The Shopping List 1-12-11

A big week, with some of my favorite books. A couple first issues, but a distinct lack of creativity. I mentioned last week about how it’s easier to review bad books and that shows this week. Maybe you read it, but let’s be honest,

We Don't Get a Lot of Sightseers

None the less, I’m grateful for you, reader. So what was on the stack this week?

Daredevil: Reborn #1Daredevil: Reborn #1 by Andy Diggle and Davide Gianfelice **

This is a strange book. Matt Murdock, abandoning his post in Hell’s Kitchen, walks his way through Random Hicktown, USA. But there’s a big twist … NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS! OMG, Andy Diggle blew my mind with that. I had no idea there would be something bad going on in this strange desert town.

But a lack of originality is not the only problem here. Another is characterization. Murdock refuses to admit his blindness to just about everybody, even when it makes trouble for him. The locals don’t seem out of character; they have no character. They’re just stereotypical, one-dimensional violent rednecks. It all feels soulless.

I’m not familiar with Davide Gianfelice’s art. I only bought the first issue of Greek Street and I’ve never read Northlanders. This is the cleanest Daredevil‘s art has been since the Dodsons’ fill-in issues during Bendis’s run. From a bully’s tattoo to the Sheriff’s mustache, everything is more pronounced than Daredevil fans are accustomed too. Even Matt Hollingsworth’s colors are more saturated than ever.

If this was the first issue of a new series, I’d run far from the second issue. I should avoid books like this, not tell Marvel to make more like this by buying it. I wish I was stronger.

Heroes for Hire #2Heroes for Hire #2 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Brad Walker ****

Only two issues in, I can say that the emergence of Heroes for Hire will go down as the best part of Shadowland.

For the first time, I’m able to realize that I like an artist’s layouts, but not his actual art. From the extreme close-ups on Misty’s lips to wide shots showing an expansive morgue behind Paladin, Brad Walker places his camera at some great angles. But his people don’t look right, especially his females. His Silver Sable must be 60.

The book has one problem, but I’m not sure what it is yet. Choose Your Own Problem!:
Option 1) A lack of progress: The plot of last month’s issue got cleared up last month. Then we got hit with a bomb of a cliffhanger. That thread was only advanced by one page, this month’s cliffhanger. Abnett and Lanning may have something great planned for Puppet Master, so let’s see it. After all, he has to have some reason to want to stop these crimes. Perhaps to collect all the villainous items we see a la Scott Snyder’s recent Detective Comics?
Option 2) It’s repetitive. Perhaps this volume of Heroes for Hire will bypass longer arcs in favor of done-in-one stories with an overarching theme or threat. But in that case, this issue was too similar to the last. Threat pops up around the Marvel Universe, Misty calls a number of heroes in, each for a specific task until the day is saved.

The Infinite Vacation #1The Infinite Vacation #1 by Nick Spencer and Christian Ward **

Recently, I read a comic book about a new technology that allows you live a different life. It may be a little different that your current situation or wildly dissimilar. Whatever you want is possible, for a cost. As with any new technology, there’s also a group of rebels who are against the use of said technology. To go along with the story, there was some sketchy art with a lot of purposely imperfect color. And the first issue (and let’s say storyline) revolved around a murder mystery.

It was called The Surrogates.

Seriously? No one is going to acknowledge the similarities between these books?

I want to like Nick Spencer. Yes, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents didn’t wow me, but Morning Glories is great and his Jimmy Olsen work tells some fun short stories. But this is … meh. The previews had turned me off and I wasn’t even going to buy it, but it was in my subscription box so I gave it a shot.

The story itself, though not as original as it is being given credit for, is enjoyable. Dreaming of a change your life is the very definition of escapist fiction. Mark, our unhappy protagonist, is likable enough. He’s that guy with great ideas about where his life could take him, but with the ability to make those changes.

The art is where the book falls apart. Christian Ward’s pencils often resemble contour line drawings and the anatomy isn’t particularly strong. A bigger problem for me is the coloring. It’s a mix of watercolors and photoshop. With a rainbow across each page, there’s no focus. But the biggest offender, as many other reviewers seem to agree, is the expository sequence that explains how the Infinite Vacation process works. It’s done with photos. And not Greg Land photo-referencing either. Photos. It’s fummeti! Not my cup of tea, that’s for sure.

If a lack of originality was enough to make me avoid a book, I wouldn’t read enough to support this blog. Bad art can be enough though. And The Infinite Vacation can’t overcome some serious visual problems.

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I also picked up Spider-Man and Secret Six last week, but don;t have much to say other than they were good.

Talk soon. Bye.

One thought on “The Shopping List 1-12-11

  1. I haven’t gotten to Heroes for Hire #2 yet, but I’m excited about it. Agree with you that it’s definitely the best thing to come out of Shadowland.

    Nice job on the blog. 🙂

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