Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Release Reviews For Image Comics, for 5 June, 2013

Welcome back to another edition of New Release Reviews for Image Comics. This is a prettysolid week for Image with a lot of talent being represented. Four new reviews and some excitement about a comic book, that would feel right at home at Image these days, making a leap on to the big screen. Vertigo Comic's long running series Fables was announced as a film in pre-production.

The writers here at TPTWCC are big fans of this series and we're very excited to see this on the slate. Hopefully, it will show people that the show on ABC isn't worth your time. In my humble opinion. As always … titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best possible. We take the time to read these books so your time isn't wasted

Ten Grand - Issue 2

What do you do when angels lie? Does this make them devils? Or are they just doing their job? These are lingering questions after the new issue of this marvelous series. The reader, much like protagonist Joe feel doubt. About what's happening. About why things are happening. And the issue doesn't end in a way putting these doubts to rest. No, it cranks it up to eleven. This brings into question his mission and his reward. A trope of the great noir works in the past century is ambiguity and moral complicated characters and Ten Grand is a perfect blend of these themes.

This issue is, also, good in that it introduces more characters that might pop up again. These are vital when the story focuses on one character. And, it's nice to see that he's not all powerful and doesn't always win. SPOILER. It kind of seems like he rarely wins. The only disappoint found was that he expressed no grief in failing to save his client when he was getting is five minutes in heaven. END SPOILER. The story begins was an excellent recap. Possibly better written then most comics on the stand. Then there's the artwork which is gorgeous. Seriously, amazing artwork inside and on the cover.

Score: 9 out of 10

Bedlam - Issue 7

It's so hard to not shout at Detective Acevedo and scream that Fillmore is Madder Rose. He practically screams it in a very gentle, and polite way. All the while, you're fascinated by how quickly he profiles the crimes she's dealing with, and you wonder if it's wrong to cheer his redemption on because he did some BAD things. Like his war on religion. There is a new story starting and it was a slow and convoluted but it should improve. And the weird political stuff was awfully hard to understand. The interior art has a painted feel to it, even though it's still kind of low fi. The cover is interesting and disturbing.

Score: 8 out of 10

East Of West - Issue 3

Structure and formatting in serialized story-telling can have it uses. Particularly for the writer as it helps to organize thoughts and present them in a coherent manner. Also, when dealing with many characters and story-lines, it can be helpful for readers when their is consistency is pacing.  However, sometimes it feels like it can be a crutch. Something that creates unneeded breaks in a story. Occasionally, the structure can feel over-produced as the design begins to overshadow the content. This issue is starting to feel that way. Especially, when taken in context of Jonathan Kickman's other Image series The Manhattan Projects, which has a similar structure.

Not everything is all doom and gloom here. The characters seem to be very dynamic, even if they come across as one-note. Hickman is known for making challenging stories and characters have to be given the opportunity to change in order to be interesting. It would just be nice to have a character or two who wasn't all-powerful as they're hard to relate to and harder to find the tension that keeps readers engaged. Well, perhaps the Native Indian Witches might fill that role but it's hard to say. The story flow still has that lack of cohesion. It probably will work better in collected editions. The art is solid and the faces are outstanding.

Score: 7 out of 10

Thief Of Thieves - Issue 14

Thief Of Thieves is an on-going series about career criminals trying to channel the fun and sexiness of The Ocean's Eleven franchise and failing miserably. Series creator Robert Kirkman recently relinquished writing duties to crime comic writer Andy Diggle and this seems to be having an impact. Diggle is best known for the Vertigo series The Losers, which was unsuccessfully adapted into a movie by Warner Bros. It was hoped that he could bring some humanity and excitement to a series that has, thus far, been cumbersome and grossly unappealing. If this issue is any indication, it doesn't seem like he can help.

This is the classic tale of the hero being the lesser of two evils. The lead isn't a good person and his son, who he's trying to help, is a jerk. Somewhere in this story is the presumption that all the readers know everything about their dynamics and it's kind of confusing. The story is crazy violent for the sake of showing the badness of the bad(e) guy. And it's very talky with long monologues. The interior artwork, much like the cover, is solid. There is a lot of effort that went into the look and design. There are times where it feels very cinematic. A lot of the male characters have similar looking faces, however.

Score: 5.5 out of 10

Not an awful week from Image Comics, but not the best, either. Ten Grand and Bedlam bring the average up but Thief Of Thieves pulls it back down. Maybe the creative change on the book will bring it up in the future. Either way, it still was a pretty decent week. Stop on back next week for more New Release Reviews.