Some things I read over the weekend, and my thoughts:
100 Bullets, book 8: The Hard Way reminded me why it's so frustrating to read 100 Bullets. With a months-long gap between trades, it's impossible for me to remember what the heck is going on in this title, who the major players are, what is their relationship to one another, what's going on with the Trust again, etc. There's no recap page, and Azzarello just goes on his way assuming that we're intimately familiar with his byzantine plot. When I first read the first several 100 Bullets trades back-to-back I could get into the layers of the story being told, but having large reading gaps isn't cutting it. Oh, and the story in this collection just goes on way too long--should've been told in half the number of issues, if that.
Sleeper, book 4: The Long Way Home, on the other hand, gives us a page of recap before it begins, which was good enough to job my memory about what's going on in this title. This is another book with plots within plots, but I could follow what was going on. I thought that this final volume did a good job of wrapping things up. I had a major problem with the portrayal of the only two female characters, Veronica St. James & Miss Misery, playing the stereotypical Madonna/whore roles; and things do not turn out good for either of them. I don't recall having such a reaction to the treatment of the female characters before--Is this a facet of the book that was always there, and just not as pronounced? Or is it new in this volume? Or am I reading too much into it? Kudos though to Sean Phillips' art; he uses a seemingly chaotic panel arrangement throughout the book that exemplifies the madness and confusion of the situations, yet is always clear in what is going on and where we should be reading.
Finally, Spider-Man/Human Torch, from Dan Slott & Ty Templeton, traces the relationship between the two Marvel super-heroes through five complete stories taking place through the characters' histories, and it is a good deal of fun. They're all good, but especially the third story, which has the Spider-Mobile, the Red Ghost and his Super Apes, and Hostess Fruit Pies. There is a lot of fun for your money in this digest collection, so don't miss it.
100 Bullets: 2.5 (of 5)
Sleeper: 3 (of 5)
Spider-Man/Human Torch: 3.5 (of 5)