Sunday, August 14, 2011

Capsule reviews: Comics from 8/10

As it turns out, these posts don't write themselves, unfortunately...

Supreme Power #3 (of 4) (Marvel/Max, $3.99, Kyle Higgins, Manuel Garcia) - Both Hyperion and Dr. Spectrum continue to deal (poorly) with their current challenges, and each of them lose something important, albeit in very different ways.  Meanwhile, the metahuman who slaughtered people in Spain last issue takes it up a notch, and in general everything is quickly escalating beyond anyone's control.  For those who care about such things, the gore and brief nudity this issue definable warrants the 'explicit content' label (more for the gore than the nudity).  More importantly, the characterization still remains strong.  My only worry is that, with the disparate plot threads established, the wrap-up next issue may be a little rushed.

Doc Savage #17 (of ?) (DC, $2.99, J.G. Jones, Phil Winslade) - Okay, this is clearly not intended to be the final issue - there's even a "to be concluded!" at the end of the issue.  And yet, as far as I know this is the last issue solicited for the series, and with the upcoming relaunch/reboot it seems rather unlikely that the series would another chance to wrap things up.  Which is a shame, because things are finally coming to a head, questions are answered, and there's the setup for what could actually be an interesting finale.  The story by Jones wasn't perfect, but it was a marked improvement over the first two story arcs, and quite frankly it's a shame that the series gets cut off at the heels just as it was getting good, all in the name of DC restarting all their titles at #1.

The Spirit #17 (of 17) (DC, $2.99, Howard Chaykin,Paul Levitz, Will Pfeifer, Brian Bolland, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, P. Craig Russell) – A collection of three black and white stories , presumably taken from inventory intended for the earlier issues of the run, back when the book had b&w back-up stories as a matter of course.  All three stories are entertaining, each in their own way.  'Strange Bedfellows' by Chaykin and Bolland is a straight whodunit, 'Lottery'  by Levits and Garcia-Lopez is a character piece told from the POV of one of Central City's citizen caught in a criminal shakedown,  and 'Art Walk' by Pfeifer and Russell is a fun, playful piece that derives as muchenjoyment from the layout of the story as it is the actual story being told.  Between this and the previous issue, at least The Spirit, unlike Doc Savage, gets a proper send-off before being cancelled.

Rachel Rising #1 (Abstract, $3.99, Terry Moore) -This was dropped in my pull list last week by mistake (although given my lack of memory for what I pre-ordered three months ago, who can say?), and I put it back on the rack.  However, looking at it this week, I figured, it's a first issue, I could give it a shot.  So I did.  Not without some reservations; while I enjoyed Moore's Strangers In Paradise, I gave up on Echo after the first few issues.  

We start off with out title character exhuming herself from a muddy riverbed, in a sequence that runs for nine pages without any caption boxes and only a single grunt of dialogue.  Another writer probably wouldn't risk that, but Moore clearly has enough faith in himself as an storyteller to let his art carry the sequence.  It's pretty clear to the reader that Rachel was killed by some unknown assailant, but she (consciously, at least) seems to be unaware of it, or perhaps is simply in denial.  The rest of the issue introduces us to what will probably be our supporting cast, both through flashback and present-tense narrative.

It's a strong set-up, although hopefully finding out who killed Rachel won't be the entire impetus of the series; a single whodunnit can only sustain so much for an ongoing series.  Moore's art is, of course, quite nice, and his storytelling skills are strong, so I'll probably be around for at least a few more issues. 

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