Saturday, May 12, 2007

Back to the new comics reviews

Ashley Wood's D'Airain Aventure #2
Written by Ashley Wood, T.P. Louise, and Chris Ryall
Art by Ashley Wood



I loved the first issue of this comic, and this issue delivers more of the same coolness. In addition to the continuation of the three running stories, we get a two-pager called "The Robot War", with images of warfare on a large scale, but without much context. More is promised next issue.

"Les Mort 13" has a short chapter, with the skull-faced magician character wandering through a deserted town and being attacked by a robot:



He meets a soldier who then turns into a weird guy who questions the nature of reality. At least, I think that's what happens. It's rather weird, but I'm riding it out.

In the second chapter of "Black Magick", a house has appeared in a neighborhood, and everyone is either weirded out by it or ignoring it. There's also a guy talking on a cell phone in a car who seems to know something about it, calling it Crowley's house. I assume he means Aleister Crowley, the famous occultist. I guess that's shorthand for "haunted". Three kids decide to check the house out, and we get a "To Be Continued..." Here's a nice image from the story, demonstrating Wood's ability to draw women:



Finally, we have another chapter of "Zombies vs. Robots: Which Came First?" Last time, some scientists were testing out a portal/time machine, and the guy who went through the portal was reduced to goo. So the remaining scientists argue some more, have their robots clean up the mess, then send another guy through, this time with more physical reinforcement:



I love Wood's depiction of technology like this, big sturdy suits and boxy, dome-headed robots. Unfortunately, we don't find out what awaits on the far side of the portal, other than another "To Be Continued..." message.

The issue is another good showcase for Wood's art, but nothing big seems to happen in any of the three stories. It might have been more satisfying if they had focused on one or two stories at a time, rather than giving us such small pieces of each. But that's not that big a complaint, as the series is really a method to display Wood's pretty pictures, and it surely succeeds on that level.
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Chronicles of Wormwood #3 (of 6)
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Jacen Burrows



We get to see Wormwood and Jesus's afterlife road trip this issue, as they visit heaven and hell. Well, they only just get to hell at the end; a good amount of time is spent in heaven. Ennis's version of heaven here is rather egalitarian and non-Christian; you get in based on whether you lived a good life, regardless of your religion. That seems different than Ennis's usual skewering of religion (in Preacher, mostly), but I guess it's just mocking in a different way. There's some funny gags (especially one about a suicide bomber), and some really nice imagery, like this scene of heaven:



Is that a celestial roller coaster? Burrows is quite talented, filling his art with lots of details without making it seem cluttered. Overall, a good issue, where not a lot happened, but we get some worldbuilding and progress of the main plot (the Catholic church thinks Wormwood is going to hell to raise his army). I suspect the conflict will really start to ramp up next issue.
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Rex Libris #8
By James Turner



I'm surprised Chris Sims didn't slobber all over this issue; it contains more face-kicking than even Iron Fist! Behold:









That's a good example of the content of the issue. Rex, in the pages of the Book of Monsters, fights Nazi zombies and other such menaces, while his fellow librarians Hypatia and Circe fight the monsters that have escaped the book's pages and are menacing the library. You can see past issues for more explanations of why all this is happening; this is the final part of a story arc, so it would be a long description to get caught up. Needless to say, it is quite awesome. Check it out; I'm sure the book could use more readers.
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DMZ #19
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Ricardo Burchielli, Nathan Fox, and Viktor Kalvachev



Part 2 of "Friendly Fire" gives us another person's view on the "Day 204 Massacre", as Matty gets to interview Sergeant Nunez, the gung-ho commander that ordered his men to fire on the civilians. It might just be my interpretation, but I found him to be an interesting character, and different from the usual villainous portrayal of the hardcore military guy. For one, he is from New York, so he's fighting on the streets of his hometown, and it's obvious why he would be angry about what's going on. He does seem to be a sadistic asshole, taking pleasure in killing people whether they are soldiers or civilians. But he hints that he's just doing what he is trained for, tellingly saying, "You gave us the tools...Get out of the fucking way and let us do our job." He's a product of the military system, and it's chilling to see him do his work. I believe Viktor Kalvachev does the art for his flashbacks, and it's quite effective, especially in scenes like the aftermath of the massacre:



Nice colors there by Jeromy Cox. I also like the expression on the sergeant's face when he's "doing his job":



That's creepy stuff. Next month, Matty will get to interview people from the other side of the conflict, so maybe we'll get to learn what the "protest" was that sparked the massacre. And see if the story comes out different from that perspective. I can't wait; this book just gets better and better.
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I think that's all for long reviews. I also read Jack of Fables, and it was a fun ending to the Vegas storyline. In Y: The Last Man, Yorick finally met up with Beth, but that was on the last page, and the rest of the issue was good, but fairly unremarkable, in my opinion. I also read Spider-Man/Fantastic Four, and it was quite enjoyable. I could go into detail and scan some images, but I don't really feel like it, so I'll just say that it's good Jeff Parker writing with very nice Mike Wieringo art, and I recommend it.
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Okay, that's all for tonight. Maybe I'll do something tomorrow, maybe not.