Into the longbox

Madame Xanadu #6 & #7, Wagner, Hadley, Friend. Still formulaic, and the art’s been forced into dark, dank, boring places. Really tough to keep going. I think I’ll ride along until #10 and drop this if I don’t have a reason to stay by then. Disappointing.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #23 & #24, Aragones, Evanier, Amancio/Hardin & Fauchier. While I’ve become less impressed with Madame X as time goes on, Aragones, Evanier and their artist team of the month seem to be hitting their stride. Both of these are smooth, fun, clear Spirit romps. Compared to the best of Eisner’s work, they’re feather light, but they have the a breezy amicability that’s hard to resist. Not great comics, but getting to be a solid read.

Captain America #44 & #45, Brubaker, Ross, Laguna & D’Armata/Magyar&D’Armata. These two end the lightweight arc started in #43. A new villian appears, an old friend is kidnapped and we get to see Batroc the Leaper. And oh, how I love Batroc the Leaper… A fun little arc, but nothing too earth-shattering. Hopefully it’s sowing the seeds for some later excitement.

The Spirit Special #1, Will Eisner. Four classic Spirit stories by the master. It’s particularly interesting to compare the two-part Sand Saref story in here to the version done by Cooke, Bone & Stewart in Will Eisner’s The Spirit #12. The core story is almost exactly the same, yet both draw heavily on the visual and cultural idioms of their time to draw the reader in.

Doktor Sleepless #10, Ellis, Rodriguez. It would be nice if Rodriguez could draw more than one female body type. Admittedly, it’s an appealing frame to hang the differentiating hairstyles on, but come on. These couple issues have been more about putting pieces on the board rather than advancing the plot. We’re certainly learning what the good Doktor has been up to lately, but from multiple viewpoints from players being moved into position. Ellis keeps it engrossing by dribbling out the information and introducing interesting new players.

Secret Six #4, Simone, Scott, Hazlewood. Things are getting tough for our protagonists, and they’re not handling it well. That’s to be expected from people, and they continue to be as believable as characters in a super-hero universe can be. There are still chuckles to be had, but the humor’s tending toward the gallows. And, as one might expect, the character with the most integrity is the one with the fewest scruples. Good stuff.

Sandman: The Dream Hunters #2, Gaiman and Russell. Same great story, different beautiful art and visual interpretation. Comics lovers will enjoy comparing and contrasting the visual treatment of Gaiman’s script by two exceptional artists. A casual reader will enjoy the story and visuals on their own. Great stuff.

Incognito #1, Brubaker and Phillips. The creative team from Criminal doing a take on the pulps from the villain’s point of view. I haven’t been reading Criminal, but after this, a trade paperback or two is in order. Gritty, poetic writing with perfect visuals from Phillips. This is the first step into a twisted world, and I’m looking forward to looking around some.

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