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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Tuesday's Habitual Comics Review
Nodwick #26: This issue isn't terribly friendly to new readers. Not only is it a direct continuation of last issue's story, but it's another chapter in the book's long meta-plot about a trio of evil adventurers trying to resurrect a long-dead god.
Oh, wait, a lot of you probably aren't familiar with this book. It could generally be described as "gaming humor," as it features characters who first appeared in Dragon magazine. It's about three adventurers: the plucky optimistic cleric Piffany, the mage Artax, and the drunken violent warrior Yeager. Oh, and there's their hench-man, Nodwick, whose job is to haul their loot around while they go around killing monsters. Nodwick, naturally, is the only sensible person in the group, and he's continually having horrible things done to him by monsters, or more usually by Yeager and Artax. It's an excellent, all-ages fantasy series that doesn't require you to have any knowledge of any particular fantasy game, from the same creator as the equally excellent ps238.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand, it's part of an on-going meta-story, but for long time readers it's nice to see that story moving along a bit, finally. For new readers, I'd suggest picking up the first Nodwick trade paper-back, available at all good comic shops.
Supreme Power #13: Again, while it's nice to see some forward plot momentum in the faux-JLA, and while it's nice to not have a naked woman's breasts shoved in my face on every other page, this title is still taking an awful long time to not really go anywhere. I'm still tolerant of it because there's at least the potential for quality, and it's thus far the only Straczynski title I can bring myself to read, but this is still mostly a book that's being bought because Pete likes it.
Ultimate Fantastic Four #13: It's not that I dislike Adam Kubert's work. I just prefer the work of his brother and his father. Ellis appears to be having fun with the techno-babble, so it's hard to dislike the book, but going back to Kubert after having Stuart Immonnen on the book feels like a let-down.
Losers #18: Why do I get the feeling that this flash-back storyline is a far more honest appraisal of US military action in the middle-east than Marvel's upcoming "True Tales of Heroic American G.I.'s Versus the Godless Infidels!"
Dork Tower#29: It's been interesting to watch this title slowly morph from "gaming humor" to a more general humor title, while still retaining enough of the gaming-themed edge to please the old fans. The Matt/Kayleigh/Gilly triangle comes to a head, and as usual it's all Igor's fault.
The Witching #6: Glacial pacing aside, I sometimes get the feeling I'm the only one really enjoying this book. It's really quite damn funny, and I'm strongly leaning towards the interpretation that the book was intended to be a sly humor title with DCU magical trappings all along. Plus, the father of the main character is based on one of my favorite little-known historical figures, Jack Parsons.
Adam Strange #3: Beautiful art, and a rip-roaring sci-fi adventure ripped right out of the old pulps. As I said before, this is the model for what a super-hero comic should be.
Frank Ironwine #1: I'm a mystery fan, and I've been very disappointed in most of what passes for mystery entertainment these days. More often than not mystery films have devolved into a sub-genre of action, much like sci-fi and horror, and television and print mysteries have placed more and more of an emphasis on the cold, rational, forensic side of crime-solving, ignoring the human element of crime altogether. The only American mystery show I really watch with any regularity is Law and Order: Criminal Intent, not only for the stellar performances of the leads, but because it's the one show that doesn't over-look the human element of crime.
And that's what this latest one-shot from Warren Ellis is all about; the human element of crime. In just a few short pages he sketches out a marvelously well-rounded and recognizable lead in Frank Ironwine, and though he bears a superficial resemblance to many of Ellis' other leads, he's very much his own character. In a way, I'm glad that shipping problems have lead to staggered releases for the Apparat books, because I've got a feeling that had they all come out at once the unique qualities to a book like this would have been over-looked.
Carla Speed McNeil's art is also, as expected, excellent. Her figures are expressive, but her work maintains a very loose, fluid and cartoony quality that makes them very accessible.