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Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A Review Kind Of Night
Jeremiah Harm #2 by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant and Rael Lyra The second issue of Jeremiah Harm transplants the action to Earth, as Harm continues his pursuit of three alien mass murders. The tone of the story shifts slightly as well, adopting a more action-oriented tone, while retaining the tongue-in-cheek humor. It's less of an over-the-top feel, which opens up the story nicely to allow a little bit of plot and exposition to sneak in. As interestingly grotesque as Rael Lyra's aliens are, his humans are equally appealing in their lanky, distorted forms. He very effectively creates a grimy, grungy look that compliments the story. As with the first issue, the tone of the series is probably not to everyone's tastes. For fan's of Giffen's and Grant's darker humored work, particularly Lobo, this is an excellent return to form.
Zombie Tales: The Dead by Many The zombie themed anthology continues. As with prior issues, the tone is a bit lighter than your standard zombie comic, particularly when it comes to the latest installment of Keith Giffen's "I, Zombie" story or John Rogers "Four Out of Five," which touches upon the front-line battles of those who inadvertently caused the zombie apocalypse. A nice change of pace is "A Game Called Zombie" by Jim Pascoe, Don Simpson and Chris Moreno, which takes the zombie theme in a more metaphoric direction. It's not something you usually see in zombie stories, which often tend to focus on gore and grim jokes, and it makes for an engaging variation on the subject. Also noteworthy are Michael Nelson's and Lee Moder's Biblically themed "The Miracle of Bethany" and Johanna Stoke's and Cynthia Martin's "Zoombies," an interesting talking-animal take on the zombie story. The best thing about the Zombie Tales books is that there emphasis on black comedy and non-conventional takes on the zombie genre makes them entertaining reads, even for those who in general don't like horror comics, or especially zombie themed books.
Continuity by Jason McNamara and Tony Talbert This upcoming graphic novel from AIT/Planet Lar focuses on Alicia, a pregnant teenager who ran away to New York. The problem is, she's never had sex and no one's heard of New York. And every time she goes to sleep, the whole world changes. But in this story, what could have been a sci-fi cliche becomes an examination of teen loneliness and anxiety. Alicia is quite literally no longer in control of her life, as her dreams continually blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality. And she never quite manages to take control, despite forming new attachments in a family of choice, of sorts, as she still spends all her time and energy focusing on avoiding her central dilemma. Only at the end does she reach a resolution which manages to be both touching and tragic. Talbert's art is excellent. It's very expressive and he handles both action and quiet conversation well. He also does an exceptional job in showing, incrementally, Alicia's deterioration as she runs away, lives on the streets, and goes without sleep for nine months. Continuity has an emotional depth and resonance that you don't often find in AIT's more action-orientated works, coupled with very strong and dramatic art. It will be released in June 2006.
Man Enough: A Queer Romance by Bill Roundy Bill Roundy's mini-comic is a charming look at the early courtship and first date of a true "queer" couple; a gay man and a female-to-male transsexual. It's a cute story, with an easy, natural humor and sweet romantic tone. The seemingly insurmountable barrier between the two leads getting together (he's gay, he's biologically a woman) makes for good dramatic tension despite the shortness of the story. In the best mini-comic tradition, the art is a bit rough and primitive, but the strength of the writing more than makes up for it. Rounding out the book is a short story illustrated by Tim Fish about the dangers of flirting with customers in a video store. Man Enough will be available from the author at the upcoming APE show, and then at his web-site.