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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sneak Peek Reviews: 03/10/09

The Amazon

Written by: Steven T. Seagle

Art by: Tim Sale

There are not many creators that I have more respect and admiration for than Steven T. Seagle and Tim Sale. They've both had rough patches in their careers but I think that they inspire me because they are willing to venture outside the popularly accepted genres and adventure in the realms of more literary conceits in their works (Sale in his work with Jeph Loeb [when he was still writing really great stories like Batman: Long Halloween & Superman for All Seasons], Seagle has always been the kind of writer to buck tradition). This book was first published 20 years ago by Comico and is now brought back to us by Dark Horse and I was really blown away by how beautiful the book really is.

Amazon is the tale of Malcolm Hilliard, a journalist working for a fictional American publication: Point Magazine. His work has brought him to The Amazon to unearth the source of numerous sabotages of logging equipment at a lumber mining site run by American owned D'Orellana Timber Products. Along the way he encounters the vast disparity between the haves and the have nots of the South American jungles as well as the equally destructive practices of Christian Missionaries who seek to forcefully "share" a "better" way of life with the indigenous people.

The book is incredibly well rendered by the then 23 year old Tim Sale and is immediately accessible. The story is told in a very interesting tiered fashion as we see the thoughts of Malcolm written into his journal alongside the words he chooses to share in his article. It's really a rather enjoyable story. And I don't want these reviews to become nothing but cost comparison but when a comic that I think imparts great value for it's price tag comes across my stack I am going to share it with you: The Amazon #1 is 28 pages of comic (during which there are no ads) and 2 pages of discussion between the creators about how they think about the book 20 years after they collaborated on it ... and it's $3.50. Take that for what you will.

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1

Written & Drawn by: Tony Daniel

Inks by: Sandu Florea

It's the book we've been waiting for, and from my persepective it was well worth the wait. Tony Daniel is the kind of artist, it seems, that takes a bit to get used to drawing the characters that he is working on, and by the time he was done with Batman: R.I.P. he had a really good handle on all the characters. Here in Battle for the Cowl, I don't know if it is that he has an even better grasp or if it is that he is working from his own script but his work looks better than ever. Ireally think that this is going to be one incredibly visual story and the visuals are going to be incredible. He also clearly knows what he's doing when it comes to writing the book and it's also clear that he learned a hell of a lot from reading Morrison's scripts while they were working together. From my viewpoint he clearly has the motivations of the characters down pat and has a really firm handle on what and who should even be in the background of a panel (i.e. when Catwoman appears in the book is perfectly timed). I certainly don't think that he's going to be the next big writer for the big 2 but he certianly can handle his own on his own. I get the feeling that he would have been a little too frontloaded had this story arc been any longer than three issues but that certainly he should be more than fine for the three issue stint. I look ever so forward to the upcoming Gotham resurgance on the shelves but for the time being I will just be very glad to have the Bat Family in such capable hands.

(ahem ... 30 pages for $3.99 and a big time event for the titles.)

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