The Comic Queen

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Friday, August 13, 2004

Single-Panel Reviews Catch Up 8/13/04

I’m working on catching up on a long backlist of comics, and here are a few I’ve read.

Conversation #1
Top Shelf $4.95
By James Kochalka and Craig Thompson
This is a great little experiment from Top Shelf. They pair up two of the big names in small publishing – Kochalka and Thompson, for this look at comics, art, spirituality, and sexuality, among other things. The 48-page comic is black and white and 5 inches square. Bite-sized format, but the content is a lot to chew on. Each artist takes every other page to respond in their own distinct style. Kochalka appears as his American Elf self, and Thompson looking like his Blankets perosona. I highly recommend this book and look forward to seeing Conversation #2. My only criticism/suggestion to Top Shelf is to include a short paragraph of a preface explaining the project either on the back cover or first page of the book.
Bottom line: A-

Street Angel #1 & #2
SLG $2.95 each
By Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca
I have to say I enjoyed #1 more than the second, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment. If you want some off-beat fun and frivolity with minimal sense-making, then you’ll want to check out Street Angel by SLG. Street Angel is a teenage girl who lives on the street in a world where ninjas run rampant -- and she’s the greatest ninja of them all. It’s presented in black and white, with clean inking and a simple realistic drawing style. It’s kind of like a road trip with no destination in particular. You’re in the car for the fun of the ride, and you don’t really ever care where you end up. It’s just not about that.
Bottom line: B+

Batman #627-630
DC $2.50 each
Writer: Judd Winick; Penciller: Dustin Nguyen; Inker: Richard Friend; Colorist: Alex Sinclair; Letterer: Clem Robins
This four-part storyline titled “As the Crow Flies” was average on the whole, but it had some nice moments. I liked it overall, but I had more hope for it early on. This dark storyline follows an uneasy alliance between Scarecrow and Penguin. I thought the first part was by far the most interesting and promising; unfortunately the storyline as a whole just didn’t quite measure up to the high bar Winick set for himself early on. It felt like it needed to be only three issues long – the third and fourth issues just felt a little padded.
Bottom line: B

Astonishing X-Men #3
Marvel $2.99
Writer: Joss Whedon; Artist: John Cassaday; Colorist: Laura Martin; Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
I won’t say much, just that this title brings new hope to the X-Men series. For awhile I didn’t think I’d be recommending any X title, but I really love this series. The art, the writing -- the best. Bottom line: A


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