Thursday, January 29, 2009

Comics Reading List

This was a light week for me, as I didn't have any interest in Final Crisis or 90% of the crap that DC or Marvel are selling. A new Northlanders and Umbrella Academy came out, but I've adopted a wait-for-the-trade strategy with those.

Battlefields: Dear Billy, Part 1 (of 3) (Writer: Garth Ennis, Pencils: Peter Snejbjerg)
Ennis continues his World War II anthology series with a story that takes place in South Asia. Set during the opening months of 1942, the comic focuses on the war with Japan from the British perspective, and is narrated by a Royal Army nurse who suffered brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese. The "Billy" in the title is an RAF pilot who was badly injured (in his case, by a bunch of Japanese bayonets), and he and the narrator meet at a hospital in India. Far more so than the typical two-fisted tales found in most war comics, Ennis captures the almost casual brutality of the war, and draws attention to the fact that women are especially vulnerable targets. Thankfully though, this is not a story of victimization, but rather one of survival and love. The art in this title is not particularly memorable, but it effectively lays out the narrative and there is an excellent use of color to convey mood.

New Avengers #49 (Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils" Billy Tan)
I never claimed to not be a hypocrite. After opening this post by dissing Marvel, here I am reviewing one of their big titles. This is another Avengers issue by Bendis, which means a lot of "realistic" dialogue, a lot of unnecessary violence, and not very much actually happening to advance the plot. All that being said, I liked this issue if for no other reason than it has Luke Cage out-smarting the Green Goblin in the most obvious way possible: by being a dirty-fucking liar. Unfortunately, a decent-enough story is nearly undone by the terrible art of Billy Tan. He seems to be trying too hard to ape the style of regular penciller Leinil Yu, with the result that everything seems both over-drawn and yet oddly out of proportion.

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