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Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Giant Monster #2 by Steve Niles and Nat Jones continues the comedy of destruction from the previous issue. In fact, in this issue much of the horror of the premise is jettisoned entirely and the entire enterprise becomes even more of an exercise in black comedy. The inclusion of a giant Nazi robot alone gives lie to any illusions that this material is meant to be taken seriously. It's all in good fun, if your idea of "good fun" includes massive carnage, and whose doesn't?
Hero Squared #3 by Giffen, DeMatteis and Abraham is the conclusion to the most recent mini-series. On that score it's slightly frustrating, as there's no sense of resolution to the story so far, just further complications. There's some engaging, snappy dialogue, and Sloat makes himself my favorite character, but I really wanted a more satisfying ending than "everyone's unhappy except the villain."
Zombie Tales: Oblivion is the follow-up to the previous Zombie Tales anthology. As such, there is a mix of new stories and continuing stories, by most of the same creators. Not being a terribly big fan of the zombie genre in the first place, I was a bit underwhelmed by this volume, after liking the first book a great deal. I think the core problem is, not being a great fan of the genre in the first place, there wasn't enough in this book to differentiate it from either the prior book or all those other zombie comics on the stands. In other words, it felt more like a return to the usual preoccupations of the genre, not fresh like the first book.
Colonia: On Into the Great Lands, by Jeff Nicholson is the second trade collecting his Colonia comic series. I bought the first trade some time back and enjoyed it immensely, as I have most of Nicholson's work, although it has been some time since I read it and very few of the details were fresh in my mind. There's a recap of events here, but it fails to capture the utterly baffling events that make up the charm of this series. Nicholson's art has an engaging, simple, cartoony line, and he paces the story out so that new clues as to how the protagonists wound up in this strange, altered world come in a leisurely manner, allowing the reader to enjoy the strange sights and twists for their own sake. Both Colonia trades are excellent, all-ages material which should appeal to fans of fantasy comics, with the setting giving an extra appeal to history and pirate fans.
Off Road, Sean Murphy's graphic novel for Oni, is very much a "guy" story. I generally have a low tolerance for the "male bonding" genre of fiction, but Murphy approaches the material with a sly humor and sense of self-mockery that makes it appealing and engaging. The story focuses on a series of epiphanies for lead character Trent, with just a touch of action, and a heavy dose of humor throughout, as through a series of macho misfortunes, Trent and his buddies end up trapped in a swamp with a tipped over jeep. Murphy's art is expressive, while retaining an attractive, uncluttered style that allows him to move from cartoony to detailed easily and without distracting from the story. It's a fun story, with great art, and is well worth a look.