Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Action Philosophers Giant Book 1; The Killer 2; Punisher War Journal 2

Action Philosophers Giant Size Book 1
Fred Van Lente-Ryan Dunlavey

Oh the halicoyn days of my "I...uh...think I maybe want to sort of major in philosophy" youth. I was so young and idealistic. All those bright sexy young ideas floating around. Yes. Those were the days. Action Philosophers reminds of those funtime special carnival freakshot days. It's got that wide eyed fun of big ideas by big people living in important times.

Backing up, in case it's not self-explanitory, what Action Philosphers is, is a comic that kind of distills about three philosphers or great thinkers down to their essence, and through the magic of comic humor makes what would otherwise be very daunting to understand, very easy to learn. The art is bombastic in that grand old cartooning sense. The jokes for the most part work. But on the whole, what you are in for, is something that at times might feel slightly textbooky. There is definitely a sense reading this book of "hey, wait a minute, you're trying to educate me, aren't you?" But it is a lot of fun.

It's a book that is completely diffrent from what else is out there, and in small doses, is really nice. If you are at all interested in philosophy then this is a great comic for you. If you also like a good humor book Action Philosphers will also appeal to you. You'll be better for having read it, that's for sure. Though your enjoyment level could vary depending on what you came into the book looking for.

The Killer
Matz-Luc Jacamon

This book is just the epitome of french cool. If you love stuff like the Professional, Ghost Dog, Le Samarouai, this book is for you. It mixes all of that into a very cynical world view that isn't afraid to engage contemporary politics(as much as one can be that was originally written in 1998 in France).

Just a really slick book. I've actually reviewed it before, but I wanted to reitterate that if you haven't started picking it up you are missing out.

In this issue we start to see the sanity of our hitman slip. The way this is shown through the art, is very cool. In fact that's the best word for this book. Cool.

Archaia Studios Press puts out fantastic quality books, and this is one of them. Do be reading.

Punisher War Journal # 2

Matt Fraction-Alive Olivetti

The writing in issue two takes a bit of a dive, with a seemingly inconsistent portrayal of Frank Castle, at times to embarrassingly silly degrees. It feels constrained and rushed in the writing. And the voice is not nearly as strong as it was in the first issue. But I can almost entirely blame all of this to being forced to tie into Marvel's Civil War. It's clear Fraction doesn't really enjoy wasting his time under the constrains of what's going on in Millar's book. Fraction's book almost seems to show contempt for the hoops Millar has thrown the Punisher through. The suspension of belief in Civil War that Cap and Punisher would work together that led to probably the best line of the entire series, is basically shredded to pieces in this book as being completely ridiculous. There is a real sense of contempt in Fraction's book when you really get down to it.

The art remains outstanding. I love to just look at this book. I love everything about the art. Even if I didn't have confidence in Fraction pulling this book off, I'd probably still pick it up just to enjoy the art. I mean, it's not changing art or anything. But it's a lot of fun.

Getting back to Fraction though, if you look at the seems of this book, in combination with the stellar debut issue, I think it's clear this is going to be a fantastic run. Fractions vision of the Punisher is a huge contrast to what Ennis is doing, but it is just as compelling. The Bridge character and his pursuit of Castle is one of the best aspects of the book so far. Pretty much everything in this book that isn't shoe-horned into the Civil War story, is excellent, which bodes well for the future of this book. I think much like Ennis, the editors at Marvel will be best served to walk away and let Fraction go crazy.

I think a lot of people who picked this issue up, but not the first issue, might not give it a chance, and that would be a huge mistake. I think Fraction has a big future with the Big Two, and this Punisher run should serve as an effective salvo ushering in a bright new talent(Read Cassanova too, please).

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