100 Bullets, book 7: Samurai
by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
It had been a long time since I'd read any 100 Bullets, so I was really looking forward to this. Alas, it fell flat for me. The first story, "Chill in the Oven," is set in a penitentiary and features some characters we've seen before. However, due to the long break between stories for me, I had a hard time remembering who they were and what their tie-in to the big picture was. Would it have hurt Azzarello over the span of 80-some-odd pages to throw in a little bit of recap? As such, the story didn't make much sense on its own. The second story, "In Stinked," fares a bit better, being a classic noir in a non-traditional setting. Unsurprisingly, Risso's art is great throughout, and holds the comic together even when Azzarello's story threatens to run completely off the rails. (Compare this to "For Tomorrow" where, as good as Jim Lee may be, he cannot make up for the deficiencies in the story.)
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)
Flight, vol. 1
by too many artists to mention here
The first thing one notices on paging through Flight is the quality of the art. Unlike most anthologies by relatively unknowns, the art in Flight, while being of many differing styles, is top-notch throughout. The stories are all built around the theme of flight, though some use it more strongly than others. While not all of the stories worked for me, I suspect that everyone who reads Flight will find something they like, and different stories will appeal to different people. My personal favorites are Vera Brosgul's "I Wish...", the story of a teenage girl who wakes up one morning having sprouted wings; Jen Wang's "Paper & String" with its stunning multimedia art collage; Khang Le's touching "Outside My Window," about a giant alien robot that tries to make friends with a young girl; and Phil Craven's "Deep Blue," a silent story about a plucky penguin who tries to break free of his humdrum existance. The only bad thing about Flight is that I now have several more artists whose work I want to track down and read--and really, that's not such a bad thing after all.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)