The Comic Queen

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Single-Panel Reviews 9/20/04

Mary Jane #4
Marvel $2.25
Writer: Sean McKeever; Pencils: Takeshi Miyazawa; Inks: Norman Lee; Color: Christina Strain

This series happily rolls on and I'm enjoying the ride. In this issue Mary Jane works to calm Liz who is having trouble trusting boyfriend Flash. Liz's fears are not off base as Flash harbors a crush on MJ, but hasn't told Liz about it. The end of this issue hints that MJ and Liz will be fighting come next month and I'm looking forward to see that dynamic play out. I especially enjoy the art in this title. The style is really clean and fresh. It is very light and cheerful. The story is also good and well suited for the Marvel Age line and the book has a sort of teen drama feel to it. It reminds me of the early years of Dawson's Creek before they went to college and it got lame. The book is definitely the WB of comic books. While that may detract a good portion of the comic reading public, remember that Marvel is trying to attract the elusive teen girl market with this book and not your average fanboy. If they can get the book into places where girls shop, I don't see how it could fail. The book is really that enjoyable.
Bottom Line: B+

Owly: Stories of a Little Owl
Top Shelf Productions $3.00
Written and Drawn by Andy Runton

Top Shelf recently released Owly: The Way Home and a Bittersweet Summer, so I thought it would be a good time to take another look at Owly #1. This mini-comic contains two short stories, "Clean Up, Aisle Two" and "Table for One". The first story, about Owly's job at a grocery store is especially great. It successfully masks its social commentary behind a cat and mouse tale (well, in this case, a owl and mouse tale). What is really a "teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime story" is presented as Owly being nice to a down-on-his-luck mouse. Owly is so adorable and charming that you can't helped be left with warm fuzzies after reading it. Everything about it is cute. Top Shelf says this will be its first ongoing graphic novel series and it will be good to see were Owly goes in the future.
Bottom Line: A

Provinces
Bent Comics
Written and drawn by Daniel Collin

Erin picked up this mini-comic at the Comix & Stories event in Vancouver, Canada, in August and I finally got a chance to read it. Published in Spring 2004, Provinces is a the type of autobiographical slice-of-life type stories that I really enjoy. The book isn't one long story, but a collection of 4 panel, one page strips, with a few longer stories mixed in. While the drawing is a bit on the simple side, the comic and the stories are still good. The best spreads are about the narrator and his girlfriend Heather and the longer story "Gastown" about the narrator's short time employed at a restaurant in the Gastown section of Vancouver. This was the only story in the book that conveyed real emotion to me. The rest were really "this is how my day went" strips and while not bad, they just weren't as good as Gastown. I would like to see Collin do more longer stories, like this one, in the future. Until then, Provinces is a good read and can be seen via the link above.
Bottom Line: B-


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