Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weekly Reviews

I've fallen behind with many of my planned reviews for this blog, so I thought that a good way to get back into things would be to write some shorter capsule reviews every week. I'll bet you readers are doubtlessly clamoring to know what superhero comics I bought this Wednesday, and it'd be the height of indecency to keep quiet.

Glory #33 by Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell
I had originally intended to write a much more elaborate analysis of Keatinge and Campbell's excellent revamp of Rob Liefeld's Glory, but unfortunately I never got around to doing it and now the series is wrapping up. While I'm dismayed that things are coming to a close, it's been a great read.

In this penultimate issue, Glory assembles an army of superheroes to do battle with an extradimensional monster of frightening size and power. Ross Campbell has provided all these old Liefeld properties with impressive makeovers, and in many cases these characters are more fully realized than ever before.  The battle scenes are loud and explosive in a way that ostensibly "realistic" widescreen-style comics can never achieve. Tokyo (appropriately enough) is ravaged by wonderfully bizarre monsters, and Glory and her allies bring down brutality upon them. There are sincerely sad moments intermeshed with astonishing violence, and it concludes with a quiet, unsettling cliffhanger.

I eagerly await the final issue and I also look forward to future collaborations between these Keatinge and Campbell. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to review their run on Glory with the attention that it deserves.

I just hope that Prophet keeps trucking along.

Savage Dragon #185 by Erik Larsen
Larsen brings his usual idiosyncrasies and strong storytelling to this issue as the eponymous Dragon is placed on trial for the death and destruction that he caused while under the malign influence of an evil alter-ego. Obviously, the story deals with many ongoing plot threads, but I think that those unfamiliar with the title will find it surprisingly easy to get into; as opposed to the tangled gnarl of continuity that the corporate superhero comics have become. Despite involving aliens and gods and freaks, and despite having been in continuous publication since the early 90's, Savage Dragon has always had down-to-earth and relatable characters. The trial is nicely suspenseful as Dragon's fate hangs in the balance, while his son and step-daughter are forced to cope with this crisis and the other day-to-day drama that gets thrown their way. There are also some old-fashioned superhero punch-ups, and appearances by some old villains. This is the best straight ahead ongoing superhero comic available and deserves a larger audience. Check it out.

Sex #1 by Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski
Joe Casey has made it his mission as a writer of superhero comics to constantly push the concept into new directions. When I heard that he was writing a comic called Sex that featured...well, presumably superheroes fucking...I was thought it sounded like a rather obvious attempt at a polemic. And maybe it would've been if somebody else was doing it, but beneath his frenzied, rock n' roll approach, Joe Casey is a very thoughtful writer. Sex isn't a comic sustained by the supposed novelty of superheroes getting it on. Instead, it investigates the undeniable sexual undercurrents of superhero characters, with particular emphasis on the "urban vigilante" type. In this debut issue, we are introduced to Simon Cooke, who has retired from his life as a hard-edged crimefighter. His drive to defend his city against various evils left little time or energy for normal human pursuits, especially sex. As a result, Cooke is alienated from regular people and unsure how to proceed in his new life. Appropriately, the artwork by Piotr Kowalski feels solemn and uneasy. In the hands of the other artists, the scenes of big city life and Cooke's tentative exploration into its sordid underbelly of sex shows and prostitutes would be depicted with superficial glamor and a sleazy sheen, but not here. The reader is submerged into Cooke's sad confusion.

Despite the density of the dialogue in this issue, comparatively little happens, but it leaves me very curious as what will happen next and I trust Casey to deliver. This the kind of smart, well-made superhero comic that I love to read.

1 comment:

  1. Love Glory and I really love Prophet, such a shame Glory has finished, but i can see Prophet continuing for a while and it will be epic.