Once again I’m back from the comic shop with two new comics:

  • Ex Machina – 28
  • Local – 9
  • Plus I bought the new vinyl figure of “Skullboy” (of the Mighty Skullboy Army). It’s produced by Dark Horse Comics based on a character by my friend Jacob Chabot. It’s really cool and and a bit bigger than I thought it would be. Nice.

    Last week I bought Criminal Vol 1 “Coward”. It’s a collection of the first five issues of the series named “Criminal”. It’s by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips and published by Marvel Comics under their creator owned “Icon” imprint. It’s about a criminal who’s especially good at running away when a plan goes wrong. Because of this “talent” he’s seen as a coward by other criminals. He gets involved in a heist with some crooked cops and the plan goes wrong so he has to, guess what, run away. It seemed kind of obvious that was going to happen.

    I’m generally a fan of Brubaker’s writing and I think his crime noir stuff is better than his mainstream super hero stuff. That said I think this is B level Brubaker. Still, his B level stuff is good so I’ll take it. Especially since the art and coloring were good.

    Maybe it was because this is one of those stories that was all about criminals and there were no good guys but I didn’t find it as involving as Point Blank, Sleeper, or The Fall. I found some of the dialogue to be clunky and stilted. Usually when the criminals were bantering or threatening each other. I’m not sure if it was the fault of the artist’s storytelling or the writer’s words but something seemed a little off at times. The narration was always smooth and believable though.

    I found it a little odd that there is no lettering credit on the book. The balloons look like they were drawn right on the art work but the lettering itself is done on a computer. Maybe Sean Phillips did his own lettering and the “art” credit covers the lettering. There is a coloring credit after all (Val Staples).

    All in all there is definitely enough good stuff here to recommend this book. Don’t let my minor problems with it stop you from getting it. After all, I’ll be there to buy the next volume.

    Sabre – A graphic novel by Don McGregor and Paul Galacy from 1978. I have some old issues of this series from the early Eighties but I never read this, the original, graphic novel. I haven’t read the issues since the early Eighties either. So I remembered nothing.

    It’s an interesting read over the distance of time. The basic plot is that it is a post apocalyptic world and Sabre wants to live free and the powers that be want obedience and order. Nothing too new there but it’s the execution that is absorbing.

    The artwork is very modern. It’s done in a high contrast, photo referenced, and detailed kind of style that any reader of “The Ultimates” would find familiar. It’s the story telling that is different. It’s dense. The book is only 44 pages but it takes longer to read than one of today’s 220 page trade paperbacks. It’s magazine size so the pages are bigger and there are 6-12 panels per page. Six is the most amount of panels you’ll find on the page of a modern comic but here it’s the least. Detailed story telling not decompressed.

    As a matter of fact the writing is the complete opposite of stripped down. It’s lyrical. There are a lot of words in this book and McGregor is doing his best to make them dance. He’s trying to say something rather than just move the story along. A complete change of pace from a lot of today’s comics and from comics of its own time. These guys were really trying to make a “graphic novel”. Track it down. It’s worth a read.

    Majestic “The Final Cut” TPB – I used to read “The Wild C.A.T.S.” back in the day and I think that was the only reason I was able to follow what was going on in this book. It starts in the middle of a tale and there is an awful lot of back story to Majestic’s world. I didn’t even understand some of it. Is this Earth Wilstorm or Earth Majestic? I didn’t know they were two different Earths if that is the case. Or does this story take place on some different Earth? These questions are relevant because the story involves the end of the world and some pretty major stuff happens.

    I thought it was some solid super hero stuff. Too much royal family intrigue in it for me (Maj is royalty from another planet or some such) but some people like that crap. Lots of fights, blood, and guts to keep you entertained but the very end (there were a couple of endings) made me go “huh”. I still don’t understand it. But it didn’t ruin the story.

    So there you have it. A decidedly mixed review. A decent trade but I wonder if a newbie who knows nothing about Majestic will be able to follow it very closely. And three different pencilers didn’t help that. Still, it whiled away a little time as I sat in the hammock waiting for my power to come back. We’ve had a thunderstorm today and have lost power. It still hasn’t been restored. I’m typing this in the dark. 79% power and dropping on the laptop.