Friday, March 16, 2012

Renaldo's Reviews: Saga #1, Dark Matter #3, Exile from the Planet of the Apes #1, Strain #4, Conan #1-2

Saga # 1 –

BKV is at his literary best here and as a fan of his Runaways, it’s such a tasty offering. The casual, nonchalant yet profane vibe tossed into the intergalactic couple on the run makes for exciting pages. It’s all Romeo and Juliet…plus a baby…meets Star Wars. There’s enough mystery steeped into the Bonne and Clyde vibe as we see star-crossed lovers (literally) running from the law to protect their child. The child’s narrative adds a nice blend of guile and intrigue as you wonder how her journey went. It’s a girl I may add. There are a lot of sexual connotations involved but wondering how the narrator went from being a baby to actually documenting this title is journalistic gold.
Vaughn’s script and the simple yet effective art of Fiona Staples is well planned and brilliantly executed a la this space diary. BKV doesn’t show his hand and why this hunt is occurring is reason enough to come for a second issue. One thing stands out, this book packs some space-love romantic punch and it’s something that only BKV could cook up…and have smell so sumptuous. (9/10)

Dark Matter #3 –
This book is resplendent and is such a continued success. The team finds out that the people they thought they were saving were actually their targets…but the team’s memory loss has them with changed minds, and hearts…or does it? There are layers of duplicity running deep and while Garry Brown’s art isn’t as glossy and silky as we’d expect, the Mallozzi/Mullie story is a perfect fit to a tale of space/western/drama-oriented action. There’s action in this issue and a lot of I may add. But what wins is the moment where you realize that all the hunky-dory material is soon to be obsolete and the gloves will soon be off. Not all hands are shown as we see the team actually deciding to help the denizens until certain offers are made that can’t be refused. If you throw in some Godfather and Departed influence into the space mix, I can guarantee intergalactic tension that is worth your money. This book is riveting and tells a Whedon-esque space story that keeps you moved when the brawling occurs and attached…when revelations are made. I can ask for no more in a title. (9/10)
Exile from the Planet of the Apes #1 –
Hardman usually wows me with his art but here, he crafts and indelible story with Corrina Beckho and throw in the nice artistic offering of Marc Laming, and I can see fans of the franchise and lore appreciating this. It’s a superbly written expository piece that beckons well to fans of the original tales. Zaius and Prisca are made relatable and funnily, human, as can be as we get the normal society entanglements with emotional tourniquets that the book really and truly desired. The final page sets up well for what’s to ensue and true fans would appreciate the nod to the general direction of this book. Seeing the human resistance trying to usurp or at least survive the ape populace really comes off with a sparkling tinge here. (8/10)

Strain # 4 –
Lapham has impressed me with the poise garnered with his literary prose this week. I fell for his AoA at Marvel and with Huddlestone’s art here, they complement each other well. The art accentuates the gristly, eerie tale that Hogan/Del Toro set out with as the virus strain engulfs the city and then some. Bristles of risqué tones were taken by moving with a slow, creepy momentum to build to this issue where the attacks come full-fledged and it was a smart move given that all hell breaks loose here. The gloves are taken off with Lapham’s decision to cast that infinite die of incisive horror storytelling.  The incisions into the book give some grizzly panels where horrendous deaths are abound but with the dark and masterful art here…it’s a pageantry of what makes a horror…a horror. The banquet of tragedy and angst offered here would bode well for TV rights and seeing the gore carved here, finally…finally…made it worthwhile and there’s a lot more to come. Enough has been teased to show this. (8/10)
Conan #1, 2 –

The clefts made by Conan’s blades in these two issues highlight Cloonan’s impressive artistic endeavours but it’s that blend of action and romance that gives a pirate/swashbuckling feel to this title that I can accredit the guile of Brian Wood to. Aside from Massimo Carnevale’s glistening covers (really wondrous), Cloonon and Wood offer an ebb and flow, rife with haughty swords, pride and a sense of vanity that made Conan rally as an attractive read to me. Seeing Conan set out to lay the Belit down in blood shows that he’s all about Herculean feats, justice…but with trophies in haul. It’s altruistic and a different take on the Cimmerian but it works pretty well here. Conan embarks on cavalier missions branded with a unique sense of loyalty but when the sultry dangers of the sea present themselves, all bets are off…and Conan proves that he is just a man…and this humanity facet takes its toll well to the reader. (9/10)

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