Friday, June 20, 2008

Snap Judgments: Reviews for My Inner Bimbo #5, Wolverine #66, RASL #2 and More

Short comic reviews based on initial, lizard-brain opinions. Arranged from BEST to WORST.

My Inner Bimbo #5 gets an A from Albo
This book is Sam Keith at his absolute rawest. The pages feature some of his best looking art in years and are densely packed with an incredibly personal story the likes of which I've never read before. Make no mistake, the book is slow going, but it is supremely rewarding. The story follows a sixty-something man who has spent his whole life looking for female approval and whose "femmy" side manifests herself as a "Bimbo," who starts as a sex slave but is always transforming into more mature forms, many of which are decidedly antagonistic. This is the last issue of the series, and I'm not sure if it was popular enough to collect in a trade, so I can't recommend strongly enough that you get out there and try to find some back issues. If you like Sam Keith at all, or are just looking for something completely different from every other book on the shelf, you really shouldn't miss this.

Review for Wolverine #66, Teen Titans: Year One #5, Genius #1, RASL #2, and Cthulhu Tales #3 after the jump!

Wolverine #66 gets an A from Albo
Awesome! The first issue in the "Old Man Logan" story, this book takes place fifty years after the villains finally won. Almost all of the heroes are dead, and the United States have been split into regions controlled by supervillain factions. Logan lives the quiet life of a farmer with a wife and kids (one of which is named Scotty... Awwww), getting by and paying rent to a gang of the Hulk's descendants who ride around in the old Fantasticar. It's a cool post-apocalyptic world, and while it certainly shares the Mad Max aesthetic touchstones that no post-apocalypse can get away from, there are a few cool little touches that separate it from what you've seen before. Anyway, the problems arise when pacifist Logan can't make rent and gets his ass kicked by the gang. His healing factor isn't what it used to be, which introduces some tension that most Wolverine stories don't have--finally the man isn't unbeatable. He has to accept a proposition from Hawkeye to go on a delivery mission for some cash, leaving his family behind. As long as they don't all get slaughtered, thus slinging this story down a cliched path we've all seen before, it should be a fun ride. Oh, did I mention Steve McNiven is a goddamn stunning artist?

Teen Titans: Year One #5 gets an A- from AHR
God the art in this book is fantastic. I can't get over it. Speedy's oval-shaped face and Little Rascals grin. Wonder Girl's continual wonder. The most convincingly handsome version of Green Arrow I've ever seen; let's all welcome Oliver's facial hair to modern times. This could be a picture book, and the story would be as engaging and clear as ever. But what of those word bubbles? I want to like Amy Wolfram's script, because the early-teen exuberance of the characters really does shine through, and it keeps the pace so quick there's little time to dwell on how clunky some of the dialogue feels. There's also some serious editorial problems in this book, from typos to lines that really needed another pass for clarity of action's sake. I also really wish that last panel was silent. Still the best looking book in comics today, anyone interested in cartooning or illustration must pick it up if only to steal from it.

Genius #1 gets a B from Albo
One of Top Cow's six "Pilot Season" comics, from which two will be voted "By You!" to become ongoing series. This is the first I've read, and it's pretty damn good. The pleasing art consists of nice clean cartoony line work (think a less pretty Karl Kerschl) with mostly subtle colors and just a few too many Photoshop tricks thrown in. The story is pretty original, about a physically diminutive but mentally colossal woman organizing street gangs into an all out war with the police. There's some connection between her and a cop that is trying to convince his superior officers that this is coming, but it's left unclear what that connection is in this ish. Definitely a fresh story, hopefully we'll be seeing more of it!

RASL #2 gets a B- from AHR
This is one moody book. I like the wordless and paranoia-inspiring walks around town, but Smith spends more than half the book having character engage in conversation about the very basics of parallel universes. Why? I don't think it's a difficult concept for most comic fans to grasp. The text of these conversations offer little in the way or new ideas or character development, but from an art standpoint it is nice to watch Smith do some fairly detailed work with his characters facial expression. It's a whole lot of close-ups, and the level of detail Smith puts into communicating their thoughts in their expressions is impressive to observe, but without an interesting plot to sink my teeth into it still feels like an illustration exercise.

Cthulhu Tales #3 gets a D from Albo
So I think my three month love affair with Cthulhu is over. The first story in this book is honestly some of the worst crap I've paid for in a long time. Actually, you know what? All three of these stories are some of the worst crap I've paid for in a long time. Pointless tales + sub-par art - $3.99 = one unhappy Albo.

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