Posted by: Jordan Smith on August 10, 2013
Tags: Alberto Ponticelli, Brad Simpson, Brandon Graham, Catalyst Comix, China Mieville, comics, Dan McDaid, Dial H, Giannis Milonogiannis, Haggard West, Jim Rugg, Joe Casey, Jordan Smith, Kate Craig, Paul Maybury, Paul Pope, Prophet, Reviews, Simon Roy, Ulises Farinas
Grand Champion of the Kumite Brian Hibbs is going all Howard Beale above and below this post. Go check ’em out and get smart. Or, read me going on about comic books. Win / win, right?
Disclaimer: This is not to say that Hibbs will follow down the awful rabbit hole Beale goes in Network. He’s just mad as hell and he’s out the window telling you about it. You’re human beings, damn it! Your lives have value!
Capsules of the last weeks after the jump!
Dial H # 15
Mieville / Ponticelli
At $4.99 and stuffed with 38 pages of story Dial H #15 doesn’t disappoint in the “crazy be crazy” department. My interest in the series had waned after the initial arc but I kept on with it and now at the abbreviated end I’m glad that I did. Ponticelli’s rough madness grew on me throughout and Mieville introduced some elements I’d never thought of let alone seen in a Dial H comic. These radical takes on existing property seem to get shorter and shorter runs at relevancy and I’m left wondering what a juggernaut like DC is doing trying to have main line (52) contributions from books like these on a sales level. One hopes that Vertigo provides a lifeline with realistic expectations. Oh, also, does anyone give a rip about those Channel 52 things? Seems an indulgent house ad with no discernible value when “costs keep going up!” (by the by – 7 pages of ads in this one – mostly house and house adjacent)
Though…this is pretty funny.
Graham / Milonogiannis / Roy
First, I got the Jim Rugg cover and it’s pretty great. I highly recommend seeking out SuperMag #1 by the man himself. Stylistically and in all different types of delivery Rugg is really and truly a virtuoso talent. Stunningly flexible. Check it out. Amazing. (Additional superlatives needed)
Anywho, Prophet is lean and mean as a comic book. The gang throws us 29 pages of story content with nary an ad. Even the inside front and back covers are dedicated to story. It’s a generous gesture and almost certainly costs someone money. I can’t stress enough how immediately – by breaking the opening page monotony – Prophet slams you into the narrative. By changing the pace you change the experience. Not cookie cutter comics.
Also worth mentioning is the continuing and “as the wind blows” back-up selection. This month, Kate Craig brings us a precious story about the emotional and psychological benefits of not always trying to annihilate anything that has the temerity to exist outside our immediate scope of meticulous plans and schemes. Being decent, essentially, is its own reward. The whole thing is enjoyably paced with a nice, emotive style. Kate also draws amazing and weird hands / paws. Cool.
Catalyst Comix #2
Casey / McDaid / Maybury / Farinas
Art = NICE. Each brings an identifiable tone – sense of place – and individual style. I gushed over each of these in my original review and talked through the motifs they’re employing but I have to say – AGAIN – that the super…SUPER…SUPER star of this thing so far is Brad Simpson. The color palette for each of these chapters is individual – unique and simply gorgeous. Colorists just don’t get enough love and this guy is on another level. A true secret weapon who deserves all the credit in the world for giving this book something to simultaneously help hold it together and break it up. Get paid, Brad Simpson. Get paid!
On the other hand your enjoyment of the story is going to be largely dependent on how much you enjoy winking asides. If, like myself, you generally respond with atrocious and socially unacceptable amounts of sighing and eye-rolling you may want to read this one in the isolation chamber.
At points Casey goes full frontal assault, totally aping Dr. Strangelove, using Vandelay Industries as the company responsible for rebuilding the trashed city (when everyone knows they deal exclusively in latex), and having the group therapy session centerpiece of Change Agents not only fall prey to every, single, boring satirical stereotype trope of such an encounter but also take place in the gymnasium of the Jean M Giraud Fighting Arzachs.
That is to say…it’s kind of what you expect from a Joe Casey comic and that’s not what I was sold as a “bold re-invention of the super-hero comic experience.”
Anywho, all 3 segments here could actually be part of an extended #1 comic. We’re re-introduced, the supporting cast fleshes out a bit, a new wrinkle is revealed. I think it’s not a bad strategy early on to give people late to the party a bit of breathing room so, from me at least, the feel of the pace is not too bad.
Still, does this line make any f’ing sense? I must have read this three times and I was afraid it was going to give me a Lewis Black aneurysm. Maybe Casey is trying to say the guy talking is just coming right out of his ass with this stuff but…I kinda doubt it.
“If it weren’t for my horse…”
The Invincible Haggard West #101
32 pages – No ads
All this goes without saying and to prattle about it would really belabor the point but it’s really and truly quite striking as an artistic statement. From the hand-drawn sound effects to the visual choices made for each character this thing is a note perfect juggernaut.
Each sound effect is perfectly and I mean fucking perfectly suited and delivered.
Contrast a well placed “Klop, Klop, Klop” or “TCHOOF!!” with some digitally inserted garbage in Batman / Superman and that tells you there is a difference between art and product.
The design work is so elegant and beautiful it engenders hyperbole. In action or at rest Haggard’s “flight frame” is a thing of wonder. His guns are neon tube death machines with impossible innards. Hell, the man himself is so pulpy when his scarf gets shot you feel him take things to the next level. (I pulled two vertical panels out of sequence just to show you the elements)
The supporting characters are well rendered in a minimum of space. Haggard’s daughter, Aurora, is on for all of three pages and she’s already got a backbone to envy and a multifaceted personality.
This is A work and EXCELLENT. Battling Boy can’t come soon enough.
Happy reading, everyone!