Sunday, August 17, 2008

Love and Rockets: New Stories #1

Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez
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The Hernandez Brothers's popular Love and Rockets series has relaunched in a new annual format, where the book can now be ordered through book stores in a nice trade paperback format - a good idea, as this type of thing seems to work very well for other artists such as Chris Ware. Unfortunately, this also means...we will only see this book once a year, which is a shame, but I do feel like The Hernandez Brothers's works generally read much better in long chunks of story anyway, so for me, this is ideal.
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I believe Gilbert will be doing more Palomar stories in this book in the future, but he was originally planning on saving Palomar stories for original graphic novels, contributing other short stories to the Love and Rockets comic pamphlet. When this new format was announced however, it became a good place once again for the creator to bring Palomar back into the fold. But as is, with this debut issue of the third incarnation of Love and Rockets, we get several short stories from Gilbert - no Palomar this time around, but mostly weird science fiction tales, and one story he illustrates that is written by Mario Hernandez. But what I really enjoyed in this volume was Jaime's story that sort of bookends this collection, focusing on his character Penny Century who has been pining for superpowers for years, and has finally received her wish. This story is huge and epic, and beautifully illustrated, as is the usual for both of the brothers, but it's a fun superhero romp, the sort that you'd expect to see from Marvel or DC in a perfect world, but much stranger, and of much higher quality that we're used to.
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Overall, great first volume of the new Love and Rockets. Some of Gilbert's stories were way out there and instantly forgettable, as is the case for Mario's story as well, but it was a pleasant reading experience. Gilbert's Palomar stuff is just far and away much better than the fun, whacky stories produced here, that I can't help but hope that he abandons these experimental stories altogether for exclusive Palomar material. The highlight of the book was easily Jaime's Penny Century story, which will be continued in next year's edition.

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