Sunday, August 13, 2006

New comics 8/9

Fables #52 (Bill Willingham/Mark Buckingham, DC/Vertigo)
Willingham clearly isn't going to let the Adversary stay in the background for long, since this issue begins a build-up to an all-out war between Fabletown and the Empire. Buckingham is back with a vengeance with beautiful renderings of the Snow Queen and Red Riding Hood, and the former is a welcome villainous presence, since Geppetto, even as the Adversary, isn't really that entertainingly evil. A four-page backup illustrated by Gene Ha that introduces Rapunzel into the book's world is nice but a little too short to do much other than whet the appetite. I imagine that these backups (there are three more coming) are just ways for Willingham to get the introductions out of the way so that these characters can appear seamlessly in the main stories some time down the road, which sort of seems like a cop-out. But the main story is so exciting and epic that it doesn't really bother me.

She-Hulk #10 (Dan Slott/Rick Burchett, Marvel)
Yet another new artist on this book, but Burchett's simple, straightforward style is an easy transition from Paul Smith and a good fit overall, so I hope he sticks around for a while. This issue has a nice mix of various storylines interweaving, and I like that even though there was only one issue that was an official Civil War crossover, Slott has integrated those elements into his ongoing narrative and is still using them as plot points. Now that's the way to write a book in a shared universe.

Spike vs. Dracula #5 (Peter David/Zach Howard & Nicola Scott, IDW)
I guess the problem with Joe Corroney on art wasn't that he was late, since this issue is out just two weeks after the last, with no attempt to get him back on art, apparently. Once again, the book suffers for his absence, especially since Howard and Scott (who split the book evenly) have completely divergent styles. Howard's cartoony style doesn't necessarily capture the likenesses of the characters, but it's kinetic and fun to look at, and tells the story well enough. But Scott has a much more realistic style that clashes alarmingly, and his storytelling is a little weak. Still, both are better than last issue's fill-in Mike Ratera. It's too bad that the series ended with such inconsistent art, because David turns in a very entertaining finale after last issue's weak story. He's got a great feel for the TV characters - this issue is set during the final season of Angel - and gives them some great banter while also wrapping up the somewhat haphazard saga of the rivalry between the two title characters. Five issues was probably more than this thin premise deserved, but it was mostly a fun read, marred only by the art difficulties in the second half.

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