– Went into the Beguiling last week to see what was what and saw that The Apocalipstix was out, so I figured why not give it a try as everybody seems to be rather hyped about it. Aaaaand – well, it’s certainly high concept (“riot grrrl band tours America after nuclear Armageddon”), but despite that it’s so… slight. I mean, the whole book is three smaller stories: Apocalipstix versus biker gang, Apocalipstix versus giant mutant ants, and Apocalipstix at the Big Band Battle. Of these, only the last is anything more than an extended, not-very-interesting fight scene. Cute enough, and I like Cameron Stewart’s art, but it’s not twelve dollars’ worth of cute. Not even close.
– However, whilst in the Beguiling, Chris Butcher worked his evil wiles upon me by offering me a “if you don’t like it, we’ll refund it” deal on the first volume of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, presumably because he knows I don’t read much manga and wants me to buy more manga so I can personally finance his next trip to Japan. Dramatic manga – at least what I’ve read – can run very hot and cold for me, missing as often as hitting. The translated dialogue in particular often tends toward the powerfully melodramatic at the best of times, and when I have a problem with dialogue I have a problem with the whole comic more often than not. (It’s easier when the story plays the dramatic dialogue for laughs, which is why I think comedic manga tends to be more popular in the West.) Thankfully, Monster‘s first volume isn’t a glaring offender in this regard, and the plot (doctor saves child’s life, child grows up to become serial killer – but it’s more complex and tense than that by half) is actually pretty compelling. I shall pick up later volumes, I believe. DAMN YOU, BUTCHER!
– A friend of mine sent me Exit Wounds a while back and it already won all those awards, so what more can I say about it? It’s breathtakingly good at exploring the emotions surrounding the state of abandonment – depression, loneliness, irrational and rational anger, obsession. Rutu Modan’s art is simple without being simplistic. It feels like a real, natural glimpse into people’s lives rather than just being a story. It’s sad and glorious and if you haven’t read it, you really need to read it.
– Man, that Authority relaunch is actually pretty good. Paul O’ Brien argued – and not incorrectly – that catastrophic change is the last desperate resort of a comics line to make people care about their product. I think the Wildstorm smash-up has more potential than those do, though, seeing as how if you were going to name one superteam who could completely fix a planet on the brink of total destruction – well, it would be the Legion of Super-Heroes, of course, but the Authority would run a close second. Pity absolutely nobody’s going to read it because Wildstorm has relaunched the Authority, like, twenty times in the past five years now, but it’s a really good start, and Abnett and Lanning are writing it and they do dystopic super-sci-fi really well. It’s worth a looksee.