August 06, 2006

More Review City

I read a couple more comics and wrote up some reviews for a forum I post in, so here's a cross-post for you lovely people below the fold.

1. Transmetropolitan: Spider's Thrash
Spider's on the run, but time's running out. What started for me as a rather meandering and preachy book has really managed to consistently build up all the major characters in interesting ways over the course of the seven books I've read thus far. By the end of this book it looks like this story is going to build to a frenetic pace until a blockbuster conclusion, and I can't wait until I get some more money and can finish the run.

2. Swamp Thing: Reunion
This is the capstone to Alan Moore's fantastic run which completely revitalized and reinvented the b-level character of the Swamp Thing. Most of the book finishes the sci-fi turn the series took in the last volume and really takes the character in some interesting places, both literally and metaphorically. The story dealing with the rape of the Swamp Thing, who was pretty much a plant god at that point, really shows what sets Alan Moore a cut above even the best in the business of writing comics. Ultimately, if you've read the first five trades of Moore's run you *have* to read this one and if you haven't read any of the trades then this really isn't the place to start. This really is a historic run in comics history though, and if you haven't read it yet, you really should.

3. Superman For All Seasons
The thing that bothers me most when discussing Superman as a character is when people complain that he's too perfect. As I've said a number of times, the fact that quite a lot of Superman stories give this impression is just proof that any character can be boring in the hands of weak writers. The Superman we see here is, of course, full of power, but for whatever physical invulnerability he may have, this is a man full of doubt, excitability, a temper, and impetuousness. This really is the mark of a good Superman story: you can't put him in physical danger so you show us the man underneath. I wouldn't put this as my favorite Supes story ever, but it does come with a strong recommendation.

4. Lex Luthor: Man of Steel
In a genre dominated by stories about heroes in brightly colored spandex, it's not refreshing when you find a really strong story written about a traditional villain. Brian Azzarello does a fantastic job of exploring Lex Luthor's motivations and showing that even villains are more complex than their plans for global domination. I truly believe that one of the marks of a really talanted writer is to make the audience sympathize and empathinze with a character they really don't like, and in this Brian Azzarello completely succeeds. I don't know why I've been spending so much time lately with Superman based books, but with quality this high it's hard to complain.

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