Single-Panel Reviews 11/14/05
Boom! Studios $6.99
Writer: Steve Niles; Artist: Nat Jones; Colorist: Jay Fotos
This is the kind of horror I enjoy—the kind of horror that evokes the memory of reading EC Comics and watching old monster movies. You see the gore and it makes you say “ewww” out loud, but it doesn’t make you want to toss your cookies. I can’t handle that “Ring” scare-the-shit-out-of-you horror. I like the larger-than-life kind of scare. In this case, the scare is literally larger than life. Plot in a nutshell: space shuttle pilot Don Maggert is attacked in space, crashes to the Earth, and becomes the giant monster of the title. Maggert grows bigger with every snack he gobbles up—this consists mostly of animals and people, but he doesn’t mind sinking his teeth into the occasional boat or building. It’s all about the chewy center, after all. This book one of two leaves off with a showdown between the seemingly unstoppable Maggert monster and the Army. I’d say we could use a few more lead characters, and some more plot development, but this book is what it is—an old-fashioned horror book—and I like that the way it is.
Bottom line: B
Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed?
Top Shelf $7
By Liz Prince; “Preface” by Jeffrey Brown
First, I have to thank Prince for putting my mind at ease that I’m not as crazy as I think I am. Most people believe they are the goofiest individuals alive when there’s no one around but themselves and their significant other. Prince dares to put herself out there and reveal her and her boyfriend’s quirks in their most private moments. There are definitely times that I can say “o.k. haven’t been there,” but I think these quirks are much more universal than most people would admit. Prince’s work is on par with Jeffrey Brown, and Brown actually provides a one-page comic that serves as a hilarious preface. So, if you enjoy his work, you should most definitely check out this comic. The only suggestion I’d give is that the lines Prince uses for facial proportion aren’t properly erased, so they show up in the final work. Sometimes it comes off as an endearing affectation, and other times it’s just distracting. Otherwise, I found this book to be funny, sweet, and pretty darn brave.
Bottom line: B+
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 192-196: “Snow” storyline
DC $2.50 each
Writers: J.H. Williams III and Dan Curtis Johnson; Artist: Seth Fisher; Colorist: Dave Stewart
I don’t typically review a lot of Batman comics. They’re usually just how I get my superhero fix (along with a few other comics) each month. This storyline “Snow” from the Legends of the Dark Knight series, though, deserves mention. It’s an alternate, more updated, origin story for Mr. Freeze and takes place during Batman’s early years. So early, in fact, that he tries out what it might be like to have a backup team. He assembles a group of “regular” people, meaning, though they are talented at what they do, they aren’t masked superheroes and don’t have powers. It was nice to see a few unfamiliar characters involved and developed in the story, not only for the storyline itself, but this also reveals Batman’s characterization, as well. The art was fabulous, but difficult to describe. It was more cartoon than many superhero comics but not too cartoony, and Fisher threw in some surrealist and expressionist elements in a manga-type way. In one frame, for example, Gordon gets mad and surreal multicolored streams of steam come out of his ears. It sounds funky, but it was done throughout the books with great effect and in moderation. I really dug the skill of the art, and now want to see more of what Fisher’s done. If you like a good Bat story, I highly recommend this one.
Bottom line: A-
Rag #1 (mini-comic)
By Anthony Acri (email@example.com)
It was hard for me to know what to think about this first “Rag” mini-comic. Acri had some nice turns of phrases, making dialogue that could have easily been a cliché into interesting writing, showing he has the potential to be a very good writer. The art was playful yet serious at the same time—he cites C.C. Beck and Don Martin as influences, and you can see that in his work. The storyline, however, was somewhat confusing—there were a couple layers to the story. It was told by a character who had just bought the comic publishing house “All Star Comics” talking to his secretary, and it appeared that he was telling the story of the two main superhero characters of the publisher. However, it wasn’t always clear who was speaking and as what character. I’d suggest finding a friend who could take over the lettering, which could help readability and clear up some of the discrepancy over who was speaking to whom. Like I said, I think Acri has some good potential here—it would be interesting to see where he takes the mini-comic.
Bottom line: C-