Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Criminal # 4; Punisher War Journal # 3; Fear Agent 10

Criminal # 4
Ed Brubaker-Sean Phillips

If you're into comics, you already know the score on this book. I always hesitate to even bother reviewing it because of that reason. But if you're not into comics and you're looking to read one of the best books out there, and enjoy Noir tales at all, then this is the book for you. Brubaker as he shows in most of the things he's writing these days, is a master storyteller who knows how to unfold a character on the side of your pool and make them the most captivating thing under the sun. Not because these are perfect statuesque models of humanity, but because these are flawed unadmirable people. Junkies and Cowards are your heros in this book.

But man does it sing. Sean Phillips artwork for the series is restrained and beautiful. It's mostly comprised of quiet scenes of people getting their morning coffee, jarred with very few, but very effective flourishes of blood drenched corpses as the body count continues to silently stack up.

Like I was saying, if you're into comics at all, you know about this book, you're reading it, and this review one way or the other will have no real effect on you. If you're not into comics though, go pick this up. It doesn't involve superheroes on any level. It's not overly violent. There isn't a lot of cursing. It's just tight tight storytelling of a dark noir tale.

Punisher War Journal # 3
Matt Fraction-Ariel Oliveti

Despite the fact that Fraction completely rewrites the portion of this that is in the main Civil War Book (I don't know if these errors might not be intentional, since the book is told from Frank's messed up vantage point, or if it's just sloppy editing) this is a good book that just needs patience from the readers. The talent working on this book is exceptional. And while Civil War is dragging the plot of the book down, the book works as chopped up bits that have been seemed together. The writing actually on each page is a lot of fun and I geniunely enjoy reading it.

The art of the book is the highpoint for me. I absolutely adore Ariel Olivetti's work, and will be very interested in seeing more work.

This book is far from perfect, and I feel like I have to appologize for it a lot both in reviews and when I talk to others about it. But I promise you if you give this one time, I am pretty sure given the evidence we already have, that it's going to be a terrific book. Not every book comes sprinting out of the gate. Punisher War Journal probably won't hit it's groove until the second arc or further. Which wouldn't even make it the first Punisher work in the last ten years that started off slowly.

And while it does seem a bit much to be picking up two punisher books per month, this one is so diffrent from Ennis's book that despite them both being about the same character, you really shouldn't hesitate. If you have room in your shopping bag, and some patience to wait through some early growing pains, pick this up. You'll seem so much more respectable when 6 months from now everyone is raving about how great this book is.

Fear Agent # 10
Rick Remender-Jerome Opena

Oh how I love my Fear Agent. I picked this book up only an issue ago, and have to say I am so not regretting it. Follwing the adventures of this drunken cowboy of an anti-hero through his bent up space adventures is a complete joy. I'm planning to go catch up on the rest of the series. But this is definitely a book I recommend.

It's a good thing to get away from the big two, because a lot of the independent publishers aren't as tied down by pandering to children. And so with Fear Agent we get a very adult book with lots of slime, grime, and boozing. The book is pretty funny, but definitely feels developed and multi-dimensional. There's a definite heart and soul to this book that even having only just jumped on is palpable. This is a book that for all the fun it is, feels very well thought out.

Rick Remender's essay defending the drug use of an earlier issue at the back of the book is a must read as well. A very interesting and provacative meditation on censorship and the need to show the very real effects that certian actions can have.

This is definitely a book to fill the hole leftover by some of the more mediocre books being put out by the big two, like in my opinion Green Lantern, The Flash(which is just bad), any book with the words Spider or man that doesn't also include the word Ultimate, and the now droning slodge through Planet Hulk.

No comments: