Sunday, January 09, 2005

New comics 1/5

Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril #2 (Joshua Dysart/Sal Velluto, Penny Farthing Press)
I'm enjoying this take on Golden Age superheroics even more this issue, although I still wish they'd cut loose a little more and be funnier, as the little fake ads in the back are. But overall there's a nice sense of adventure and intrigue, and Velluto's art looks beautiful - I bet Marvel or DC will be snapping him up for a higher-profile title soon. If they don't, they're crazy.

Noble Causes #6 (Jay Faerber/Fran Bueno, Image)
This is one of the weaker recent issues, with Faerber wrapping up the Liz-leaves-Race plot way too quickly and in a way that makes it look like he threw it in for no reason other than to have a cliffhanger in the last issue. The rest of the subplots move along only slightly, but there is an intriguing cliffhanger ending that looks like it has promise, and Bueno's art grows on me more and more with each issue. Also, I haven't mentioned the back-up strip, Opposites Attack by Brian Joines and Ray-Anthony Height, which has been running for two or three issues, but I'll take the time now to say: It's terrible. Lame dialogue, annoying characters, confusing plotting and ugly art. At least it doesn't cut into the story pages for the main strip like Faerber's old back-ups used to. But I could certainly do without it.

X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong #1 (Greg Pak/Greg Land, Marvel)
Man, what a cumbersome title. Anyway, I picked up this mini-series against my better judgment, since I almost never buy X-Men mini-series anymore, but it's not too bad. Pak has set up an interesting way to tell a story about the Phoenix without necessarily bringing back Jean Grey, and he uses bits of continuity from other X-books, too. Really, there's no reason why this couldn't be a story arc in X-Men, other than that Marvel wants more X-books for people to spend money on. It involves most of the core team members and tells an important story, but many won't read it because it's relegated to a mini. Pak, who started as an indie filmmaker (I reviewed his middling film, Robot Stories, here), sets up some decent ideas, and if they play out well this could be a good read. Land is praised all over the place online, but this is the first sequential work of his I've read. I think his covers are wonderful, but his work is so overly photo-referenced that a lot of his figures are stiff and his panels lack a sense of fluid movement. Overall, a mixed bag, but I'll probably stick around for the rest.

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