Thursday, April 14, 2005

This week's critiques so far: Imaginaries, The Athiest, Batman Legends of the Dark Knight & Conan & the Jewels of Gwahlur

Ok, I’ve had time to read a few of this week’s new installments and share them. Just to review my rating system:
[[[[[ is the best – this book is SO awesome, you’re totally nuts if you’re not reading it.
[[[[ is good – if you looking for something new, try it out.
[[[ is OK – only average. Nothing out of the ordinary.
[[ is Not so hot – it looked interesting but I was not impressed after I read it.
[ is HORRIBLE – I really didn’t like it and would not recommend it to anyone.

Mike S. Miller’s The Imaginaries #1—this comic shipped in two covers, which I always think is strange for an indie book, because the collectable demand just isn’t there. But that’s just an aside. Let me tell you a bit about the book. I thought they did a great job of setting the stage. The main theme of the story that will carry across the issues is the story of Superhero G and Imagined Nation. Imagined Nation is the home of imaginary friends of all kinds, which have been abandoned by their “creators.” As you would assume, Superhero G is a cast-off imaginary friend. The comic, thank goodness, doesn’t start with Superhero G finding himself suddenly tossed into Imagined Nation. It starts out with a boy whose parents are having marital trouble, and eventually get a divorce. During the 4 years it takes for them and the marriage to get to that point, Tanner-the child, creates Superhero G as his cartoon friend. But eventually he decides he has to deal with the problem of his parents splitting up like an adult, and he tosses his Superhero G art, and all of the “attachments” he has to Superhero G, into the trash. I liked this bit of back story because it does a good job explaining where Superhero G comes from, and helps the reader understand more completely what is meant by “imagined” and “imaginaries” as it relates to this comic book. It had serious parts and humorous lines. And the art was bright and fun, tying the whole thing together. [[[[[

The Atheist #1: While I have not yet read any of the Hellblazer comics, I did see the movie. The Atheist seems like it’s a very similar story, based on this first issue. The main character seems to have the job of exorcism, and he is also British, but he’s a black man, and he works for the government. Similar ideas with a bit of a different twist. But just because the idea isn’t totally original doesn’t make the book bad. I thought the writing was good, the dialogue interesting. The first scenes did a nice job of depicting a warning of what was happening in the story that the Atheist will have to address later on. The book goes straight into story, and the character development of the Atheist is done in bits and pieces, rather subtly, which seems to work in this story line, as what’s happening is more important that who is taking care of it, because in the act of taking care of the situation we will find out more about who/what he is. It is black and white, so those who must read color won’t like this one. I usually prefer my black and white with some gray – more detailed than just basic line work. And this one is just line work. But it does give a dark and gritty feel to the story, which works well since it is a bit of a dark and gritty story. If you like Hellblazer you might want to give this a try. [[[[

Batman Legends of the Dark #190: This is the first part of a 2-issue arc about Mr. Freeze. The story is being retold to Alfred by Bruce/Batman, so we know that he doesn’t die, even though the last part of the book makes you think he might. It seems that Mr. Freeze isn’t feeling himself. He’s stealing small, seemingly insignificant things and freezing them, and talking about how there won’t be a tomorrow. We will find out next issue what’s really up here, as I’m sure Batman and his super computer and other toys will solve the mystery. This is a good book, Batman doesn’t seem as dark in this comic as he does in some others. Mr. Freeze is a classic Batman bad guy, and they don’t feel the need to get into the past history of the two characters here, which is good because it would bog down the story. There is just enough of the past history to help shed light on this particular arc. I do have to say I find Freeze’s suit to look a bit old fashioned, even though he supposedly recently upgraded it to make it tougher, bullet proof even. It’s baggy and simple, nothing fancy, and it made me chuckle because he looked like a sad old man in baggy pants. Of course, that might the idea. [[[

Conan & the Jewels of Gwahlur #1 (of 3): If you like Conan stories, and or fantasy stories, you will probably enjoy this comic. While the art isn’t as good as the regular Conan series, the story was very well written. Now, I’m not saying the art was bad – it wasn’t as 3-D I guess I’d call it. This was more lines and color, more no-frills--still great drawing. And there was story in it-quite a bit of story for a comic book. So really the pictures were a secondary part anyway. This story takes place before Conan becomes King. He is a rouge and a warrior; very smart and skilled with his sword. I don’t want to give the story away – I’d rather have you read it. So, I won’t get too much into the story line now. Maybe more of the plot when the series has ended. Anyway, this was a light week for comics, so I recommend trying this one this week—to keep you busy reading great comics until next week. [[[[[

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