Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Batman and the Mad Monk 5; Nightly News 3; Kabuki: The Alchemy 8

Batman and the Mad Monk # 5
Matt Wagner

The most straightforward yarn of the bunch this week, Matt Wagner's Batman and the Mad Monk trudges on. It still feels too quality a book to dislike, but too run of the mill to really lavish praise on. For my money it's a very "meh" Batman book, but considering Morrison is on sabbatical from Batman, it will have to do.

The artwork is still from that Year One era Batman, with a little bit of an upgrade. Batman gets very bloody in this issue, and it looks pretty cool all told. I would appreciate more in this book if the campiness of it were played up. It's kind of by the numbers anyways with respect to the story, so it would be nice if it played with that fact more. The most exciting flourishes in the book, are the ones that have their tongue poked firmly in Batman camplore.

A lot does have to be said for the nostalgiac feeling you get from entering this sort of Batman world which wasn't so highly developed. But I do think Morrison did what Wagner should be aiming for with this book, a lot better with his Son of the Demon/Ninja Man Bat arc.

So yeah if you are starved for some Batman, this or Detective Comics will tide you over till Morrison gets back on the case.

The Nightly News # 3
Jonathan Hickman

So glad I stayed with this book with all the potential is showed in the first two issues. Issue three is where the book has finally found it's stride. Between the story and the political essaying, everything is in balance this issue.

The book is subtitled "education. ritalin. porn. rehab. choice" and that's a very good guid for what this issue tackles. The opening salvo about the american education system is a fantastic read and has me excited for more. The dialouge in this issue has taken on a definite poetic bend, and is fantastic to read.

Oh yeah, if you didn't know...the book is about putting a bullet through Lou Dobbs forehead. And I'm not talking metaphorically. Frankly it's amazing a book like this is being put out, but I guess if it were being put out by DC instead of Image, it probably would have already been pulled off the shelves. If you're at all angry about american society and the role politics and media play in it, this is your book. If you're at all interested in really interesting non-linear art, this is your book. Definitely the most intense read that you can get off the shelves without having to hide it under your mattress when you get home.

Do yourself a favor...
Kabuki: The Alchemy
David Mack
If there was a capital "C" comics label out there, Kabuki: The Alchemy would fall right into it. This book is basically free license for magic funtime artist David Mack to let his imagination take a flying blue yonder into jaunts unknown. Whether it's paneling, the style he's drawing in, the cut outs he's using--he'll do anything to express the ideas in his head.
This book centers around a dream and a debate about the nature and compulsion to write. It's a manifesto it seems of what drives Mack to do what he does and how he does. I mean, you'll note that I'm not really referring to the characters of the book doing this, because...well frankly I don't remember them at this point anymore, and they really just seemed to be placeholders on the page for the text and design that went on around and through them.

All in all this is a fascinating work, even if the philosophy of it doesn't interest you. Mack's art is always interesting, and in this book you can kind of get behind the mask of the art and see how it ticks.
It's a beautifully naked work to be sure.

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