Saturday, August 28, 2004

Quick Reviews

Daisy Kutter; Batman; Forsaken; Following Cerebus; SuperPatriot

Daisy Kutter: The Last Train #1
by Kazu Kibuishi; Phil Craven
In the main story, set in one of those retro western futuristic worlds where robots rub elbows with cowboys, Daisy Kutter is a former outlaw gone straight. She now owns a general store, but though she claims otherwise she misses the excitement of her former life. But her overconfidence in gambling sets her up for a fall, and by the end of this first installment circumstances are set to draw Daisy back to her former life. Kibuishi's line work and washes are great to look at, and he really knows how to pace a story. His characterizations are great too, as you can really read the emotions of the characters through their expressions as their inner feelings betray their outer words. The backup by Craven is "Mongrel," featuring an anthropomorphic private eye. While the art is good, the story is so trite as to be totally forgetable. Unless this is the first noir you've ever read, you know the story by heart.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Batman #631
by Bill Willingham, Kinsun & Aaron Sowd
The most impressive thing about this issue is the artwork turned in by the singularly named Kinsun and inker Sowd. I'm completely unfamiliar with any previous work by Kinsun, but was very impressed by the opening 3-page spread (too bad it had to be stretched over a page turn) as well as the rest of the book. Alas, the story by Willingham is completely by-the-numbers, wih zero surprise and Batman acting like an ass.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Forsaken #1
by Carmen Treffiletti, Kristian Donaldson & Nick Zagami
The comic opens in media res, with an op gone bad and narration by an Agent Delk, who will apparently be our viewpoint character. The narrative then flashes back a week, as we witness Delk handling a hostage crisis. Delk then goes on to be recruited into an ops team by, um, somebody. We're not sure who, and neither is Delk, but he checks his common sense and follows along anyway. The last line is spoken by a Mysterious Rich Man Sitting at a Large Desk(tm): "Please, sit down. I would like to discuss why all of you are here." Too bad they're pushing off the explainations to the second issue, because with nothing to go on from this first issue I'm not forking over another $2.95.
Rating: 2 (of 5)

Following Cerebus #1
by Craig Miller & John Thorne
It's not but one question into the inaugeral issue's interview with the Cerebus Creator that Dave Sim brings up feminists, completely unprompted. Thankfully, the guys at Win-Mill are very good interviewers, and they manage for the most part to keep the interview on the production of the Cerebus comic, focusing much of the attention on how its evolution was affected by Sim's changing viewpoints. As such, it is much more illumitating than Sim's typical unmediated rantings. This issue also features an in-depth examination of the "Somthing Fell" motif that ran throughout the series, and a short but illuminating interview with Gerhard. Even if you thought that Sim went completely off his rocker for the last third of the series, if you were ever a fan of Cerebus at some point you will probably find this to be worth a read.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

SuperPatriot: War on Terror #1
by Robert Kirkman & E. J. Su
Though the subtitle is misleading--there's nary a real terrorist in sight--Kirkman's take on Erik Larsen's cyborg Captain America manages to be lightweight entertainment. From taking on a downsized Nick Fury analogue to putting the squeeze on Hitler's brain, the action is balanced against a look at SP's homelife with his new younger wife and the heapings of life's litle indignities hoisted upon a seemingly harmless cranky old man. Once again Kirkman comes through, showing that just about any thread-worn concept can be entertaining if done right.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

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