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Late To The Party: More Review from Jeff of the 4/4 Books.

Jeff Lester

I’m finally watching season three of Battlestar Galactica, on maybe episode eight or something, and….wow. I’ll be curious to see what they do with the next ten or twelve episodes but, occasional clunker or two notwithstanding, it’s one hell of a season so far.

In other late adapter news, I just read my first volume of Naruto last week.

And next week, the missus and I are getting one of them new-fangled rotary-dial telephones! No more party lines for us!

Oh, and what a drag Johnny Hart died just a day short of Easter Sunday, huh? I think the timing of that would’ve made him grin a litttle. I’ll spare you the standard story, but suffice it to say my brothers and I had about 15 to 20 B.C. paperbacks growing up and read ’em until the spines dissolved.

And, anyway:

DARK TOWER GUNSLINGER BORN #3: I don’t know; I’m getting a little more underwhelmed with each issue. I mean, it looks lovely, but it reads like Cormac McCarthy doing a rewrite of The Sword and The Sorceror. And while that was initially okay, it’s getting a little dullish–the big action in this issue is a dude batting a decapitated head twenty feet, and someone getting their finger knocked off with a slingshot. At this rate, we’re gonna have people blinding each other with straw wrappers and/or falling after running with scissors by issue #5. Lovely but really when you factor in the price and the back-patting extra features? Eh.

DETECTIVE COMICS #831: I run hot and cold on the art team of Kramer & Faucher–if nothing else, whenever the Ventriloquist pops up I can’t help but notice how much everyone looks like a mannequin–but some fault also lies with Dini who, as Hibbs pointed out in the store on Friday, still writes his action scenes for animation. I’m also not down with Harley being rehabilitated (if nothing else, I think it’s the third rogue to do so in Dini’s run, which suggests either a very slowly developed story arc or a distracted writer) but, on the other hand, it’s a pretty competent done-in-one and us Batman fans gotta take our thrills where we can get ’em these days. So, OK.

FALLEN SON DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA WOLVERINE: Nice art, but I got to the point where Wolverine recruits Daredevil for DD’s heightened senses and I never quite recovered. (Isn’t that like Iron Man recruiting War Machine because he needs someone with armor and high-tech weaponry?) I’ll probably keep checking these out, if only to see if Loeb falls back on his crutch of excerpting lengthy historical speeches for cheap and easy resonance. Please don’t mistake that for a recommendation: pretty pictures pull this up to Eh.

IMMORTAL IRON FIST #4: Ups the awesome by about 200% and probably just in time–dashed-off steampunk hyperbole meets wacky kung-fu hijinks and old-school convoluted Marvel continuity to give you that classic ’70s comic book feeling of a book that can access every genre conceivable and still have guys in funny suits punching people in the face. Also reminded me a bit of reading Ellis’s superhero work but without the nagging feeling the author was vomiting in a wastebasket every four pages. Very Good stuff, in short. I liked it quite a bit.

IRON MAN HYPERVELOCITY #4: In a way, this is almost like Adam Warren’s rewrite of Livewires, as you get a lot of the same ideas and motifs–a fixation on “mecha” culture, artificial personality and cat-and-mouse games with high-tech covert intelligence agencies–but all of the dullness carved away: Warren not only throws his protagonist from the frying pan into the fire at the end of every issue (as he notes on the last page here) but at least once more per issue, as well. It’s currently running the risk of being too one-note at this point, but I’m inclined to believe he’ll change things up for the final act. Highly Good stuff, and it’ll either make an awesome trade or an exhausting one. I’ll be curious to see where it goes.

JONAH HEX #18: If the nation’s Grindhouse fever keeps up for more than a week or two–or happened at all, if the movie’s earnings are any indication–maybe DC could figure out how to advertise this book in a way that makes explicit the links between this and those scuzzy theaters with their cheap and nasty double features. Like many of those lovely films, this issue was a nasty piece of work with little more in mind than putting its arm around you, offering to school you in mankind’s most detestable behavior, and then punching you in the stomach when you drop your guard and lean in closer to listen. Pretty OK, although just about every issue I put down feels about two to five pages too short.

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