RU said he'd be back, no need to fret. This is a trade specific RUview:
Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, Volume 3: Of Wood And Blood (parts 1 and 2) / Classic G.I. Joe, Volume 15 / Justice League, Volume 1: Origin / Penguin: Pain And Prejudice / Batman: Arkham Asylum / Nightmare World, Volumes 1: Tales Of Terror, 2: Leave The Light On, and 3: Demon Days / Saga, Volume One / Sleeper and Incognito by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Hello there Internet people, its your good buddy, RU, here. I told you I’d be back soon with the second part, and although this is later than I said it would be, anyone who’s seen these shows before knows that this is a quicker turn around than my norm. This is the second part of my “Too many comics” episode. The first part was all about recent single issues I’ve read whereas this one is trade specific.
So, lets get started.
Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, Volume 3: Of Wood And Blood (parts 1 and 2) – I’ve reviewed the first two volumes of this series in previous shows and I have interviewed the creators, Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen, twice, and I have to say that my opinion on this book has not changed, it is amazing. Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer is what we want out of an all ages book, its smart, funny, doesn’t talk down to the readers, and provides a mystery that keeps the reader interested in the outcome. Volume 3, Of Blood And Wood, was divided up into two OGNs, and for good reason. The story itself is one story, and would not have made sense as a Volume 4, but where they chose to break it up was also a natural stopping point between books. It’s hard to explain, but it worked and was worth the cost of the extra book. I mentioned before how the art and writing had matured between Volumes 1 and 2, cleaner and more coherent (that is not to say either were bad in in the first book, just that it improved) and that holds true for these books as well. For me, its good to see creators you want to succeed keep improving and honing their craft and not rest and become lazy, like some creators I can think of. As to the story, not wanting to spoil anything, it picks up right after the shock ending of Volume 2: The Great Puppet Theater and doesn’t slow down until it ends. What the did here was use the original Pinocchio story by Carlo Colldi and old vampire legends to build a story where it makes sense that a puppet whose nose grows when he lies can then break if off to steak vampires. The one thing I’d say is that this book did not end the way I wanted it too, sometimes (usually) that is best, but in this case I am not sure. It is a good ending, a solid ending, but just not what I wanted, especially out of an al ages book. That being said, I cannot recommend this series enough and if it ever happens, I’ll happily double dip for an oversized Omnibus. I don’t know what their plans are, but I hope to see Higgins and Jensen’s names on many more comics in the future.
Classic GI. Joe, Volume 15 – This is it, the end of the original Marvel Comics G.I. Joe book, and although it fell a bit there towards the end – volumes 12-14 were not the best – it ended with one of the best final issues I’ve ever read. In the introduction, Larry Hama states that the cancelation came too soon, and the disconnect between #154 and #155 is obvious, but that does not take away from the strength of the story. Issue #155, A Letter From Snake-Eyes, is a heart felt love letter to our armed services without being lame, pandering, or overly emotional. Unlike most “thank you military” issues/episodes/movies/etc. this felt genuine and real. Besides #155, the rest of the volume continues the art issues the previous two volumes had – that of generic 1990’s eXtreme art that rarely makes sense, but the stories in volume 15 are back to the level I was enjoying prior to 13. Seriously, read these books, they are great comics that hold up and they lead into the continuation of the story over at IDW, G.I. Joe: Real American Hero, one of my top three favorite books most months.
Justice League, Volume 1: Origin – This is the first volume of the New 52’s Justice League, and I liked it. I’ve said before that my DC exposure was basically limited to Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and events so I have no attachment to what came before, so take that for what it is. For this day and age of decompression and writing for trade, I felt that this was one of the faster paced introductory arcs and few pages were wasted, everyone got an origin story without distracting from the book, and the threat and mystery that brought them together made sense and never felt forced. I’ve heard that the book goes down hill after this arc, I don’t know, but I’ll defiantly give volume 2 a look at.
Penguin: Pain And Prejudice – A blurb on the back from IGN of this trade touts this as the "Penguin’s Killing Joke", and it might be. Nowhere in my time as a comic book reader did I think that I’d read, let alone buy, a Penguin story, but something about the previews and the cover made me give it a shot, and I am glad I did. This is a scary, creepy, evil, and understanding look into what made Oswald Cobblebot into The Penguin. For only five issues, this trade took me longer to read and take in than most 6 or 7 issue books. The story and art were perfect reflections of each other and both created a Gotham where you are rooting for the villain, not because you agree, feel for him, or even want him to win, but because screw Batman and all those pretty people! Again, and this did not ruin to book, I was not a fan of the ending, it felt lazy and easy, but that’s just me. Gregg Hurwitz and Szymon Kurdranski should be proud of this book and what it achieved. Included in the trade is a short story, He Who Laughs Last…, is written by the monster Jason Aaron with art by Jason Pearson, and it is a wonderful addition to this book. I don’t know where the story came from, but I am glad I had this chance to read it. DC is knocking it out of the park with back-up stories recently, and this was no exception,
Batman: Arkham Asylum – I know I’m late to the party on this one, and I wish I hadn’t of wasted my time. I know this is comic book blasphemy, but I don’t get the hype. The story is average and the art makes much of the dialogue hard to read. Maybe its because this OGN inspired so many books I’ve already read, and 23 years ago I would have loved it, but that’s not what happened. Dave McKean’s art was awesome, as usual but that’s not enough for me to care a bout a book, and I almost gave up here. If you haven’t read this yet, see of you can get it from a library, I’m not sure it holds up well for new readers, I know it didn’t for me.
Nightmare World, Volumes 1: Tales Of Terror, 2: Leave The Light On, and 3: Demon Days – I know I’ve already name-dropped this episode, but I’ve known Dirk Manning as a friend of The Outhouse for years now and have spoken to him when I still had time for the Pirate Podcast, and I finally met him at Cincinnati Comic Con, where I bought all three of these books off of him at one time. Nightmare World is an inside out story about the planning of, event of, and after effect of the Apocalypse. I read the first two books in one sitting and didn’t read the last because I had to go to sleep, and reading this made that difficult. Nightmare World is a horror book in that it will scare you, not gross you out. If you read these books, my one piece of advice would be not to get attached to any character; chances are nothing good will happen to them. I hope there is a volume 4 and or an Omnibus that puts everything in chronological order someday. Dirk, if you are watching this, I’d double dip…for you.
Saga, Volume One – WHY THE HELL DID NONE OF YOU MAKE ME READ THIS EARLIER?! So far, best new book of 2012, and I don’t know why I am surprised, it’s Brain K Vaughn. Now, I am not going to go too far into this as I wrote a RUview on this volume for The Outhouse, and you can easily find it there or my Facebook page. Or, you could skip all that and go buy it now, its that good.
Sleeper and Incognito by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips – Again, you call yourselves my friends and you let me wait this long on these books! Both Sleeper and Incognito take the super hero genre and in some well-written noir and shake them both up to create something new, awesome, and completely unique to Brubaker and Philips. Having (finally) read these two books, Criminal, and Fatale, I have to say that Fatale is the weakest of the bunch, but still incredible. Sleeper is a spy drama involving enhanced humans as either good guys, terrorists, or both - you decide. Incognito takes a look at super villainy as if it was like the mob and is told through the lens of witness protection. Sleeper ended, Incognito can continue, and it should. RU WANT MORE!
Till then, later peeps.