Recent Dorkiness

Something New, Something Different: FUNNYBOOKSINREVIEWAREGO!!

So I got these funnybooks here, and I thought I might, like, review 'em or somethin'. You know. For a change of pace... Stray Bullets: Killers 2, by David Lapham Lapham Killers 2 I was a bit surprised this issue to see the series return to Virginia Applejack so soon. I mean, she's been a constant presence in the book, even when she wasn't its main character, so I don't know why I was surprised. But I was. I guess I expected Killers to focus more on the series' recurring cast of, well... killers. And Ginny isn't one of them. Yet. I don't think. Hmm. Actually, she does say this issue that she spent some time hanging out with The Finger after we last saw her. And that might have been some kind of mill-town version of The Professional, I guess.... (And if it's ever up to a vote as to whether Lapham tells us that story... Count me in for a great big freaking “YES.”) Anyway. Where was I? Ah! Yes! Ginny. This issue finds her in late 1986, seeking shelter with her aunt and uncle. Their marriage has been damaged by madness and depression following the death of their son, and Ginny tries to help fix things. But Ginny's obviously been pretty badly damaged herself, maybe even moreso than before. So things get twisty. There's teenage decadence, a nice guy with a fake foot, and the ugly truths hiding behind the suburban facade. In other words... Everything that makes Stray Bullets great. 5 Star     Moon Knight 2, by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey Shalvey Moon Knight 2 I like this new Moon Knight book. I like it pretty good. Declan Shalvey draws right pretty, and does so in a style you don't often see on the super heroes. And, much like his run on Secret Avengers from a few years back (They're secret! On the moon!), Warren Ellis is writing each issue as something of an exercise in storytelling. The first issue, for instance, was a procedural detective sort of thing, with a protagonist who's clearly insane. This time, he cribs the storytelling device of Ray Fawkes' One Soul to follow the lives of 8 people who are, one by one, being picked off by a sniper. It's a great device, put to good (if far less affecting) use here. If you haven't read One Soul, I won't spoil anything for you. It's that cool a technique. But if you have... It does feel a little bit like someone ripping off The Seventh Seal for the pre-credits sequence of a James Bond film. But Ellis keeps things smart enough that I don't mind so much.

He does that through the reveal of the killer, a cast-off of the military-industrial complex in the era of the corporate militia. This is subject matter Ellis touched on in his novel Gun Machine, and it also seems thus far to be Moon Knight‘s over-arcing theme: dangerous men, damaged by military service and turned loose in the world. It’s a real-world problem, writ large here in the manner of super hero fiction. But I think I like it. Or at least, I like it when it’s as stylish and interesting to read as this book, anyway.

4 Star

 

 

East of West 11, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta

Dragotta East of West 11

I may have mentioned in my review of this book’s previous issue that I really needed to sit down and re-read the whole run. I had this feeling that I’d taken my eye off the ball, enjoying each issue as an individual thing so much that I maybe hadn’t pieced together everything about it that I should have.

I still suspect that might be true, but when Hickman brings several of those disparate pieces together in this issue… I find that I’m able to follow along pretty well after all. It’s an odd story, one that feels like it’s all set-up for whatever comes next, but also the culmination of everything that’s happened so far. It’s entertaining, anyway, and easy on the eyes to boot. So I’ll take it!

4 Star

 

 

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon 1, by Kaare Andrews

Andrews Iron Fist 1

I wanted to like this comic, and… I kinda did. Kaare Andrews is always an interesting artist, whether he’s doing realistic painted work, extreme booty cartoony, or (as is the case here) a stylish homage to Dark Knight era Frank Miller. That’s somewhat evident from the cover above, but becomes moreso inside, where his faces and shapes echo Miller’s something fierce. It’s not shameless copying, understand. Andrews is, as ever, a stylist, and he brings his own sensibilities to things. Whether it’s inventive layout and use of sound effects in an early flashback scene…

Andrews Iron Fist Avalanche

…or dynamic panel construction and bold color in a later battle against some ninjas…

Andrews Iron Fist Ninjas

…he ensures that this book is a joy to look at.

Andrews also leans a bit on Dark Knight era Miller in his writing, however, and that’s where it tends to fall down a bit. It’s all noirish angst and existentialism, written in such a way that the whole thing feels a little silly. There’s just enough of a light touch to it that he almost pulls it off. But not quite. If it weren’t so damned pretty, I’d say it wasn’t worth my time. But it IS that pretty, so I find myself liking it as a pop culture bon-bon.

Of course, I’m not often willing to pay four bucks for bon-bons. So we’ll see what happens when issue two comes out…

3 Star

 

 

DOOP 1, by Peter Milligan and David LaFuente

Allred Doop

I really wanted to like this book, too, and… Man, I really didn’t.

Doop, if you’re not familiar with him, is the only character to survive the best X-Men spin-off ever, Milligan and Allred’s X-Statix. He is, as you can see above, a disgusting-looking lump of questionable morals and mysterious origins. He’s sleazy and weird, and makes no damn sense at all. All of which makes him funny and great, a nastily-amusing anomaly in the oh-so-serious world of the X-Men.

So why didn’t this first issue work? Well, first of all… Look at that cover up there. See how weird and wrong that dude looks? Well, inside he looks like this:

Lafuente Doop

They went and made the bastard CUTE! They made him TOYETIC, for god’s sake! Completely. Wrong. It goes against his entire appeal. He’s not a cartoon. He’s a Thing That Should Not Be. He’s a lump with hairy boils on his head and spindly bony arms. If you saw him in real life, you’d throw up in your mouth a little. But here, he’s Casper the freaking Ghost.

Of course, this book’s failure to please me is not solely David LaFuente’s fault. Because Pete Milligan drops the ball, too. I’m not fond of the “moving in the margins” explanation he offers for Doop’s apparent ability to be places he shouldn’t. But I can live with it. He’s Milligan’s character, after all, so who am I to judge?

But this issue, apparently, takes place between the panels of some recent X-Men crossover story that I didn’t read and don’t care about. I had no idea what was going on, and really couldn’t give enough of a shit to figure it out. So when Doop slaps some kid to get him to man up and go use his healing powers to save… I dunno. Somebody. I don’t remember who, and can’t be bothered to actually pick up the comic and find out. Even though it’s sitting right next to me. Literally, like, three inches from my left hand. All I’d have to do is move my fingers off the keyboard for a minute, and I could tell you who it was. But I care so very little that I’m not going to.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Doop slaps some kid, and I don’t care. But I don’t care about anything that happens here because it’s all dependent on a story I have no intention of ever reading. I was hoping for a stand-alone comic about Doop doing whatever bizarre and ridiculous things the man who gave us Paradax could dream up. But instead I got a mildly amusing spandex fiction tie-in to something I have zero interest in.

I suppose it’s not awful. But, holy crap, I didn’t like it.

2 Star

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About Mark Brett (432 Articles)
Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at http://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at https://dorkforty.wordpress.com/.

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  1. Star Treks and Stray Bullets: The Joys of Damn Fine Pulp Writing – Dork Forty!

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