Comics Capsules

As I’m sitting down to file the comics I’ve bought this week, I thought it might be worthwhile to throw up some capsule reviews.  From least enjoyable to most:

  •  Sandman Mystery Theater 5 of 5 (John Ney Rieber & Eric Nguyen)
    • This series seems to be setting the stage for a new Sandman series.  I was a big fan of Wagner and Seagle’s Sandman Mystery Theater and the book being on my pull list got this pulled for me.  I wasn’t really blown away.  The characters didn’t compel me particularly strongly and the art was muddy in places that made it difficult to follow the action.  It was atmospheric though. Wagner and Seagle’s work took a while to grow on me too.  Origins are always difficult to get right.  I’d stick around for another series, probably.
  • Jonah Hex #18 (Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Val Semieks)
    • Heh.  Hex.  Well, it’s not Lansdale/Truman, but I’ve been enjoying this incarnation of Jonah Hex.  Not undying literature, but good pulp western fun with an almost completely irredeemable “hero.”  Almost always worth it, with a few gems.  This one was worth it.
  • The Spirit (Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone & Dave Stewart)
    • I’ve been enjoying Cooke and company’s take on The Spirit.  I’m a little surprised by that.  I hold The Spirit in high regard and I’d be pretty perturbed to see a bad version on the shelves.  This team’s doing a good job keeping the spirit of the classic stories without being tied to the history slavishly.  They’ve moved the characters into the 21st century but kept their heart.  This issue seems to be the beginning of moving the characters along a real dramatic arc, where the first two (an introductory and fairly generic Spirit tale and a P’gell rewrite) were more taking them out for a spin to make sure they handled OK.  It’ll be interesting to see if they can maintain their sure hand as they set out to take more ownership of the story.
  • All Star Superman #7 (Grant Morrison, Frank Quietly)
    • For my money, All-Star Superman has done a great job at capturing the feel of Silver Age Superman stories without making you feel stupid for reading them.  Considering how goofy some of those stories are, this is a feat in itself.  Beyond just working the plot kinks and restoring a sense of wonder for the universe that Superman inhabits, Morrison and Quietly have been showing that these characters deserve to be the enduring touchstones they are.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Jimmy Olsen portrayed as someone who deserves to be “Superman’s Pal” because he’s gutsy, competent, and selflessly brave rather than the relation being deus ex machina.  Now, that issue wasn’t this issue, which is one of the weaker ones of the run – I’ve never liked Bizarro.  Still the series is fantastic.  Worth riding the dip.  The trade hardback for the first 6 issues is out this week as well.  Treat yourself.
  • Fell #8 (Warren Ellis, Ben Templesmith)
    • Yum, Fell.  Ellis and Templesmith’s regular trip to the PD of the worst place on Earth is as good as usual.  The series is a series of one-off books with a very loose continuity, much more Dragnet than Hill Street Blues, but each story has some wonderful hook.  Intended as a simple comic for people who just want a good story and don’t want to follow any kind of continuity, it delivers a pop every issue.  And, as one of my comic shop guys said – it’s cheaper than anything on the shelf with no ads.  Buy it.  (Not for kids, though)

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