Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quick Comic Reviews

Outsiders #25
by Judd Winick & Carlos D'Anda
Superboy has been turned evil by Lex Luthor. Indigo has been turned evil by Brainiac. Can their teammates help them find their true inner selves before it's too late? The story is just one big slugfest that goes on too long (did this story really need to be stretched over four issues of two titles?), and it's not helped at all by the inappropriate and frankly ugly art of D'Anda. Combined with the murky color palatte it's ofttimes difficult and sometimes impossible to tell what is going on, which is a major problem when the plot of the book is a bunch of people hitting each other. This just isn't a very good comic.
Rating: 1.5 (of 5)

Uncanny X-Men #461
by Chris Claremont, Tom Raney & Scott Hanna
I never really cared much for Mojo, but Claremont uses him to good effect here, mainly as an excuse to get Raney to draw a bunch of silly stuff, including the X-Babies. Calremont also follows up on the only plotline from Chuck Austen's run worth a damn: Juggernaut and his relationship with Sammy. It's a jam-packed issue that doesn't get bogged down in self-importance. Look at this as sort of the baseline for what a super-hero comic should be. It shouldn't be a rarity these days, but it is.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

The Surrogates #1
by Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele
Top Shelf are mostly known for publishing indy comic anthologies and B&W OGNs, so what are they doing publishing a scifi noir as a glossy color limited series? I don't know, but since the results are so good, I don't really care about the reasons. Fifty years in the future, a couple on their way home from a bar are attacked and electrocuted in an alley. But it turns out that these aren't people who have died, but rather their surrogates. In this future world, 'surrogates' are artificial bodies employed by people to interact with the real world while they sit around all day in their crummy little apartments. Yeah yeah, it's a metaphor, but it serves to put a twist on the murder mystery. I don't recall ever encountering work by either of the creators before, but what I see here impresses me. The art by Weldele is a simple pen-and ink style that echoes somewhat Bill Sienkiewicz or Ben Templesmith, colored in a moody Vertigoesque palatte. Author/creator Venditti & Weldele create a world and give us the parameters of its functioning within the confines of the story; they never stop to explain something but rather let the explainations come about naturally and as needed. (Although a text piece posing as a faux-academic article at the end fills in some of the background, it is not necessary reading for the story.) All in all this is a promising start to the series; I just wish it was being published more frequently than quarterly.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

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