Friday, January 16, 2015

fatale: death chases me


fatale: death chases me
ed brubaker & sean phillips
graphics/mystery/horror
image comics
published 2012

In modern times, Nicolas Lash stumbles upon a secret that will lead him down the darkest path imaginable...to a seductive and ageless woman who's been on the run since the 1930s.  And in 1950s San Francisco, reporter Hank Raines crosses paths with that same woman and gets caught in a vicious triangle between a crooked cop and a man who is more monster than man.  But who is Josephine and what is her secret?  And how many men will die and kill for her?

I picked this up more out of curiosity than a real desire to read an Ed Brubaker book that wasn't Batman.  But I found that I loved it.  The mystery, the creep factor and the artwork are all plus tens.  I loved every page even when I thought after flipping through initially I wouldn't care much for the art.
The story is well told and fast paced.  There are times when the artwork makes certain male characters vague so it takes a moment to figure out who the focus is on, but it's not that big of a complaint.  The best thing about the book is that it's obviously a continuing series and there's more mystery to be uncovered, but I didn't feel left hanging.  I want to read more, but I wasn't left at a point in the story where you're more upset than curious.  Gooooood stuff!

detective comics: faces of death


detective comics: faces of death
tony s. daniel
graphics/crime/superhero
dc comics
published 2011

The Joker has gone missing from Arkham Asylum and even Batman cannot comprehend the grisly evidence the madman leaves behind.  Something strange and terrible is happening in Gotham City, and it all seems to revolve around a new villain known as the Dollmaker.

Now Gotham's latest psychopath has kidnapped two more potential victims - a young innocent girl, and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon.  To save them, Batman must offer up something more enticing to the Dollmaker as bait: himself.

Will the Dark Knight be able to learn the secret of Dollmaker, his mysterious masters and their tie to the missing Joker?  Or will Dollmaker take Batman apart piece by piece?

This one could have been ridiculously amazing.  The Dollmaker not only does creepy things, but he looks creepy and his entourage is creepy.  The Joker gets his face removed and Snakeskin can remove his face at will.  So much yummy creepiness.

Unfortunately, none of that went anywhere!  Everyone just kind of fades away and that's it.  I was disappointed.  Despite that it did flow nicely and the artwork was great.  It's a series I would consider continuing if only to see if the Dollmaker appears again.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

batman incorporated: gotham's most wanted


batman incorporated: gotham's most wanted
grant morrison & chris burnham
graphics/superhero
dc comics
published 2012

Talia al Ghul has come to Gotham City, and hell follows her.  The legions of Leviathan - the crime-cult whose ring of death chokes the world at her command - have conquered the city.  Batman and his allies are hunted in its streets, and her champion reigns uncontested.  Some call him the Heretic.  Others call him the Fatherless.  Some even dare to call him Leviathan itself.  But to Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul who fights his father's enemies as Robin, there's only one word for this man-made monster:  Brother.

Now these two scions of the world's greatest detective and its greatest criminal mastermind will clash.  Only one will survive.  And over the body of the slain, Batman and Talia will meet for one final, terrible battle.

Now I've finally read what I should have read before Batman & Robin.  It was....slightly underwhelming.

There is a ton of stuff going on with a ton of characters that frankly, I couldn't care less about.  Some of them look so similar that I just stopped trying to tell them apart.  Also, Damian literally looks like a three year old.  Why is he so short?

Everything's jumping around, you barely get a moment to process what has actually happened and then more bouncing until finally you're done.  Or at least you think you are until you find you have some stories (or 'case files') of Jiro and Black Canary, The Knight, Nightrunner, El Gaucho & Raven Red.  And like I said before, I couldn't really care less.  Jiro's were strange, but kind of fun and The Knight was really sad following the events of Batman Incorporated, Volume 1, but the others we all just filler.

Had this not been part of a story line I was following I don't think I would have read it.  Who am I kidding?  Of course I would have read it and probably been more disappointed than I am now.  *sad face*


maniac killer strikes again!


maniac killer strikes again
richard sala
graphics/horror/comedy
fantagraphics
published 2003

A collection of long out of print stories from the late 80s to the early 90s.  Maniac Killer is full of deformed monsters and secret societies, of a murderous clan of cat-masked villains and simple mad scientists.  In the multi-chapter "Thirteen O'Clock" a serial killer bearing a corkscrew strikes repeatedly while a glowing, disembodied skull talks to the victims.  But the enigmatic detective Mr. Murmur solves the crime and shares the motive, too ridiculous to be explained here.  It combines noir mystery with absurd humor.

There is no other way to describe this collection of stories than to say it is very silly.  Very, very silly.  The end.


level up


level up
gene luen yang & thien pham
graphics/fantasy
first second
published 2011

Dennis Ouyang lives in the shadow of his parents' high expectations.  They want him to go to medical school and become a doctor.  Dennis just wants to play video games - and he might actually be good enough to do it professionally.

But four adorable, bossy, and occasionally terrifying angels arrive just in time to lead Dennis back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology.  It's all part of the plan, they tell him.  But is it?

Another coming of age sort of tale.  Dennis is wrestling with the expectations of his parents and his desire (and talent) for playing video games.  And seriously, what kid hasn't had to deal with this?  Along the way Dennis makes friends and falls in like with a girl who tries to set him straight when it comes to his destiny.  It isn't until he's faced with the broken promises of his father that Dennis starts to think for himself, but is it really the right kind of thinking?

The artwork is simple, but fitting.  The angels kind of reminded me of Powerpuff Girls.  Though I liked everything about this, I didn't love it the way I loved The Shadow Hero, but that's okay.  Can't love everything, right?


curses! foiled again


curses! foiled again
jane yolen & mike cavallaro
graphics/fantasy
first second
published 2013

Aliera Carstairs is back.  This time she's got her cousin - and best friend - Caroline in tow, and the stakes are higher than ever.  The realm of Seelie, the fairy kingdom of which Aliera is the hereditary defender, is under attack, and only Aliera and Caroline can set things right.  Caroline, fragile and wheelchair-bound may seem like more of a liability than an asset, but Aliera knows there's more to her quiet cousin than meets the eye.

Just like the first book I felt this was a little rushed at the end.  It seemed to take it very slow for most of the book and from the description I thought Caroline would play a bigger role.  I was looking forward to seeing what her contribution would be, but instead three quarters of the book is Aliera yelling at Avery.

Not as good as the first book, but I loved the art and the use of color.  I'm sure there will be another one, or at least I hope there will since so far, nothing has happened!

revival: you're among friends


revival: you're among friends
tim seeley & mike norton
graphics/horror/mystery
image graphics
published 2013

For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life.  Now it's up to Officer Dana Cypress to deal with the media scrutiny, religious zealots, and government quarantine that has come with them.  In a town where the living have to learn to deal with those who are supposed to be dead, Officer Cypress must solve a brutal murder, and everyone, alive or undead, is a suspect.

I think that the problem with reading an ongoing series is that when you start out there is just so much info thrown your way that it gets a little overwhelming and then it just ends.  You either wait for the next volume to come out or you go out and buy the continuing issues.

There are so many unanswered questions and frankly, really confusing aspects that I'm still shaking my head at, but for the sake of a no-spoiler review I won't go into that here.

There was enough interesting meat to the story that I'm interested in continuing, but this has to be said: The premise of this is just too similar to Torchwood: Miracle Day (that I hated, HATED).  Of course, there are numerous differences, but the basics are the same so that leaves me kind of meh about the whole thing too.  Hopefully, I'll get over it so I can see why people rave about this one so much.

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