The Comic Queen

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Single-Panel Reviews: Jeremiah Harm, The Last Island, Zombie Tales, Crickets

Jeremiah Harm #2
Boom! Studios $3.99
Plot: Keith Giffen; Script: Alan Grant; Art: Rael Lyra; Colors: Imaginary Friends Studio
This series is really getting good – a touch sci-fi and more than a touch action, this issue finds Harm transporting to Earth, meeting a couple Bronx residents as well as the villains of the series: Ayoma, Dak Moira, and “Fart Boy” who have less than honorable intentions for the future of the Earth. I’d love to see this comic made into a series or movie on Cartoon Network. With the comic’s pacing, characters, dialogue, and plot, this series would translate very nicely to an animated show. Until my fondest wishes are fulfilled, however, I recommend picking up this book.
Bottom Line: B+

The Last Island
The New Radio $6
Creator: Alex Cahill
Simply summed up, this nearly wordless comic is about two boys – one living a solitary life on an island, the other from the city – who don’t get along, whether it’s over things, the island, or personal space. Simply summing up this comic, though, woefully shortchanges the book. The art, as you can see by the sample page, is wonderful – bold lines, expressive features, and every panel serving the narrative. The narrative itself is extremely interesting. I’ve read the book six times now, and each time think the point or moral could be something else. A commentary on our disregard for the last pristine places on Earth? The poisoning effects of things? A political statement? The internal struggles we all face? The book could be tackling any or all of these subjects or more. I highly suggest you read it for yourself and come to your own conclusion, or better yet, your non-conclusion.
Bottom Line: A-

Zombie Tales: The Dead #1
Boom! Studios $6.99
Writers: Michael Alan Nelson, Keith Giffen, Johanna Stokes, Jim Pascoe, John Rogers, Andrew Cosby; Artists: Lee Moder, Ron Lim, Cynthia Martin, Chris Moreno, Ed Tadem, Fabio Moon
Though I’m not a huge zombie fan, I am a fan of well-told short stories, and this comic contains some very well told shorts. A couple of my favorites were “The Miracle of Bethany” (Nelson/Moder) revealing the less than expected consequences of a Biblical miracle, and “Zoombies” (Stokes/Martin) showing a zombie invasion from the perspective of zoo animals. Both of these were a perfect mix of good storytelling and great art. My very favorite, though, was “Four out of Five” (Rogers/Tadem). Though the art wasn’t as much to my taste, the story itself is priceless. It begins with the typical people-fighting-zombies scene and then flashes back to lamentations that we did this to ourselves through science. Every 100 years zombies raise up and we’ve always been able to beat them – until now. I won’t give away the ending, but suffice it to say, it’s a very satisfying punch line.
Bottom Line: B

Crickets #1
Drawn & Quarterly $3.95
Creator: Sammy Harkham
Golem tales always fascinate me. There’s something inescapably intriguing about the mystical and mythical idea of the golem. In this comic, a man is running away from presumably Indians, since he is being shot through and through with arrows as he runs away from the unseen pursuers. Instead of creating his own golem, however, the man seems to stumble upon one. The golem then acts as his protector – if not for the golem, he’d be dead, and whenever the golem isn’t near, the man slips toward death. The man continues on his journey (which we know nothing about yet) with the golem in tow, when they run across a man and his son, and we see the first signs of the golem’s inevitable devastation. That’s really about it for the story in this first installment, but as poorly as I’ve described the comic, it is a great book, sparsely pen and ink illustrated, with a duotone finish, and should prove to be an excellent series.
[note that sample pages are available on the Drawn & Quarterly site]
Bottom Line: A


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