Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pluto #1-2

I've been sitting here for awhile trying to think of what to say about Pluto besides “you must read this book.” I'm having trouble. There's just so much good here.

Story: someone is gunning for the seven greatest robots in the world, as well a few scattered “Robots Rights” advocates. Detective Gesicht is put on the case, a robot himself, and incidentally one of the seven supposedly targeted by the killer. This is a retelling of the “The Greatest Robot on Earth” story arc from Astro Boy, by the legendary Osamu Tezuka. You don't need to have read any Astro Boy to get down with this, but if you haven't this may just inspire you to explore the phenomenon for yourself. If you are familiar with the source material then you will find much to knowingly nod and smile about. The themes concerning the nature of humanity and what it means to be “alive”, themes that made up the central concept behind Astro Boy, are well preserved and even expanded upon in Pluto. the way these supposedly “emotionless” characters are brought to life is remarkable.

Art: Naoki Urasawa has managed something pretty amazing in these pages. He has taken Tezuka's somewhat “cartoony” (for lack of a better term) style and brought it into the real world, while maintaining the unique character aesthetic and expressions that Tezuka is known for. Fusing these two ideas with his own style Urasawa creates a thing of beauty. The story is wonderful, but the art brings an emotion and drama to it that raises the work to a whole new level.

So, you really should read this book. Don't be afraid that it's manga, or that it reads right-to-left, or that it comes from something you may be unfamiliar with. None of that matters. This is good stuff, brilliant science fiction, and it will sweep you away in moments. If it doesn't then it's possible you may not have a soul. You might want to get that checked out.

Cursed Pirate Girl #0

It's a funny thing, I enjoyed the four page story in this “preview” more than I've enjoyed half the stuff I've been reading lately. Having said that, and having seen some of the preview work for this series, I believe it is one to watch, and now that it finally has a publisher, we can do that. Jeremy Bastian's art style is wonderfully unique and expressive. It ranges from absurd to realistic, sometimes even in the same panel. He is also quite funny. Let me give you a sample: “The worst pirate I ever seen went by the name Captain Squeak. When we came up on his ship he ordered his men to chop down their own mast, and then throw their cannons overboard. Then them buggers attacked us... with bananas! Turns out 'ol Captain Squeak was just two monkeys and a portrait of Queen Mirl of Gerrick.” Now that is funny. I urge you to put this on your pull list immediately. I've just got this funny feeling that it's going to rock.

Ignition City #1-2

Warren Ellis has become some sort of crazy, multi-media juggernaut. The sheer volume of work that he is currently producing makes it difficult for his fans to keep up with what he's working on. I'm a big fan of Warren Ellis, some of his books are some of my all time favorite comics, so it's kind of strange that I find his abundant presence dismaying. It has become obvious to me, and others, that he's spreading himself thin, and that his work is suffering somewhat as a result. I can no longer blindly pick up a book with his name on it, secure in the knowledge that it will melt my face off. He is no longer as consistent as he once was. So what about this “Ignition City”? It has potential. I'm not terribly thrilled with the art style, but it works. So far the story is interesting, interesting enough to see where it's going anyway. I'm willing to give it a chance to improve, only because I think it may, if I knew for sure that it was only going to be as good as it is now I wouldn't bother reading anymore.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Boys #1-29

Okay, everyone who isn't reading "The Boys" please raise your hand. Good, I'd like all of you to stay after class for a well-deserved beating. Here's why:

"The Boys" takes place in a world where super heroes and villains are commonplace, they're celebrities, but all they really do is run around making a mess of things. The story centers around "Wee" Hughie, whose girlfriend is caught in the crossfire of a super hero/super villain battle and is quite messily killed. Hughie is subsequently tapped by a covert, government group know simply as The Boys, each member having some sort of axe to grind with super heroes. They're job is to observe and, if necessary, police the super powered community (though, honestly, they're pretty much just looking for an excuse to take them out). The Boys are super powered themselves, giving them the necessary muscle to deal with their enemies. The resulting altercations are wonderfully brutal and gory, as they realistically would be.

Garth Ennis (Preacher, Crossed) is in full swing with this one, clearly loving every moment of the ride, and pulling zero punches along the way. I get that same feeling I got when I was reading "Preacher" all those years ago. This confluence of entertaining violence, depraved sexual exploits, and a well crafted storyline are not something you see every day, and for good reason, because it's a damn hard trick to pull off. Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan, Punisher) delivers as well, with his accessible yet unique style, bringing the story to life beautifully. You can almost feel every face crushing punch and rent limb.

"The Boys" is by far my favorite comic right now, I eagerly await its arrival every month and immediately devour its contents at the first available opportunity. It's super heroes as they would actually be in the real world; arrogant, selfish, power-drunk bastards with no concern for anyone. It's wonderfully violent and depraved, with engaging characters and terrific dialogue, often extremely hilarious, all topped off with some poignant social commentary (and lots of boobs). It's Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson at their best.

The first 22 issues have already been collected, so get your ass down to The Vault and start reading.