Thursday, November 03, 2005

Some brief comics stuff...

Last week's comics arrived yesterday (finally), and I read all the new first issues last night. Just some quick thoughts:

Loveless by Brian Azzarello & Marcelo Frusin, from DC Comics/Vertigo
I had really enjoyed Brian Azzarello's 100 Bullets series when it first started, but drifted away from it. (The intent is to read it as it's collected in books, but I'm even behind on reading those... Still...) But a new creator-owned series from him, I'm glad to buy in single issues, particularly since it's a dark western, which won't necessarily be a huge hit. It's hard to tell from this first issue exactly where the story will be going, but from the tone, the dialogue, and the art, it looks like it'll be an interesting ride, wherever the creators decide to take us.

13th Son: Worse Thing Waiting by Kelley Jones, from Dark Horse Comics
'Bout time Kelley Jones wrote something again, as well as drawing. He's been one of my favorite monster artists for years, with these weird, distorted creatures that don't look like anything we've ever seen before. And his writing is just as wild. This starts off feeling like a left-of-center urban myth/folklore thing about a monster that kills monsters, but he manages to give it just enough connections to the human world to make the reader not feel completely alienated. And it's got a great, quiet cliffhanger ending.

Book of Lost Souls by J. Michael Straczynski and Colleen Doran, from Marvel Comics
While I don't worship the ground that writer JMS walks on like some (a rep based mainly on the TV series Babylon 5, which I thought was interesting enough in its conception for me to watch all the way through and buy the DVDs, but flawed in exection), I really enjoyed his comics series Midnight Nation. And while I'm completely unimpressed with his Spider-Man comcs (surprise), I was willing to give this new creation of his a shot. Besides, it's got art by Colleen Doran, who I've been a fan of since we were both kids, apparently. (She started A Distant Soil when she was 16, I think.) This tale, about a man who has to walk among the "lost souls" and tip them towards good or evil feels very similar in tone to Midnight Nation without duplicating the story, so I'll stick with it. (Only does every other page have to be an advertisement?)

Fear Agent by Rick Remender, Tony Moore, and Sean Parsons, from Image Comics
This was pretty highly anticipated by me. It was promoted as being highly influenced by the EC sci-fi comics of Wally Wood, and it definitely has that feel. No carefully thought-out science fiction premises here, not if they get in the way of a two-fisted action hero fighting a giant brain using alien ape-creatures to build some sort of rocket-thing on a primitive planet. Unlike G0dland, however, which really wears its Jack Kirby influences on its sleeve, this feels more distanced from its influences. Probably because the Wally Wood stories that give it its tone and surface details were eight-page self-contained stories, whereas this is a full-length story, the first part of a five-part story about an ongoing character. The important thing, though, is it does capture the sense of action and excitement and fun that it set out to capture, and makes me want to come back for more.

Haunted Mansion from Slave Labor
This was another one I was pretty excited about, and again, I was not disappointed. It's an anthology comic about the Disneyland ride, and does a really good job telling a diverse set of stories about the characters and situations we see on the ride. The stories would work just fine if you didn't know the connection to the Disney thing, I think, and they don't make a big deal about how they do connect. They don't shout, "See? This is the guy from this scene right here, we're telling his story, get it?" The tone is the same sort of light-creepy that Slave Labor has made popular with their line of comics like Lenore and Gloomcookie, which fits perfectly with the original ride (not too scary, not too funny). Definitely a success, definitely looking forward to the next issue. Now, if only they can get the attention of the vast universe of Disney fans/collectors...

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