4.16.2007

Film Noir, Science Fiction, Horror, Aliens...

I don't post much about comics I'm buying - realizing there are more than enough comics reviews on the web. But, I've been thinking about mainstream comics lately versus some of the lesser known stuff out there. Most of my interests have been with DC comics - primarily Batman - but I've been branching out into other stuff lately. It hasn't helped my hunt that my Local Comics Shop hasn't been very good keeping up my special orders, but I'll keep trying...

First some DC Comics pop culture crossovers that I've been disappointed in.

The Next (5-part mini series)

This was written by Tad Williams, who has a pretty interesting writing career. I read his Otherland novels, and they were simply amazing, so I had high hopes for this mini. Superman teams up with teen Monnika Wong (has she ever appeared in the DC Universe before?) and attempts to help some otherworldly (otherdimensional?) travellers back to their original dimension before they wreak any more havoc. Or something like that. This can't really be a proper review, as it's barely hovering at the edge of my memory at the moment. Suffice it to say, I just wasn't impressed. I didn't think the art (Dietrich Smith) was that great either. I don't know if Williams needs to stick with novels, or if something happened from script to book, but it just wasn't that great. Since I'm picking up Williams's Aquaman arc, I'm hoping for better. (I know #50 is already out, but see my "special orders" note above.) Your Mom's Basement had an interview with Williams last summer regarding The Next, so check out more info there if you're interested.

Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator (2-part prestige).

I love crossovers. The first Batman vs Predator and Superman vs Aliens were great books. I ended up picking up the former in trade but was able to pick up the latter as they came out in single issues. As time goes by, though, ideas seem to get stale, and it appears to be more difficult to keep them interesting. Later Batman vs Predator stories seemed to fizzle, and I'm not even sure if I ever read the second Superman/Aliens. Written by Mark Schultz, I found this last story to be ok, with the obligatory banter between Bruce and Clark interesting, but it just didn't stick with me. I had problems with the art here, too (artist: Ariel Olivetti). Was this digital art? It was interesting and different - but the faces just weren't that strong - there were a few panels in the first book were Lois Lane looked just plain deformed. If I wasn't a crossover junkie, I probably should have passed.

But on to some less mainstream good stuff...

Sam Noir: Samurai Detective (Shadowline/Image, 3-part mini)

I ended picking up the trade for this since I missed the minis (see special order problem above), and it had me rolling on the floor laughing. Written and drawn by Eric A. Anderson and Manny Trembley, this is what comic books should be. The writing is wonderful and the art, excellent. It's written like awful film noir - and it's one of those things that you just don't know what to expect going into, but ends up better than any expectations you had.

Boy, was my face red. And not just from the blood.

Great stuff. Of course, now, if I want to get the 2nd series in trade, they've packed it together with the first, so I'll have to buy this first story again. Curse you, Comic Book Company Marketing Department!! Sam Noir is published by Image Comics under the Shadowline brand (along with Bomb Queen, After the Cape, and others).

Darkman vs. Army of Darkness (Dynamite, 4-part mini)

This was a pleasant surprise. Written by Kurt Busiek, it's not as funny as the aforementioned Samurai Detective, but it's a pretty enjoyable read in it's own right. It's funny, and with references to the Darkman, Army of Darkness, and the Evil Dead movies (I think - it's been a while), you just can't go wrong. Check it out if it comes out in trade...

2 comments:

Bones said...

I completely agree about the B/SvsA/P series. I thought it was terrible, and only made worse by that ridiculous $6.95 price tag.

The only other of those that I've read is Darkman/Army of Darkness which I loved. Busiek's a quality writer and you can't beat George Perez covers.

I'm slowly getting back into the indie scene after going mostly mainstream for a year or so. I've signed up for several Image books, some Avatar stuff, and of course I still keep up with everything Dark Horse.

Jim said...

I think there are a lot of hidden gems among the indie publishers. I'm hoping to pick up some good stuff in the next few months...