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Showing posts from November, 2006

Acme Novelty Library #17

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Chris Ware

Spoilers!
Chris Ware continues his Rusty Brown story in the latest Acme Novelty Library, drawing out Rusty's troubled childhood among supporting characters like Chalky White and a Chris Ware who is not the author Chris Ware. Ware (the creator) continues to demonstrate his prowess as a designer (check out that textured cover for yourself) and storyteller through a handful of complex characters in a pretty straight-forward narrative.

This is a very multi-layered work. When Chalky asks Rusty if he wants his Supergirl back, that doll has taken on a resonance and means so much to Rusty: it embodies why he's such a lonely dork (as is also demonstrated by a scene with his sister earlier), his twisted sexual outlook, his warped worldview, and the connection that Chalky and Rusty have, as Chalky sees the Supergirl in the same manner as Rusty does, while no one else has that ability (as demonstrated by the children picking on Rusty for it later). It's also interesting how Ru…

Adventures In Oz

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Eric Shanower

This is a spectacular achievement. Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze), who's huge into Oz fandom along with his partner, continues L. Frank Baum's Oz series here in this illustrated book from IDW Publishing, collecting his five Oz tales under one cover: The Enchanted Apples of Oz, The Secret Island of Oz, The Ice King of Oz, The Forgotten Forest of Oz and The Blue Witch of Oz. That's 256 high quality pages that could for all intents and purposes be sequels to the classic works. This is what Abadazad wishes it were: a magical, wacky universe with loveable characters in a beautful all-ages fantasy, crafted with a real love for the material. I'm sure that this book serves as an absolute treat for any fan of Oz, but has worked backwards for me and made me a fan Oz. I fully intend to read Baum's works in wake of this fantastic read. Shanower brought the characters of Dorothy, Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion and others to life with a craftsmanship that could have on…

New Releases 11/28-12/1

Once again, I didn't get the chance to read any manga this week, so Manga Monday will resume next week with reviews of Eden: It's an Endless World! and Hikaru No Go. And here are the highlights of new releases for this week...

DVD Releases (Tuesday, 11/28)
An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder
The Ant Bully
Bones: Season One
Clerks 2
Disney's Robin Hood
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Superman Returns

Previous Week:
IMDb Top DVD Rental: The DaVinci Code
Billboard Top DVD Sales: Cars

Music Releases (Tuesday, 11/28)
Incubus - Light Grenades

Previous Week:
Billboard Top 200 #1: The Game - Doctor's Advocate

Comic Releases (Wednesday, 11/29)
Acme Novelty Library (Volume 17) HC
The Comics Journal #279
Crossing Midnight #1
Dark Horse Book of Monsters HC
Emily the Strange (Volume 1) TP
Essential Man-Thing (Volume 1) TP
Immortal Iron Fist #1

Previous Month (October):
Diamond Top 300 Comics #1: New Avengers #24 (CW)
Diamond Top 100 Graphic Novels #1: Fables: 1,001 Nights of Snowfall
Diamond To…

In Passing...Snakewoman to X-Factor

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Impaler #2
William Harms, Nick Postic & Nick Marinkovich

Impaler, now an ongoing series, is shaping up to be a really good horror title: Effectively creepy with dark, unsettling scenes. In this issue, a blizzard has come and gone in New York, and the morning has brought with it over three hundred missing persons. The police are baffled as they look for clues as to what happened that blistery night, ignoring evidence that's right in front of them that leads to the supernatural. A

Snakewoman #5
Zeb Wells & Michael Gaydos

Jessica gets an unexpected proposition from her captor as the 68 demand her death. A nice twist to the story at hand leaves me wondering what this title is going to be like in future issues. Michael Gaydos' art, as usual, is fantastic. B+

X-Factor #13
Peter David & Pablo Raimondi

This was an interesting break from the usual hustle and bustle of the series, as each member of X-Factor is in turn given a nice little dialogue with a therapist. It's neat to s…

Fun Home

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Alison Bechdel

With the end of the year encroaching, it's time to play catch-up with some of the big releases of the year. First up, Alison Bechdel's autobiography Fun Home, which has received plenty of praise from critics and is already cropping up on several "best of" lists for 2006.

Fun Home tells stories from Alison's childhood and college years that circle back to two very important events in her life: her father's death and her sexual awakening. Every direction she seems to go with her story leads back to these two things and provide another dimension for each. It's an interesting experiment in non-linear storytelling that really works wonderfully and leaves readers spellbound, putting just the right amount of emphasis where its needed without losing sight of the overlying themes.

The "Fun Home" that the book is named after is the funeral parlor where her parents put on shows and where Alison and her siblings often help out cleaning for the f…

New Releases

Now that I'm more in the know with new releases in DVDs and music, being a music manager at the local B&N, I thought I'd go a little more multi-media and expand the "In Stores" feature to those releases as well. This is Comics and More after all.

The highlights...

DVD Releases (Tuesday, 11/21)
Alias: Season 5
The Double Life of Veronique (Criterion Collection)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Deluxe Edition)
Ice Age: The Meltdown
An Inconvenient Truth
Scoop
Seinfeld: Season 7

So NoTORIous: Complete Series
Star Trek: The Animated Series
You, Me and Dupree

Music Releases (Tuesday, 11/21)
The Beatles - Love
Il Divo - Siepre
Jay-Z - Kingdom Come
Loreena McKennitt - An Ancient Muse
Tom Waits: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
U2 - U218 Singles

Comic Releases (Wednesday, 11/22)
Comics Journal Library (Volume 7): Harvey Kurtzman TP
Essential Captain America (Volume 3) TP
Moomin Complete Tove Jannson Comic Strip (Volume 1) HC
New X-Men Omnibus HC
Showcase Presents The Unknown Soldier (Vol…

Manga Monday 17

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It's another Manga Monday! This week I'll be looking at two books illustrated by the amazing Takeshi Obata!

Death Note (Volume 8)
Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

This is the worst volume of Death Note to date. But that being said, it's still one hell of a book, and at its worst, it's still one step ahead of most of its competition. Obata, of course, masterfully illustrates this suspenseful tale that picks up from where volume seven left off, leading Light to make some hard decisions about his power and the people in his life. Also, a new Shinigami is thrown into the mix, shaking things up and turning some people's plans upside-down. With a certain prominent antagonist out of the mix, this title seemed to take a dip in quality, but the new antagonists create a new sort of tension that may prove, in time, to be more effective than the original (though that does seem unlikely at this point - the successors have a lot to live up to). We'll just have to wait and see, …

White Tiger #1 (of 6)

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Tamora Pierce, Timothy Liebe & Phil Briones

Angela Del Toro, the new White Tiger, leaps from the pages of Daredevil to her own limited series, courtesy of popular fantasy novelist Tamora Pierce. Our tale begins preceding the Civil War events and flows right on past them as Angela picks up her uncle's mantle and gains a name for herself with the help of magical amulets, and decides to become a masked hero despite current events. This is a very typical origin story. And I mean very typical. No new ground is tread in the creation of this character's identity to separate herself from other heroes. It's not particularly creative, insightful or interesting. It feels like thirty-two pages of going through the motions. The protagonist also seems rather uninspired, spouting some of the dullest dialogue I've ever had the misfortune of reading in comics. A lot of talk, not enough action and a really, really lame villain make this is yawner of a tale. I actually struggled to fi…

In Passing...Civil War to Anita Blake

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This week in floppies...

Civil War #5 (of 7)
Mark Millar & Steve McNiven

Spoilers! The latest Civil War wasn't as shocking as previous issues, but introduced a few new elements while moving the plot along at a brisk clip. The Punisher joining the Resistance was kind of strange, as they're kind of "the good guys" of the story and Frank Castle isn't exactly a peacekeeper. Then there's the traitor, which had to happen (and it already did on the other side of the fence with Jennifer Carpenter in Ms. Marvel). Could have been someone a little more high profile than Tigra though. I thought that using the Negative Zone as a prison for the superhumans was a good idea, even if it is just ripping off DC's Phantom Zone... Something else I did like was that the pro-registration side was a little more sympathetic than they have been. A brief scene between She-Hulk and Mister Fantastic illustrates why this was their only choice and why it was important for them to cho…

Astonishing X-Men #18

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Joss Whedon & John Cassaday

MAJOR SPOILERS!

What a fantastic end for the "Torn" story arc! Let's break it down, shall we?

Scott has recovered from Emma's attack and shoots the White Queen he finds in the basement with Kitty and Peter. He then proceeds to shoot the rest of the Hellfire Club, explaining "I'm an X-Man. I don't shoot people. I'm just trying to make a point." What point exactly? That the Hellfire Club isn't really there.

Meanwhile, Hank confronts Blindfold, who's protecting them from Cassandra Nova's mental attacks. The blind girl pulls a box out from behind her back and says she has something that Hank and Scott talked about in case he should degress in this manner, "Something you two talked about. What you might want, might have to do, just in case. He said." This is of course, a psyche out. You're meant to recall the conversation between Scott and Hank from the first storyarc and suspect the mutant cure o…

Manga Monday 16

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Manga Monday returns after a week off with new reviews of the shoujo title La Corda d'Oro and the ever popular Shonen Jump title Hikaru No Go.

La Corda d'Oro (Volume 1)
Yuki Kure

I picked this little number up after a pretty riveting preview in a recent issue of Shojo Beat. Yuki Kure's La Corda d'Oro follows the prestigious Seisou Academy, which is divided into two parts: the music school and the general education school. There isn't much crossover between the two, and indeed when a student from the other department stumbles into the music academy, like our talentless protagonist Kahoko, the students treat her like an alien, wondering what a "gened-er" is doing there. And things only get worse for Kahoko as she is approached by a fairy that no one else seems able to see and selected to enter a music competition that has seen its previous winners go on to be famous musicians...without ever having played an instrument in her life! If she felt out of place just…

In Passing...Batman to Athena Voltaire

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Batman #658
Grant Morrison & Andy Kubert

Grant Morrison's first arc on Batman - Batman & Son - concluded with this issue, offering a satisfying conclusion to what was an overall underwhelming read. Issue two was the only real standout in this very straight forward run, but the creative team managed to make the annoying character introduced to the universe seem, well, at least not so unappealing in the end. C

Eternals #5 (of 6)
Neil Gaiman & John Romita Jr.

Gaiman and Romita continue to weave an intriguing story featuring the Eternals. With this issue, the pieces are all laid out for the final issue and the battle waiting in the wings. Of all the issues released, this is the one that feels most like it's setting things up and not really a satisfying read in itself, though the build-up is plenty fun to watch. B

Fables #55
Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham

The conference taking place in the Homelands concludes as Pinnochio relates what Fabletown's retaliation to an ou…

Wisdom #1 (of 6)

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Paul Cornell & Trevor Hairsine

Bad boy secret ops agent Pete Wisdom gets his own MAX mini-series, the debut issue of which hit stores this past Wednesday. This mature readers adventure pits Wisdom against a swarm of faerie who have been massacring humans unprovoked. A group of secret ops agents back Wisdom up as he travels to the Otherworld to put an end to the madness. Among those along for the ride are fiery faerie Tink and a clairsentient who senses something worse than faerie coming to wreak havoc.

This story reminds me a tad bit of Excalibur because it's very British and has a sort of goofy edge. But this is certainly not Excalibur by any means and if that was the intention of this mini-series, it has failed utterly. It has also failed to be very entertaining. Plenty of characters are introduced in this issue that moves along at an extremely fast clip with little direction and cheesy pages of characters posing saying things meant to be funny that aren't like "Morni…

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall

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Bill Willingham & various

The new original graphic novel spun out of Vertigo's Fables universe boasts the talent of such artists as James Jean, Charles Vess and Jill Thompson collaborating with series creator Bill Willingham. With such talent on the roster, you'd think there would be some real standout art within this book, but the result is rather average across the board, save for series co-creator Mark Buckingham's lovely contribution that takes a surprising detour from his usual work on the title. Tara McPherson also deserves a nod for her fantastic style that was showcased in a Vertigo title from a few years back, The Witching, but has done nothing but improved since. Acclaimed series cover artist James Jean provided a dazzling cover for the novel, but his story didn't stand out as per usual, but rather pales in comparison with the designs of every cover he's done for the series to date.

The overarching story follows Snow White as she tries to persuade the S…

In Passing...Mouse Guard to Criminal

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It was a light week for comics, but that's fine with me since I seemed to barely have time to read four floppies...

Uncanny X-Men #480
Ed Brubaker & Clayton Henry

Henry fills in for Billy Tan for an issue in the most exciting chapter of Brubaker's run to date. This issue focuses on Vulcan and pits him against the Shi'ar's Imperial Guard, with an interesting player thrown into the fray by the conclusion of the book. Great battle sequences. A

Criminal #2
Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

Another great Brubaker title this week, this one following a criminal as he gets his team ready to pull off a heist for millions of dollars in diamonds. The tension is palpable as things get under way, proving this book to be another winner. A

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #2
Robert Kirkman & Phil Hester

The fun superhero book from two great creators remains just as entertaining on its second time out. The origin of the new Ant-Man is pretty interesting: fun and goofy and complicated, but intere…

Niger #1

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Leila Marzocchi

This is a great comic. I haven't heard much about this new Ignatz title from Fantagraphics. It comes from the mind of acclaimed Italian creator Leila Marzocchi and is translated by Kim Thompson. The entire story is told in a woodcut style that reminded me vaguely of Hippolyte's scratchboard illustrations in Dracula, although there's a huge difference, as Hippolyte is very moody and dark, aiming to frighten through a sharp gothic atmosphere, wherea Niger is dark in color, but is a lighthearted children's tale. With a cast of cute cuddly forest creatures, including a barn owl who's constantly turning her head upside down, and a strange animal with man-made wings, the animals (mostly birds) take a strange new creature under their wings and protect it from predators as it grows, communing with a yew tree for guidance in the matter. Marzocchi incorporates red into her black and white illustrations, giving a really beautiful effect of blood-red sunsets and…