Thursday, 5 April 2007

Reviews: Buffy, Detective Comics, 2000AD

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 issue 2: “The Long Way Home” Part 2 by Joss Whedon (script), Georges Jeanty (pencils), Andy Owens (inks), Dave Stewart (colours), Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy (letters), cover by Jo Chen, Dark Horse Comics, April 2007, 24 pages of strip, US$2.99

I’ll do a proper review of this opening story once it concludes. For the time being, I’ll note that this is another entertaining issue, with a clever introduction to a dream sequence, but also with a baffling willingness of mortal enemies to stand around and chat.

Georges Jeanty and Andy Owens’s art continues to impress. They don’t manage a good likeness of Andrew, but otherwise handle everything Whedon throws at them, from mass battle scenes to the nicely-captured expressions on the faces of these two new Slayers. Note, too, the way that the extended final panel makes the reader look down, just as the characters do.

Detective Comics issue 831: Batman “Kind of Like Family” by Paul Dini (writer), Don Kramer (pencils), Wayne Faucher (inker), John Kalisz (colourist), Jared K Fletcher (letterer), Peter Tomasi (editor), cover by Simone Bianchi, DC Comics, June 2007, 22 pages of strip, US$2.99

With the first trade paperback collection out, this seemed like a good time to sample an issue from Paul Dini’s run on Detective Comics, which I had previously neglected. It turns out to be an OK, basic superhero story, in which Scarface busts Harley Quinn out of Arkham Asylum, and various double-crosses occur. There is none of the zing I had expected from the co-creator of the animated Batman.

Similarly, the artwork is pedestrian, even stodgy, though this panel had a bit of zip.

So it looks like that Batman: Detective trade paperback will stay at the shop.

2000AD prog 1531, Rebellion, 4 April 2007, 28 pages of strip, £1.75
Features: Judge Dredd “Origins, part 19: Army of the Damned” by John Wagner (script), Carlos Ezquerra (art), Annie Parkhouse (letters)
Savage, Book Three “Double Yellow” part 6 by Pat Mills (script), Charlie Adlard (art), Ellie de Ville (letters)
Robo-Hunter “Casino Royal” part 5 by Alan Grant (script), Ian Gibson (art), Simon Bowland (letters)
Sinister Dexter “The Last Thing I Do” part 4 by Dan Abnett (script), Simon Davis (art), Ellie de Ville (letters)
Nikolai Dante “Hellfire” part 6 by Robbie Morrison (script), Simon Fraser (art), Gary Caldwell (colours), Annie Parkhouse (letters)

This is a tired, backward-looking issue, featuring the same old characters by the same old creators. Not that the veterans can’t do great work: but, this time, all inspiration seems long since dried up.

Dredd is an inevitability, of course. Unfortunately, the strip is currently bogged down in a long would-be epic, rather than firing off the short, sharp satirical squibs the format and character do best. This panel did manage to raise just about my only smile of the issue.

The rest of the recurring series could do with being rested or dropped, to give the writers and artists invigorating new challenges. Fresh series, and some fiery, cocksure new creators, are desperately needed.

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