Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Other Side, Dr. Strange, Boys, Planet Hulk

The Other Side #1
Jason Aaron-Cameron Stewart
This is it. This right here. This is it. If you were looking for your hard as nails, gothic horror, crazy, told from both sides, timely political piece--Vietnam War comic--then this friends, this is your bag of tricks.
The writer of this amazing series Jason Aaron is going to be huge. It's best to just know that now. He can handle his vulgarity on the level of Ennis and Ellis. He's got an ear for humor. He can switch tones--the guy just flat out has skills. This book is beyond goodness.
The other star of the book is artist Cameron Stewart who is able to slip between the horror and the mundane very easily. He accentuates everything Aaron tries to do, which is how it should work. Things like this are why the word synergy was invented.
If you want a brief synopsis of this book, it's about the Vietnam War, following an american soldier from start to I suppose finish, and a Vietnamese soldier. By choosing to tell both stories it really gets at the main problems we had in Vietnam so much more clearly than many of the works of fiction out there on the topic. And it's so obvious a conciet, one wonders why it wasn't done to this degree before. The book is also full of ghosts and gore--it has this psychedlic horror film quality that can't be escaped, and I'm looking forward to more and more fluctations of the reality of the book.
Tremendous book that is worth picking up now, and then buying again when it comes out in trade.

Dr. Strange # 1
Brian K. Vaughn-Marcos Martin
The other great book of the month is Brian K. Vaughn's Dr. Strange book. Dr. Strange has never been a huge favorite character of mine. Honestly he just kind of shows up and then leaves in a lot of books, I really didn't know that much about him. I knew OF him. Knew he was one of the power houses of the marvel universe, but it feels like his story has never really been told. And in Vaughn we have the perfect voice to tell it.

The humor in this book is fantastic. Yes Vaughn does lay the seeds for a real pathos to Stephen Strange, but it's the witty banter between the supporting characters and Strange that make the book. Strange plays a really great straight man and Vaughn seems to know this. It's not to say this is a comedy book, but you laugh while reading it. Vaughn has made Strange into an immenietly likeable character and he already is very believeable. It's really a neat little book to get into, and I really do hope that Vaughn stays with it for awhile, as I think once he leaves this character is going to die. I don't think there's anyone in the comic's world who could write Dr. Strange this well....well actually, thinking on it, Jason Aaron might be able to do it...that would be an interesting book...(note to self, send note to Marvel).

The Boys # 3
Garth Ennis-Darick Robertson
I'm begining to think this would be a good book to read in trades. It is taking all parts of forever to get going. Issue three is more of the same from issue two. More blabber about all the bad things the Boys are going to do, a lot of standing around looking menacing--and not a whole lot of doing. I think this might play out better in the pace of a trade. As a monthly the only thing that gets you through are the crude sex and violence jokes. Ennis has yet to really show his hand as to what he might be up to.
We've yet to get the notion that we're a part of a larger more important story and that this isn't just going to be some episodic joke of the month thing. I trust Ennis, but it is certainly possible that the man has lost some of the great romanticism from his early work that made him so great. Preacher wasn't great because of the gore and over the top humor, that was good, but it was the underlying theme of friendship that pulled that book through. I guess I can see that potential with Mother's Milk, but it's tough. Issue 4 will give us the first taste of The Boys doing their business I think, so this story should be off and rocking soon.

Incredible Hulk # 99
Greg Pak-Aaron Lopresti

I wish I could stop reading this title, but somehow I like it. I want to see how it ends. Kudos to Pak for creating a what is on the surface a very mediocre book, but is impossible to put down once you've started the series.

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