Comic book trade paperbacks

Catching up on several I’ve been reading … LUTHOR, by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo presents a Luthor’s-eye-view of his long-running feud with Superman, in which Luthor sees himself as the champion of human aspiration against a superbeing who only mocks it by so effortlessly surpassing our accomplishments. Competent, but it doesn’t really work with any version of Luthor, pre- or post-Crisis—and frankly, his scheme’s dumb as a brick.
100 BULLETS: Decayed by Azzarello and Eduardo Risso has Augustus Medici continue his scheming to take over the Trust while we also flash back to when Graves became leader of the Trust’s enforcers, the Minutemen. Unfortunately this suffers the same problem as the previous volume Strychnine Lives—the straight crime drama that serves as the B-Plot just doesn’t work for me (even though it turns out to be one of Graves’ little games). That’s not really Azzarello’s fault—like Scalped, crime comics just don’t work for me—but Ed Brubaker managed it in Criminal so it’s a shame 100 Bullets can’t do the same.
THE SPIRIT: Femmes Fatales by Will Eisner collects the Spirit’s run-ins with various bad or not-so-bad dames, including British thief-turned-spy Satin Silk, genius Silken Floss, crooks Thorne Strand and Lorelei Rox and Eisner’s most entertaining villainess, the very bad P’Gell. Unfortunately, the theme tends to make the stories repetitious—elements that might work when repeated months apart wear down fast by the end of this TPB (like the fondness of all these Bad Girls for melting into the Spirit’s arms).
ELEPHANTMEN: Wounded Animals is the first collection of an Image Comics series about genetically engineered ani-men (referred to as Elephantmen by the media) attempting to rebuild lives after the war they were bread to fight ends. An odd mix with some sharp stories and some that are mostly mindless action. Interesting overall, but nothing I’d make an effort to find Volume 2 of.
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN: Century: 2009 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill concludes the Century trilogy as the scattered League (Mina in a nuthouse, Orlando at war, Alan Quatermain a street person and druggie) reunite for their final showdown with Haddo’s newborn Antichrist, who turns out to be a possessed Harry Potter (apparently all his adventures were just setting him up to be taken over by the Dark Powers). This is easily the weakest volume in the series—populating the guest cast with characters taken from TV rather than Victorian or pulp fiction makes this feel too much like a piece of fan-fic, and Moore’s distaste for Rowling’s writing (“This school is like a bad movie set designed to evoke comforting memories of the 1940s.”) gets old fast.
UNWRITTEN: On to Genesis by Mike Carey and Peter Gross catches me up on the TPBs of the series (the next one comes out later this year). Here, Tommy Taylor ues his father’s journals to investigate the history of the fiction-shaping Cabal and learns about his father’s awkward relationship with a female comics creator who gave us a super-hero well before Siegel and Shuster, thereby bringing down the wrath of the Cabal (who are alarmed to realize that pop culture can undermine their work to shape the world through serious fiction). Good (certainly Tommy’s father comes off even more of a blackguard than he did before), though the Cabal’s Big and Evil Plans for the real world continue to underwhelm: Is there any fictional conspiracy that doesn’t take credit for Hitler coming to power?
ABE SAPIENS: The Devil Does Not Jest by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and James Herren is set in the early 1980s, as Abe investigates threats involving a drowned boy, a sunken magical artifact and a house that turns out to contain some really nasty entities. I’m so used to Hellboy-related material coming in big arcs it’s often a surprise to read something self-contained; good stuff, though and some excellent horror art.

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Filed under Comics, Reading

2 responses to “Comic book trade paperbacks

  1. Pingback: And books | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Graphic novels | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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