Sunday, December 10, 2006

New comics 12/6

Agents of Atlas #5 (Jeff Parker/Leonard Kirk, Marvel)
The pacing on this series has become a little odd, as there's all sorts of down time this issue after the quick passage of time last issue in which the main mission seems slightly less than urgent. Parker also seems to be rewriting the back stories/origins of each of his characters, and not being familiar with them before this series, I can't say whether he's making any improvements, but it sort of seems like overkill. It's still a pretty fun superhero story, and Kirk's art remains lovely, but the steam is slowly running out at this point, and I'll be happy to see things wrap up next issue.

Desolation Jones #8 (Warren Ellis/Danijel Zezelj, DC/Wildstorm)
I can already see this arc headed in the direction of hopelessly incomprehensible like the last one, exacerbated by Zezelj's murky, moody art that makes it hard to distinguish between characters. But for now I can follow it, and it's a distinctly different mystery from the first one, so it's worth sticking with. It's also odd to me that one of Ellis' plot points is that people are investigating making a movie about Philip K. Dick's life like it's some sort of mysterious enigma, when in fact two such projects are actually in the works, with no shadowy deeds by ex-British spooks necessary.

Doctor Strange: The Oath #3 (Brian K. Vaughan/Marcos Martin, Marvel)
Vaughan, too, is doing some origin re-jiggering to come up with the villain for this story, and if I were a Doctor Strange fan maybe I'd know whether to be excited or outraged, but as it is I'm just sort of underwhelmed. Still not a bad story, and with cool Ditko-esque art from Martin, but this issue isn't as entertaining as the last two. Clearly it needs more Night Nurse.

The Exterminators #12 (Simon Oliver/Mike Hawthorne, DC/Vertigo)
The two-parter about Saloth concludes, and while it was interesting I'm not sure what exactly it contributed to the overall direction of the story. This book still seems directionless, but I still read it because Oliver's character writing is very good. Even if none of this comes up later, it was still a nice little story, almost Adrian Tomine-esque in its slice-of-life creepiness, and I still prefer the issues without the ill-defined mystical and/or sci-fi plots about the imminent insect revolution.

Newuniversal #1 (Warren Ellis/Salvador Larroca, Marvel)
Wrapping up a week of mild disappointment, Ellis' much-hyped reimagining of the New Universe reads...pretty much like Ellis on autopilot. Really, change a few superficial details and character names, and this could be any book that Ellis was churning out for Wildstorm a few years ago. He throws in his interest in alternate history (cf. Ministry of Space), his fondness for bizarre, unknowable alien life (cf. Ocean, Planetary, etc.) and a hot, snarky Asian woman (cf. Global Frequency), among other things, for a story that reads like a retread of ideas he had five years ago, and is very slow to boot. It really seemed like he'd moved past this stuff with Fell and Nextwave and the like. Larroca's new hyper-realistic style, which looks like it was colored directly from pencils, isn't nearly as distinctive as the way he used to draw, and contains some distracting celebrity photo-reference. He just comes off as a Greg Land ripoff. Despite all these complaints, I like these creators enough to give the series a few more issues, but otherwise I certainly wouldn't bother.

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