From the Comics Bin/Raves and Reviews:
Now, time to check out these picks and pans of comics probably still in your local comic store. I received quite a few books in the last couple of weeks from my friendly neighborhood subscription service. Here are finally those reviews. If you see something you like you can order through your neighborhood store, or just click the title and it will take you to a secured page with run by the cool people at NextPlanet where you can order these books online or mail them payment. Now without futher ado:
I have just read the first great comic of the year 2000, and surprise, surprise it is written by a man named Ellis. The long anticipated STRANGE KISS from Avatar Publishing. The first issue is everything a first issue should be, but so seldom is, and everything we have come to expect from Warren Ellis. It is evocative, beautiful, ugly, glaring, and strangely sweet. And it leaves you, like only the best things leave you, like the memory of a lovers thigh, brushing softly against you in the night; or that first taste of cool lemonade on hot summer lips, it leaves you... wanting more. My advice to you, pick up issue one, if you haven't already, and put in your orders for #2 and 3, because Ellis is taking you all those places you go to scream. Mike Wolfer and Dan Parsons who do the artwork aren't Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary, but they do an admirable job, creating scenes that grip. Definitely Recommended. 8.5 out of 10.
I'm reading these books in order and writing the reviews immediately after, no polish, off the cuff remarks. So bear with the randomness of the selections. I have just read the 2nd great book of the year 2000. It is Planetary #8, Feb 2000 cover date. And its writer is a man called Ellis. Do we see a theme here.
I useto think of Planetary as the poor man's AUTHORITY, one of Ellis's weaker efforts, a middle child between the grandeur and global awe of the big A and the smaller, personal, misanthropic tales of TRANSMETROPOLITAN.
And truth be told I haven't gotten an issue since #3, they are that hard to come by. Issue #8 begins to weave together more closely this loose fitting team of Adventurers. Hard to explain this title, except to say this agency ,that calls itself Planetary, goes out into the wild to solve the unsolved, to manage the unmanageable. They are the X-files for those who live beyond the X. It speaks loads of the gall of Warren Ellis that he could think himself capable of writing a title in every genre, simultaneously, and make them all excellent (horror-hellblazer, superhero-authority, drama /editorial- transmetropolitan, science fiction-Planetary) and it speaks volumes for his talent that he was right.
I really didn't see enough of John Cassaday's work in 99 to nominate him for best artist, but his work on issue #8 is nothing short of beautiful, and if he can keep it up he should definitely be in the running for a Rambling in 2000. And this is in no small part to the glorious coloring job of Laura Depuy, our 1999 Rambling winner for best colorist. It's a lovely story, about unlovely things. Told with style, an wit, and just a little loss. It's a story that puts this title firmly back on my must by list. 9 out of 10 stars.
Just read Robert Rodi and Essad Ribic's tale of apocalyptic doom. Issue #1 of their 4HORSEMEN. And just like the title suggests its about the eve of the apocalypse, December 31st 1999, and Death, Famine, War, and Plague have come to walk among men. But instead of a world ripe for prophesy and death, they find a world so drunk on its own horrors, that these dreaded horsemen seem tame in comparison. Very nice, disturbing read, that says something about us. About our confusion in these latter days. Great script by Rodi is brought to life by the of art of Essad Ribic and the colors of James Sinclair. Definitely looking forward to the other three issues in this series. 8 ot of 10.
Two titles it looks like I'll be dropping are ALAN MOORE'S TOMORROW STORIES and Vertigo's FLINCH. Just got issues 5 and 9 of these titles respectively, I'm followed them since the beginning, and they've had good stories sporadically but on the whole, haven't justified the cost or the time. They join that growing list of titles I've tried and dumped.
Compilation stories, anthologies as a rule are pretty difficult to do well. Only a few comics have managed to pull it off long term, the best probably being the british anthology TOXIC, and for a while there Ellison's. For the most part compilation stories work best as mini-seies such as CLIVE BARKER'S TAPPING THE VEIN or even VERTIGO's recent STRANGE ADVENTURES.
And speaking of Strange Adventure, just got issue #4 today, last issue of mini-series, and it ended strong with a brilliant story by Brian Azzarello. Looking forward to this writers take on John Constantine, when he takes over the reigns of HELLBLAZER from Warren Ellis.
Just read Authority #10. Another issue of the greatest comic of all time. 9 out of 10. Pick it up, and pay allegiance. Only two more issues before Ellis jumps ship. Enjoy them.
Rising Stars #3- From a promising beginning in the first two issues, the book begins to stumble some this time out. First I'm not crazy about the artist, but the first two issues were solid enough to get me to overlook the cookie cutter IMAGE artwork, all poses and no perception. This time out the story begins to seem strained, the hunt for the costume killer, taking on a been there, done that feel. A different artist could have made the story passable, emotive, but as it is I'm exceedingly glad when I'm done with the book. Reading it having been more of a chore than a pleasure. 5 out of 10 stars. Dec 99 cover date.
I really like the way Christopher Priest writes, his work on Black Panther keeps that book on the top of my pile. Issue #15 continues my love affair with his work, as it is at once funny, engrossing, smart, witty, and rich. Sal Velluto and Bob Almond would not have been my preference for this book, but their work is growing on me a little with this issue. Priest's non-traditional narration continues to drive this book, making for a challenging read, and ultimately a rewarding one. Definitely recommended 8 out of 10. Feb 2000 cover date.
Preacher #68- Wow! After months , Jesse comes face to face with the man who left him for dead, stole his woman, and generally screwed his life. His best friend, a vampire called Cassidy. If you have no clue why people love comics, pick up this issue in this series. It's poetry, its life, not the supernatural elements, but the rest, the loss, the betrayal, the love, the humor, the horror, the moments both gentle and sweet that kill us just a little every day. A bloody great series. The hand scene (you'll know when you see it) is priceless. 10 out of 10. Feb 2000 cover date. Oh and for those not up on gibberish he's saying., "They are repossesing everything. They say I have to get out of here!They say the bills never got paid!" ,you'll know the scene when you see it. And it just gets better, bloody brilliant. The ending had me screaming. A+.