The Comic Queen

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Single-Panel Reviews: 04/07/05

The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty #8
Beckett Comics $1.99
Writer: Gabriel Benson; Penciller & Inker: Mike Hawthorne; Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
This marks the last issue of the series, and my feelings for this issue match those I’ve had for the rest of the series. I really dug the art, and the plot was alright, but had some trouble with the storytelling. My biggest criticism of this issue was that while other issues seemed to take their time with the plot, this wrapped up way too swiftly. The last several pages just went by too quickly in relation to the rest of the series.
Bottom line: B for this issue and the series as a whole

Angeltown #5 (of 5)
DC $2.99
Writer: Gary Phillips; Artist: Shawn Martinbrough; Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Another last issue of a mini-series here. I really wanted to like this series – and I can’t say I categorically disliked it – but the book just didn’t have all the elements it needed to succeed. Phillips offered up a strong and interesting lead character in Nate Hollis, but with so many other minor and inconsequential characters, the story surrounding Hollis was diluted and ultimately drained of personality and drama. It’s one thing to introduce extra characters as red herrings, but another to introduce so many that the reader loses interest in most of them. I’d like to see Hollis in another story, his character explored more, but with the storytelling streamlined and a meatier plot. The art was solid, but just wasn’t enough to save the book.
Bottom line: C+

Street Angel #5
SLG $2.95
Writer: Jim Rugg; Artist: Brian Maruca
This was another “different” issue of Street Angel, and I’m honestly not sure what I think about it. This time the book starts out with Street Angel hiding out in a warehouse with a has-been hero, Afrodisiac. They seem to be at their last stand against a fight we’re dropped into midway. Afrodisiac reveals his backstory, then there’s a Street Angel against the world scene where, of course, she prevails … and that’s about it. There are a couple very nice two-page fighting scene spreads, and the silver-age comic book treatment of Afrodisiac’s backstory is great. It just felt like it needed some more substance. I’m starting to think the best part of the book are the two covers, which are consistently superb.
Bottom line: B-

Or Else #2
Drawn & Quarterly $5.95
By Kevin Huizenga
This issue includes five short tales of varying brevity, most of which follow the character Glenn Ganges. Huizenga’s clean lines and sense of architecture are what consistently stand out in his work. The pacing and tone of the stories let you know right away that Huizenga is in control of the telling and the reader needs to let go and just go along for the ride. This is especially true for the story “The Sunset.” It would be easy to separate yourself from the story and wonder what the heck is going on, but if you let yourself be taken in by the visuals and just go with it, the resolution is entirely satisfying. The other standout story was “The Moon Rose” a simple story about the observation of the moonrise that turns into a wonderful scientific explanation of what Glenn and his neighbors are observing. My only criticisms are that being a reprint of prior material, I’d like to see some new things of Huizenga in “Or Else” and also for a small book (although surprisingly dense) the price seemed a little high. I will admit, though, that it was worth it … so I should probably quit my bitchin’.
Bottom line: B+

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