Even Homer nods, and Garth Ennis is certainly due a slip after scripting roughly 40 issues of the Marvel Universe's pre-eminent psychopath. This is thEven Homer nods, and Garth Ennis is certainly due a slip after scripting roughly 40 issues of the Marvel Universe's pre-eminent psychopath. This is the first time Ennis's one-shot stories have really felt like filler, even with a cameo from upcoming Daredevil season 2 co-star Elektra Natchios. The rather conventional horror story "Hidden" features some impressively moody artwork from tom Mandrake and some of the author's trademark tastelessness. However, it's missing the soul-crushing character insights of previous arcs. In contrast, Frank takes a backseat in the opening storyline, "Brotherhood," which just happens to be this collection's finest hour. Ennis (once again with Dillon) filters questions of duty and honor through the story of two cops who've unknowingly caught the Punisher's attention. These three issues are packed with the kind of character-defining dialogue you used to find in Tarantino films, leading our players to a final act that's as inevitable as it is illuminating....more
Roberts (with a little help from his friends) continues his carnivalesque chronicle of the life and times of Chester Carter. However, this volume is fRoberts (with a little help from his friends) continues his carnivalesque chronicle of the life and times of Chester Carter. However, this volume is far from more of the same--because Chester's just started college! Roberts meticulously records Chester's initiation into (and inevitable abuse of) his newfound undergrad freedom. The normalcy is refreshing, even as the nightmares of Chester's lineage start to creep back in near the end. Obviously you'll want to start with Plastic Farm, Part I: Sowing Seeds on Fertile Soil and Plastic Farm: Fertilizer, an interlude in three aprils. ...more
I generally find Deadpool's whole "meta" schtick pretty grating, which may be why I enjoyed this early outing by Waid, Churchill, and Lashley so much.I generally find Deadpool's whole "meta" schtick pretty grating, which may be why I enjoyed this early outing by Waid, Churchill, and Lashley so much. Waid embraces the cartoonish elements of the character with pop-culture-inflected banter, over-the-top action, and chases a la Wile E. Coyote. However, there's also a vulnerability to Mr. Wilson here that's more interesting than the funhouse navel-gazing of latter-day tales. The art by Churchill -- and later Lashley -- is weighed down by the usual Nineties excesses (thanks, Image). It seems to fit the high-energy storyline, though -- or maybe I'm just getting more forgiving in my old age....more
I typically skim through the acknowledgments, but I was interested to find that this book traces its lineage back to Campbell's 1979 thriller, The FacI typically skim through the acknowledgments, but I was interested to find that this book traces its lineage back to Campbell's 1979 thriller, The Face That Must Die:
"Back in the seventies Julie Davis, one of my editors at Millington, suggested a way of re-conceiving [that book] to make it more emotionally involving. Though I didn't take her advice, there's a sense in which Ghosts Know develops the theme she thought I should have made central to the earlier novel."
TFTMD is the only other Campbell I've read to this point, and I have to say I appreciate that the author left the original as is. This book certainly feels more intentional in many aspects, including its taut plot and sharp satire of current corporate and media climates. But that tight control may be why I didn't find it quite as rattling as its less-restrained precursor.
I did still find quite a lot to like, however. Campbell's talk-show host narrator is savvy and well-intentioned, but also exhausted by his efforts to make the world -- and his own life -- any better. An interview with a stage psychic seems like an easy way to reveal another charlatan and gently educate his audience at the same time. When the family of a missing girl turns to the psychic for help, though, the lines start to blur -- as they so often do.
Ghosts Know works best as a look into the minds of media personalities (and their often-conflicted motivations), but may disappoint readers looking for more of Campbell's trademark dark flourishes. ...more
This series has done more to endear me to the Star Wars universe than five-and-a-half movies ever could. This volume especially features a fantastic bThis series has done more to endear me to the Star Wars universe than five-and-a-half movies ever could. This volume especially features a fantastic blend of short dramatic vignettes and absurdist off-model takes on the classic characters. I have a soft spot for the latter, especially Dave Cooper's batty tale of a cantina band on the run and Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier's slapstick skit. But I also loved Jim Woodring and Robert Teranishi's "Life, Death, and the Living Force," which weaves the SW series' dangling spiritual threads into a beautiful (and succinct) new tapestry....more
This is one of those "all-ages" books that's actually worthy of the description.
In these short stories, Venus navigates her friendship with the reserThis is one of those "all-ages" books that's actually worthy of the description.
In these short stories, Venus navigates her friendship with the reserved Yoshio, competition with the unapologetic Glinda, and stress of educating her young sister Marie. The continuity-free stories and compact size of the collection also make this a great book for sharing with younger readers (while showing off the beauty of Gilbert's individual panels).
It's hard to imagine that fans of Gilbert's more mature work won't appreciate this one as well. There are some clever metafictional call-backs, including a dazzling dream sequence at the end. More importantly, though, the book showcases Beto's impressive talent for depicting childhood in all its wonder....more
Even a brief summary of this volume's plot (or of L&R in general, really) would make it sound hopeless soap-operatic. And sure, it is that—but it'Even a brief summary of this volume's plot (or of L&R in general, really) would make it sound hopeless soap-operatic. And sure, it is that—but it's also visually dazzling, playful, moving, uplifting, and heartbreaking.
All of the stories in this collection are pretty short (some no more than a page). Even so, chances are you'll walk away with a profound empathy for each one of the book's large cast of characters. This is where Luba's half-sisters Fritz and Petra start to become really fascinating as Beto relates singular tales of high school woe and adult misadventures. Petra's pre-teen daughter Venus steals the show, though.
Gilbert has always had a knack for making his youngest characters' perspectives feel real. Even a simple trip to the comic shop can have momentous importance, and he's not afraid to build a story around those basic pleasures. After all, they never last as long as you'd hope, especially with some of the parents in this book. That being said, don't share this one with your kids—check out The Adventures of Venus for that....more
Ellis and Robertson deliver another hilarious, cringe-inducing tour of The City in this second volume. This is a book that really rewards leisurely reEllis and Robertson deliver another hilarious, cringe-inducing tour of The City in this second volume. This is a book that really rewards leisurely reading—how else will you catch every visual gag or parse out Ellis's convoluted (but seemingly accurate) cyberspeak? The volume concludes with a multi-part arc featuring faceless assassins, a police dog with a vendetta, and the cryogenically frozen head of Spider's ex-wife. The more things change......more
Here we have Ennis and McCrea, the original Irish bad boys of comics, at their most playful, starting with the series title itself. DC's "All-Star" moHere we have Ennis and McCrea, the original Irish bad boys of comics, at their most playful, starting with the series title itself. DC's "All-Star" moniker is typically reserved for iconoclastic takes on its best-known characters. However, the titular super hero team hasn't been seen since Ennis and McCrea's Hitman run, and I doubt anyone else could have crafted such an effective revival. The series takes some easy pot-shots early on at the mechanics of superhero fiction, following erstwhile leader Six Pack as he attempts to recruit DC's biggest heroes into a new Section 8. But something shifts midway through the series as Six Pack starts questioning his mission and finds encouragement from some unexpected corners. It was a given that this would be laugh-out-loud funny; the fact that it's inspirational in a way that feels new for the pair is a pleasant surprise....more