is a lead character like no other. Everything is rather timey whimey in this book, so if you haven't tried it yet, you probably should start with the first issue, though they did a decent job catching things up in this chapter.

Codename Action 3-4
The plot thickens as Agent 1001 gains an ally in his hunt for the missing Operator 5 and the people responsible for the dopplegangers that have replaced key government officials across the globe, an ally known as Black Venus, a French operative. The story by Chris Roberson has a definite Man from UNCLE/James Bond feel and the art by Jonathan Lau is luscious. I'm quite enjoying this.

Miss Fury 7
Speaking of dopplegangers, Miss Fury runs into her alternate self in the parallel timelines she's found herself in, a cold version of herself who had never known love. This book is about as timey whimey as it gets. Writer Rob Williams is doing a nice job, and the art by Jack Herbert is also nice. Dynamite has been putting out some wonderful comics these days.

Red Sonja 6
This ends Gail Simone's first story arc and she does so in style, with a few bangs -- well, arrow thrusts -- and a plot twist or two. I got the version with the lovely Jenny Frison cover.

Harley Quinn 1
I picked this up because the 0 issue got great write-ups and well, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti are among my favorite comics creators, so despite not being a big fan of the character -- though I enjoyed her in the late, lamented Gotham City Sirens -- and not wanting to add any New 52 books to my pull list, I had to try this. And damn if I didn't enjoy it. A lot. Harley is a fun character, for one with questionable morals and ethics. She's also a shrink in sore need of a shrink, but as written by Conner and Palmiotti, she's got heart. The art by Chad Hardin suits the book perfectly, really capturing Harley's essence, and having her move to Coney Island is sheer brilliance. The issue is mostly setup, yet is also a great start.

Captain Marvel 17
Carol is still struggling with her memory issues, makes a new enemy while getting the key to the city, and discovers how beloved she is. And Lucky the Pizza Dog is on the cover! Kelly Sue DeConnick writes a lot of emotion into this book and the art by Filipe Andrade is weird and wonderful.

The Shadow
There are now three time periods for this character and I'm reading all of them!

The Shadow 19-20
In the first issue, the Shadow rescues a group of kidnapped women, but is left with a mystery that he pursues in the second issue, a hunt that takes him to the Soviet Gulag to question someone he knew years ago who is now a prisoner doing hard labor. Chris Roberson handles the writing with skill, giving the stories depth, and the art chores are handled by two artists with very different styles. Issue 19 features art by Andrea Mutti that perfectly captures the first half of the 1900s in NYC, while Giovanni Timpano captures the bleak, cold reality of the gulag.

The Shadow Year One 6
The early days of the Shadow continue being explored by writer Matt Wagner, with art by Wilfredo Torres. The Shadow is still trying to take down a mob kingpin, and in trying to help, Margo places herself back in danger. A decent story, but it feels like it's starting to drag.

Shadow Now 3
The Shadow moved up to the present is an intriguing conceit. David Liss has a strong handle on the material and the art by Colton Worley looks like paintings. Or photos in some panels. The book looks amazing. The Shadow's old enemy Khan has escaped prison and has taken down the Shadow's network. Now he's training his granddaughter as his deputy and her mind fogging skills might equal or even surpass that of Lamont. I'm really enjoying this.

I'm almost caught up on current comics, and hope to get through them this week. Then I'll tackle the old ones sitting here, including a LOT of graphic novels and compilations.

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