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Thursday, December 21, 2006
Holiday Timed Reviews
Elephantmen #5, by Richard Starkings and Moritat, published by Image
The origin of the Elephantmen continues in this beautifully illustrated book. Several connections between past characters and old grudges are revealed, as events from the past lead to new complications in present situations. Of particular appeal to me in this issue is the nice, subtle way that Starkings creates a sense of unavoidable tragedy and pathos in regards to the fate of the human-animal hybrids, and the strong degree of self-loathing many of them have, that is never verbally expressed. It's a very deft and capable bit of characterization that deserves special notice.
The Spirit #1, by Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone and Dave Stewart, published by DC Comics
Now this is more like it. After the rather disappointing team-up with Batman, Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone kick off the Spirit on-going with a fun, done-in-one story that mixes humor, action and sexy dames in a way which pays appropriate homage to Eisner and his work, without dissolving into slavish pastiche. The Spirit and his world are very subtly updated to a setting that feels contemporary, but also manages to retain a bit of an "out of time" feeling which allows the noirish elements of the character and his setting to feel natural, not forced or artificial.
Warhammer 40,000: Damnation Crusade #1 by Dan Abnett, Ian Edgington, Lui Antonio and JM Ringuet, published by Boom Studios
Well, at least it looks pretty. I imagine reading this comic is akin to coming into a super-hero comic like X-Men or Legion of Super-Heroes, only having the barest knowledge of the characters and settings. I know just enough of the Warhammer universe, both fantasy and sci-fi, to have a general idea of what is meant to be happening, but not quite enough to grasp the importance of it. It doesn't help that the comic has been written for a presumed reader who is already familiar with the setting. It makes for a more than a little off-putting experience as a reader. Combined with a general skepticism on my part of the appeal of a comic such of this to even dedicated Warhammer fans, borne out of years of dealing with Warhammer players in a retail setting, and it all ends up in a disappointing reading experience. Very pretty art, though.