September 20th, 2012

troll dweomer

I Fight Angels. (73)

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly & JM Ken Nimura.

Favored Enemy?
Giants. Big, primordial.
Least favorite: cancer.

Did you ever read (or watch) The Maxx? Same thing, here, in a nutshell, though I Kill Giants is rooted much more in the real world, with the fantasy world being much more unambiguously imaginary. That is a trick Ken Nimura pulls off really well; the art in the book is very much hard lines of black & grey, which Nimura interrupts with blocky lines of white to show off the protagonist's....well, saying hallucinations is probably going to far, but saying whimsy is probably going to bright. This is a fairly dark book; the real giant in the text is the cancer that Barbara Thorson's mother is dying of. All the flights of fancy are Barbara's coping mechanism, & it goes deeper than just escapism. It is a remarkably accurate picture of someone having an emotional breakdown; Barbara lashes out at her family, at her friends, at her teachers, at strangers, at everyone. It is a little more psychodrama then I tend to like-- the curse of indie comics, I suppose-- but the catharsis with the titan at the end is worth it. Kelly writes with an eye for detail, which really anchors his verisimilitude; Barbara's emotional problems are utterly believable, & the things she chooses to latch onto are imbued with the kind of reverence that evokes the mania of childhood. The strange rituals, the favored objects, yeah, I buy it. I think the fact that it is Nimura's first long form project shows up in the occasional ambiguous panel transition, but I think a lot of modern comics sacrifice good panel sequencing for clever panel sequencing, so I'm used to it.
rose code

Long Live Mother Dark!

The Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson.

I talk about Forge of Darkness as Erikson's thought experiment over at Tor.com because I really do think that is what it is. I mentioned a while ago that I'd read it for Tor.com & I finally finished chewing on my thoughts. Erikson is an interesting case. Malazan is his roleplaying setting, so as some one deeply invested in his own campaign setting I feel a certain kinship; similarly, Erikson studied to be an anthropologist, which is what I studied in college. We go in widely different directions, but I have a certain sympathetic eye for what he's doing. Forge of Darkness is his Silmarillion-esque trilogy. I'm curious what he does with it.
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Lar Gand. (74)

Mon-El, Man of Valor Volume Two by James Robinson, Javier Pina, Bernard Chang, Fernando Dagnino, et al.

Monday of House El,
will face his ultimate foe:
Solomon Grundy.

So this was actually...pretty good! It certainly is very pretty, & it shows a deft hand at trying to weave Silver Age continuity into modern plot lines. Daxam as a Kryptonian colony from once upon a time, that sort of thing. The biggest problem with this comic is that it comes into being only because of a credulity straining "event"-- I'm finding that to be a theme, actually, in the superhero comics I'm reading. Any sense of narrative flow is interrupted by big, silly crossover events. I remember this "New Krypton" thing; that was just about when everyone I knew stopped reading dailies. This trade is, like I said, pretty good. It does a good job of showcasing Mon-El, who is free to be a real character. You know, he's not hampered by licensing & such, so he doesn't have to be neutered; sure, Mon-El, take a shower with that lady, you are both consenting adults. The problem is that, well, this trade collects "Superman Secret Files 2009 1," Superman Annual 14," "Superman 692-697" & "Adventure Comics 11." Those transitions are all sloppy, & presuppose that you've been reading the rest of the stuff in the crossover, which, well, I didn't. Can you tell that I pretty much hate event-driven comics? Everything is constantly Crisis in DC, & Marvel...man, Marvel is all "oh no, a guy with Lucky Charms Tron powers is giving everyone Lucky Charm Tron powers! PS this is an allegory about politics!" I didn't know this was Volume Two-- the library sticker covers up the spine-- but I didn't notice till right now when I came to write it up. Oh can I say-- I was really happy to see The Guardian in this. Jack Kirby is the man, & his Superman supporting cast should always show up. The Guardian fits in Metropolis. I am a little bummed that it wasn't the Manhattan Guardian from Seven Soldiers though. I guess, looking at Wikipedia, the Manhattan Guardian is, paradoxically, located in Cinderella City? Oh Grant. Anyhow, I like "clone of the original Guardian" a lot, too. Very DNA Project, very Cadmus; a natural evolution. I guess what I'm saying is, this was a pleasant surprise.