Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rant-Reviews: I Liked All These Comics

Yeah, These Were Good
Oftentimes I'll read some comics I like, and some I dislike. I try to avoid purchasing and reading ones I don't care for or hate because I'm at a point in my life where I ask why I would spend money on something awful, and therefore avoid doing so.  This time I've only read some pretty good stuff, even if I simply, "liked," something as opposed to, "Loving," it, that is still pretty snazzy.

Some Quality Reading:
Uber #27
The last issue in the first, "Book," of this series, with the sequel, "Uber: Invasion," coming in 2016. This has been an interesting series to read, as often when you think of writer Kieron Gillen, his more pop-culture-influenced and peppy stuff such as "The Wicked and the Divine", "Young Avengers", or the below-discussed "Phonogram" comes to mind. Your more gritty and violent  historically-influenced war comics sounds like something that is Garth Ennis-territory, even if it has the twist of throwing in super-powered individuals.

Still, Gillen has done a great job with this series over its 27 (actually a bit more when you factor in specials and the #0) issues, bringing readers an intense and gruesome war comic that presents a fascinating, "What-if?" about a World War II where, as Gillen describes it, Germany got the atomic bomb first, with the A-bomb in this scenario being individuals with incredible powers. Canaan White contributed art for much of the series but sadly has moved on to other projects, making me thankful an artist such as Daniel Gete in this issue and other folk in various other ones has kept a generally solid and great, "Look," to everything. A stellar comic and one I look forward to seeing more of in 2016.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wolf #2
This is some cool stuff. A story focused on a man named Antoine Wolfe who is a private detective and has supernatural abilities such as potentially being immortal. Written by the incredible Ales Kot whose "Zero" I made no secret about loving,  Between Kot's writing and Matt Taylor's art this is a superb comic, even if it is one that I may not adore as much as "Zero" yet, but still for sure find myself fascinated by. This is almost a more commercial Ales Kot, which means we are still getting a very avant-garde and at times surreal book, but the, "Hook," is a bit easier to describe and actually reminds me of some other titles. Basically, in a world where there a people with special abilities who are known as being, "Supernatural," there is a detective who has been hired for a mysterious case by a very evil and racist man (Wolfe is black and can't stand how this twisted white dude is basically using him, but needs funds to help a family member). Meanwhile, there are vampires, a girl who may be the Anti-Christ, and a best friend with a mouth full of Cthulhu-esque tentacles.

There is almost a feel like some of the, "X-Men," comics with this element of special people living in an otherwise ordinary world, but the strange stuff fits well with the regular elements to create a world that doesn't seem as far-fetched as a world full of mutants so much as a place where if we just scratch below the surface we might find some weird and wild things. As Wolfe himself says (and I'm paraphrasing), sometimes people want to pretend the world isn't as weird as it is. This is more of a noir-type book than any sort of superhero comic, and its mixture of humor, fantastic art, and a plot that continues to grow stranger and stranger results in a book I"m excited to keep reading.
5 out of 5 stars.

Trees #12
"Trees" started out slowly and then ended its first arc with quite the, "Bang," of death, explosions, and otherwise finally paying off after at first feeling admittedly a bit dull. Since then the 2nd arc of this comic has had an even greater variety of Warren Ellis' favorite things to put in his works (hard-edged lady-scientist, futuristic technology, conspiracies-upon-conspiracies) and has continued to amp-up the tension with it becoming more and more apparent that the destruction witnessed in the first segment of issues could very well have just been a warm-up for even more madness. Jason Howard provides illustrations that makes everything look worn-down enough so as to make the future-stuff seem mostly commonplace and as exciting to people in that world as an iPhone is to us now, and that just makes the bursts of unexpected action all the more delightful.

I am curious how long it will be until we learn--or if we will in fact learn--what exactly the purpose is that the eponymous trees serve and if the comic is heading towards a happier conclusion or if we're gonna have a, "Yup, everyone dies," kind of end. Time will tell.
4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #1
Another comic written by Kieron Gillen and this time with art by Jamie Mckelvie, he points out in the closing notes of the book this new edition of "Phonogram," will probably have a lot more readers thanks to all the popularity he and McKelvie have gained thanks to, "The Wicked and the Divine." I myself read the earlier "Phonogram" stuff so long ago I honestly barely remember it. This resulted in me struggling a bit to recall who some of these characters are, what (if anything) I remember about them, and overall had me pondering if anyone buying this without having enjoyed the earlier comics will just be utterly lost.

The main, "Thrust," of the series is pretty evident--imagine a world where music has magical properties and some people wield these powers. This new mini takes the idea in a clever direction, bringing in the concept of music-videos having their own special properties. The art is of course beautiful because its Jamie McKelvie and the writing is strong because its Kieron Gillen, and he is writing about something he has passionate feelings towards. Still, my faded memories of the earlier mini-series makes me feel I need to re-read "Rue Britannia" and "The Singles Club" to fully understand what in the dickens is happening. So...I guess that means mission accomplished? As it is though, this is a perfectly enjoyable if not utterly amazing issue, that hints at possibly some astonishing things to come.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Oh, Killstrike #4
This comic written by Max Bemis has been a superbly fun read and between Bemis' plotting and dialogue together with Logan Faerber's excellent mixture of realistic and absurd art (depending on if we are looking at a normal human or the purposely-silly Killstrike). I really have been a fan of "Oh, Killstrike" since its first issue and this concluding one finished out expertly its streak of being both delightfully metatextual whilst also telling its own complete story.

So yes, this issue wraps things up well, with Jared facing off against all the fears and angers Killstrike represents upon humorously being transformed into, "Dark Killstrike," making it evident these are feelings that he needs to conquer, It all comes full-circle with it being revealed Killstrike and his comic-stories were basically created by Jared's father to provide a surrogate parent for him to have, "Be there," for Jared, a corny twist that the comic itself points out is clich├ęd, but appreciated by Jared because it impacts him and shows how he needs to work to be a great dad himself. A great series with a fantastic conclusion.
5 out of 5 stars.

Hooray for Fun Times!
It's always nice to have good comics to read and treasure. That said, I should probably do some reviews of bad stuff just to balance out the cosmic-scales...or something.

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