The Comic Queen

Zip ribbons and word balloons, Wednesday bliss and Previews dreams. If these phrases mean anything to you, then you're in the right place. But if they don't -- hey stick around anyway. You might just like what you see.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Single-Panel Reviews 2/12/05

Runaways: The Good Die Young TP Digest #3
Marvel $7.99
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan; Penciller: Adran Alphona; Inker: Craig Yeung
I was a latecomer to this series, so I’ve been taking in the digests to see what all the hubbub was about. As a recap, I thought the first trade collecting issues 1–6 was a good start and hooked me. We’re introduced to a group of teens (and one preteen) who find out their parents are members of an evil group named “The Pride” and thus decide to runaway in fear of their lives. The second trade collecting 7–12 fell a little flat for me; the story didn’t advance much, although we did get to know the characters a little better. This third trade is definitely the strongest.

Collecting issues 13–18 (the last issues of the limited series), the history and nature of The Pride is revealed; we find out who the mole is; a new leader emerges in the group; and most importantly, there are equal amounts of drama and action. I think one of my favorite elements were the Gibborim, the giants who set The Pride into motion 25 years ago. I’ve found this to be a fun, smartly written series – solid adventure with interesting characters. I’m looking forward to the new Runaways series beginning next week.
Bottom line: A-

Blood Orange #4
Fantagraphics $5.95
By Tobias Tak, Brian Ralph, Lark Pien, Ted May, Nicolas Mahler, Ben Jones, and Rebecca Dart
As with most anthologies, there are things I liked and things that didn’t trip my trigger so much in Blood Orange #4. I’ve only read issues one and four, but I have generally liked these minianthologies. My main gripe with this issue is on the production side of things. To me, when I read a collection of various creators’ work, I expect to find a table of contents and corresponding page numbers throughout the book. Not so with issue 4 of Blood Orange. In fact, without getting online, I wouldn’t even know which story belonged to which artist in a few cases. I’m not familiar with all of the artists in this issue, so to find out who created “Timshel,” for example, I had to go to The Comics Journal message boards. This is pretty poor editing as far as I’m concerned, and it’s too bad this affects the artists and the book as a whole. However, I am looking forward to the revamped version of Blood Orange, which will be a larger, more regular anthology called Bete Noire (shown in the latest issue of Previews).
Bottom line: B

Gotham Central #28
DC $2.50
Writer: Greg Rucka; Artist: Stefano Gaudiano; Colorist: Lee Loughridge
This issue starts a new storyline—Keystone Kops—and presents a nice jumping on point for new readers. A little backstory would be helpful, but definitely not mandatory as a new investigation (and mystery) begins in Renee Montoya’s old neighborhood. It seems “Doctor Alchemy” will be a player in this mystery, and another unlikely player seems to be Montoya’s father, a neighborhood store owner. Rucka does a nice job in Gotham Central balancing the detectives’ personal lives with their investigation work. It’s engaging reading with real feeling, which is what I find really appealing about Rucka’s writing and in any literature in general.
Bottom line: A-

Angeltown #4 (of 5)
Vertigo $2.95
Writer: Gary Phillips; Artist: Shawn Martinbrough; Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Not as engaging, but still a decent story, is Angeltown. Nate Hollis is still hot on Theophus Burnett’s trail, but, alas, the chase goes on. There is going to be a lot to wrap up in the last issue. I want to like this series, but it just isn’t quite as satisfying as it could be. The dialogue is good, and I like the art quite well, it’s just there are too many characters that we don’t get to know any of them that well, thus making it hard to feel invested in them. Thus, the fatal feeling of wanting to know what happens and yet not totally caring. If the plot was tightened and the cast shrunk, I think I might enjoy the story more. Like I said, I want to like this series, and I’m sure there are lots of people enjoying it. I like it, but I just can’t get excited about it.
Bottom line: B-


  • At 9:23 AM, February 13, 2005, Blogger Brian Cronin said…

    While not a big critique, I do have to note that I was a BIT put off by the whole "Is this character gay?" "mystery" in Runaways. "Who is the traitor?"...that's a cool "mystery." "Is this character gay?" is a bit...less.

    I know you love the Adventures of Renee Montoya and her Get-Along GCPB Gang, but I am not as big of a fan. But this story WAS well-told. And I like the Lark-esque art.

    Angeltown...I'm not a fan, but I love seeing Martinborough get work, so I'll recommend it.

    Yikes...I was about to pick another book as my "favorite" of the week...but it was a real weak week I think I may actually have to pick Gotham Central as my favorite book of the week.

    Just over New Thunderbolts #5, which was a lot of fun, and Captain America #3, which was a well-written, well-illustrated book (just with some artistic decisions that I differed with).

  • At 8:46 PM, February 13, 2005, Blogger Woody! said…

    I agree with Cronin: The New Thunderbolts is going as well as the first run.

    Also, just wanted to congratulate the Queens on your Emerald City Convention coverage. You guys were all over that!

  • At 10:11 AM, February 14, 2005, Blogger Erin M. Schadt said…

    I think the reason I enjoy the storylines focusing on Montoya are more to do with the fact that I really enjoy Rucka's writing, because some of his best dramatic writing happens with this character. Rucka writes a compelling drama, and that's what I enjoy most about Gotham Central.

    As for Runaways, I really didn't see it as a mystery. I think it was just kind of a fact, but not a played up fact. All the kids had their quirks (or defining characteristics) and this was just one of them.

  • At 2:18 PM, February 14, 2005, Blogger Brian Cronin said… being gay was this character's quirk/defining characteristic?

    What is this, Montgomery from Fame!?

  • At 4:03 PM, February 14, 2005, Blogger Erin M. Schadt said…

    No, you stinker, I said this was just one of her characteristics! ;-) It's no different than Alex's crush as far as I'm concerned. He was just more overt about it (that overtness is part of his personality).

  • At 5:20 PM, February 14, 2005, Blogger Brian Cronin said…

    I was just glad the Montgomery from Fame reference went over...hehe.

    You know who did the whole "is a character gay" angle HORRIBLY? Gerry Jones, on his JLA run. That was some awful stuff.


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