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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sneak Peek Reviews: 03-17-09

Lillim #1 (of 5)

Written by: Shaun Lapacek & Ian Keiser

Art by: Matrix

Ever want a book to be really good? A book you have no ability to  develop preconceptions about? That's the problem I ran into with Lillim. I have no idea who Shaun Lapacek and Ian Keiser are and I will likely never meet them. But there is something about the way that they wrote this book that seems like a poor translation of a foreign language comic. There is something about the pacing of the dialogue as well as the intent of the story that comes across as vaguely European. I wanted to like this book. I saw the solicit in previews and thought that it looked cool but couldn't really get my head around how what I saw there translated into what I was now reading. I love the concept of "Lillim" in a mythological pretext, the sons and daughters of Adam's first mate, Lillith. The concept was so interestingly and complexly executed with Mike Carey's Lucifer book ... and I guess my familiarity with the word may have put me down the wrong path. All in all I wouldn't say that this is a bad comic, by any stretch of the imagination. I think that artist Matrix evokes the kind of art that fans of Kia Asamiya or Pat Lee would find familiar. I think that the story is a mix of played out (a god of olden times reawakens in the presence of someone who looks like the mortal he loved so many centuries ago) with interesting new concepts (all the gods of different pantheons were in fact the same individuals playing the same roles with different names throughout time). I just wanted it to be more. Perhaps over the next four issues we might see something interesting develop. I suppose I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Battle for the Cowl: Azrael - Death's Dark Knight #1 (of 3)

Written by: Fabian Nicieza

Art by: Frazer Irving

When you're a comic fan for over 20 years you reach the point where you realize that there just isn't time to care about everything. Where you start thinking "I've never really liked that character so I couldn't care less what's going on in his/her books" or "I've never had a good experience with that creator so I just won't read what he/she works on". So when something happens and a creator you've come to respect starts working on a character you've never cared for you are presented with an interesting conundrum. That is what happened with me on this particular book. I have never liked Azrael, I thought he was a terrible Batman and that his ongoing series (that ran from 1995 - 2003) never found a consistent direction long enough to bear resemblence to something I would ever like to read. So when Fabian Nicieza, a writer that I have come to have a great deal of respect for, and Frazer Irving, and artist whose work I am unabashedly in love with, decide to work on the character I had to think pretty hard about whether or not I was going to read the book. Ultimately I am glad that I did. Between the revamping that the character is going to receive at the hands of Nicieza and the way that pretty much anything in the Gotham Universe has been pressing all of my buttons lately I am certainly excited to see where the mini-series is going to take us. There is something about the way that Grant Morrison works on a book that establishes so many interesting nuances and ancillary characters that makes for rich birthing grounds for later concepts. This has been clear on his runs on books like JLA, New X-Men, Seven Soldiers, Final Crisis and more. This book takes a concept from Ressurection of R'as Al Ghul and a character from the stories right before R.I.P. began and turns them both into golden concepts that made me smile. I really think that anyone looking to see how interesting and complex the characters of Gotham City are going to be by the time that June rolls around would be serving their own best interests by checking this book out (not to mention ... the artwork rocks).

G.I. Joe: Cobra #1 (of 4)

Written by: Christos Gage & Mike Costa

Art by: Antonio Fuso

Jesus ... I've said this at least once already but I will say it again now. You win. IDW, you (you fine sirs) win. When you bring the likes of Christos Gage and Mike Costa in to write a mini-series about the Hawaiian shirt clad Chuckles, a man who spends more time on undercover missions than he does being himself, you have to know you had me at the word "Hello". Add to that the artistic prowess of a guy like Antonio Fuso and you've really got a killer package on your hands. This issue thrusts you right into the action and then does it's best to fill you in on as much of the twists and turns that Chuckles has had to go through to get to where you find him. It's really good. It's the first time that I have ever read one of the books that is meant to mine the fond memories of cartoons from my childhood that I ever felt like it lived up to the hype. The guys at IDW have put together such an interesting group of story tellers that I can't help but enjoy the fruits of their efforts. So for what it's worth it's official, I'm a G.I. JOE fan again.

Air #7

Written by: G. Willow Wilson

Art by: M.K. Perker

Vertigo has long held my heart, seemingly for ransom. I can't seem to get more than a few months without falling in love with something from Vertigo. So much so that I try pretty much everything that they publish worrying that I might miss something great. Every now and again I read something that isn't to my taste but more often than not I find myself knee deep in loving another series. Air had me from the cover of issue #1. I had already read and enjoyed G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker's first collaboration Cairo and knew that I would be getting into something unlike I had ever read before. And I was right, and more than that I was rewarded for sticking with it. Air is a complex piece of story telling that unfolds in the same kind of fashion that shows like LOST and comics like Locke & Key have. There is something inherently magical about the book and I wish there were words that I could say that would assure you that the book is well worth your money. The trade paperback comes out this week as well and it collects issues 1-5 for the low low price of $9.99 and with issue 7 only being $1 that means that you can get completely caught up for under $15 (depending on the tax rate at your particular comic store, at mine it'll be $14.82). I realize that I probably can't put the kind of words together that might get you to check out this book so I'll use the words of some people you might lend more creedence to:

"I've read the first five issues of Air and have enjoyed them to no end - it starts off as Rushdie and then parachutes off into Pynchon." - Neil Gaiman

"I am knee deep in Air ... There's so much to love in this story" - Brian Azzarello

"The fantasy is real, and the reality is fantastic. Air is a compelling and completely original read that thrills, surprises and delights." - Gail Simone

"It's a beautiful and intriguing post-9/11 fairy tale, part Gabriel Garcia Marquez, part LOST, all very fresh and exciting. I can't wait top see where it leads next." - Jason Aaron

"Challenging and original, a groundbreaking look at air travel and the politics of terrorism." - Brian Wood

"An interesting mixture of fantasy, romance, and air travel." - Variety

"Best thing I read ..." - USA Today, Pop Candy

"Take a lieap with the premier issue of Air. ... With shows like Lost and 24 having viewers hang on every mystery, there's no reason to suspect Air can't do the same." - Oklahoma Gazette

"An entertaining read with some serious points to make about the fluidity of borders in the 21st Century." - The Onion

"Complex, great characterizations, mysteries, a hint of something mystical ... this Air has substance." - Valdosta Daily Times

"The opening scene is breathtaking... Perker's work is compelling and easy on the eyes... Air certainly has potential." - IGN

"[A] fantastic new series... There's little excuse not to buy this book and get in on the ground floor of a bright career." - Newsarama

"Wilson and Perker share a deep love for comics, and it shoes in every pretty page. The feeling of magic just around the corner is on every page of the book." - Bust Magazine

"Vertigo's real sleeper hit of the year" - Comic Shop News

So check out the ongoing adventures of Blythe and Zayn before this gem gets lost in the rough. 

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