ALEX + ADA by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn didn’t work for me at all. The Alex of the title is a lonely near-future nerd saddled with a sexbot (Ada) by his well-meaning granny, who then sets out to give her genuine intelligence rather than leaving her a puppet. This treads into well-trodden territory and fails to bring back anything fresh.
MODESTY BLAISE: The Grim Joker by Peter O’Donnell and Enric Badio Remoro (cover by Romero, rights with current holder) collects three of the newspaper strip story arcs starring the deadly ex-criminal and her trusty sidekick Willie. In one, Willie winds up amnesiac and endangered in South America; in another, Modesty has to play a cat-and-mouse game when a research expedition encounters a group of treasure hunters; and in the title tale, Modesty and Willie decide to take out a trio of thrill-killers. Good fun, as usual.
THE REMARKABLE WORLDS OF PROFESSOR PHINEAS B. FUDDLE by Boaz and Erez Yakin has a couple of professors realize that London’s time-stream has turned completely chaotic due to the time-tampering interventions of the eponymous Fuddle. Hunting him down takes them to steampunk versions of India, Egypt and the Far East, but this gets repetitious fast as the same plot seems to happen in each place. Nice try, but no more than that.
The final volume of Steve Englehart’s COYOTE indie series (with various artists) pushes a little too hard to wrap everything up as Tally and Slash join shapeshifter Sly in stopping a scheme by the USSR and the Shadow Cabinet to replace President Reagan with an obedient clone. The pushing part comes by bringing in Englehart’s Scorpio Rose as well as the Djinn for the big finish. Satisfactory, even so; although the Shadow Cabinet is obviously down, not out, I don’t believe we saw them again (though Coyote and Scorpio have cropped up elsewhere, most recently in Englehart’s Max August novels)
Apparently Janni Nemo has become Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s go-to character for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen novels. I wasn’t very keen to open NEMO: The Roses of Berlin given Nemo: Heart of Ice was only so-so, but this turned out to be surprisingly fun as Janni and lover Broad-Arrow Jack learn that their daughter and son-in-law (Verne’s Robur the Conqueror) have gone down over Berlin in 1941 where they were fighting against the forces of German/Tomanian dictator Hynkel (from Chaplin’s The Great Dictator). Breaking them free involves encounters with the mad scientist Rottwang’s robots, Dr. Caligari’s somnabulist strike force and an alliance with crimelord Dr. Mabuse. More fun than I expected.
Jules Feiffer’s KILL MY MOTHER starts well as a hardboiled detective parody involving a hardboiled detective (obviously), his secretary who wants to solve her husband’s murder, a gorgeous client and the secretary’s decidedly pissed-off daughter. Unfortunately this strong starts goes limp in the second half, set in Hollywood in WW II and involving some insanely complicated scheming around a USO tour. And I must admit, Feiffer’s style works better for me in cartoons than long form (I found the lettering style slowed me down a lot).
I’m glad FABLES is wrapping up in a couple of TPBs because Bill Willingham’s work on the book definitely feels like it’s running out of steam. That said, Camelot was reasonably enjoyable as Rose Red decides her destiny is to recreate King Arthur’s court; unfortunately, the Fate of the original Camelot may descend on this one too … This clearly sets up for the end, though presenting possibilities for both disaster and hope, so I’ll see how it plays out down the road.
The fourth volume of Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ SAGA provides the usual fun as Marco and Alanna’s marriage hits a rough spot (drugs, stress, pretty neighbors) before throwing a curve-ball that sends it in unexpected directions. Fun and charming, as usual.