Friday, February 10, 2012

Renaldo's Reviews: Dark Matter #2, Thief of Thieves #1, The Strain #3, Fatale #2, Severed #7, Last of the Greats #5

Dark Matter #2 –
It unfolds like a Joss Whedon ‘Serenity’ plot but it’s fun and filled with potential. While the cliff-hanger isn’t all that shocking, you can’t discount the good effort put in by Mallozi/Mullie’s script. Brown/Hill on art/colors show how coarse art in space can still look good and there’s a homely touch embedded as the lost crew find that their reasons for being adrift may not be as endearing and filled with valor, as first perceived.

The twists and turns are nice as we see a warm side to the lost crew, and just when it seems their altruism is shining though, there’s a huge speedbump ahead. It’s concise a story and conscientiously put together. The precise drama and tension carved here is sure to be filled with angst and blood soon enough, but till then…there’s the right blend of mystery and concoctions of secrecy in shrouds being emboldened here. The story is picking up quite nicely! (9/10)
Thief of Thieves #1 –
Kirkman’s plot as it’s scripted by Nick Spencer is simply made-for-TV as it’s all about Redmond, giving us his best Danny Ocean impression. It’s Ocean’s 11 meets Image Comics and the subtle hints here…are not so subtle when you see how much Danny Ocean is glazed onto the lead. It may have hurt the plot but the risk is well worth it as we see tales unwind and unravel with the lead finding something reminiscent to a soul-mate, yet far from. It’s about contradiction, contraband and that fulfilment you get when you realize you just may have attained or stolen all that you need to. The segments of time are well dissected to keep a silky flow. Seeing Redmond ponder if to delve into that big score we all dream of is something unique, non-fragmented and relatable. Martinbrough’s art is gritty yet compliments the pages pretty accurately so that’s a sweet bonus here. There’s an impetus to shoot straight into the next issue here which bodes well for the title! (8/10)
Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi # 0 –
John Ostrander goes in depth into the history of the pre-Jedi era, and encompasses that vast landscape that’s also pre-Sith. It’s about religions, relics, architecture, places, technology, culture and people. Riveting stuff for hardcore fans but I struggled to keep abreast. Nonetheless it is a comprehensive well-tuned and perfectly pitched guide for the #1 out soon! (8/10)

The Strain # 3 –
I’m in the letters section so it’s an automatic 10. That aside, the plot here is still dragging and building a bit too precariously to that horrific and violent crescendo. The mannerism of how everything is interlocked and how all the gore and tension plays out is genius but a change of pace is needed to prevent that mild boredom from setting in. It’s perfect on art for this muddled pandemic and creepy effect, and the dialogue is cringing, but spot on. That aside, for the book to really hit home, it’s time to stop with this molasses beat and get on with the turbulence. We have enough build up and it’s reeking of Goyer’s FLASHFORWARD…not a compliment! It’s a 6 on the pandemonium non-TWILIGHT scale but I rate it a 10 just cause…see above! (10/10)

Fatale #2 –
Brubaker and Phillips continue to weasel their way into our visual abode with a conundrum of deceit, noirish altruism, romance and eerie horror panels. The mystifying criminal element here is profound as is the professed feeling of lure. There’s a trap hidden and nourished in these pages and the creative team snares us in fully with the old-school adage of ‘DON’T TRUST ANYONE!’  Both gents flourish off their skill and hone the mystery well and deep into the occult influences of this book. The macabre and dense criminal feel is paved with a morose hue of mystery and the enigma is perfectly scripted. It reels us in and the last page sets the stage for something grander. Mixing noir with such dark themes isn’t easy a feat, but here…we learn just how to snap at it! (9/10)

Severed # 7 –
I waited for this finale for quite some time and it proved underwhelming. I wasn’t too fascinated with the ending as it seemed forced and clichéd and this hurt given that the previous 6 issues were pure gold. Seeing Jack with an amputated arm battle the villain who has been sheer terror in the flesh and horror incarnate was a bit unnecessary and took away from the totality of the story where the villain was an immovable rock. This finale sees the villain watered down, Jack powered up…and it makes no sense. The deus ex machine with the guest woman in the pages is also too trite and seems formulaic.  This reminded me of IT by Stephen King where I find myself in the minority that doesn’t really vibe the final few scenes. That stands true here again as the final pages fall flat to me. I expected a resounding finish but while the climax faltered, at least Atilla’s art was anything but diminished. The art redeemed it for me, it was that good. (6/10)
The Last of the Greats #5 –
Well, Fialkov and Peeples lost it here. This issue is filled with WTFs. Not the good kinds. Sorry. I was a fan but #4 and now this…were shot to hell. A good idea was taken, drawn out and then dragged on. It was tread upon roughly which saddens me after such a great start. I had enormous optimism here but while Peeples slacked off on the art here, I found that Fialkov could have redeemed the issue. He didn’t. The battles, internal and external, were not immense and we saw little from our protagonist throughout. I guess he was anally indisposed. Also, the other escapees known as the Greats really escaped…with no good reason? Why now? How did this happen? I’m scratching my head. It isn’t as confusing as Grant Morrison but hell…it’s as weak as Jeph Loeb! I cannot express my disappointment with the ending although RETURN OF THE GREATS will reel me in. Sad huh?  (2/10)

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