Sunday, 20 May 2007

Reviews: Local, Satan’s Sodomy Baby, X-Men First Class Special

Local issue 9 “Wish You Were Here” by Brian Wood (story), Ryan Kelly (art) and Douglas E Sherwood (letters), Oni Press, May 2007, 22 pages of strip, US$2.99

Our protagonist, Megan McKeenan, learns of her mother’s death, and travels to the town of Norman, Oklahoma, where her mother and father first met at University. On the way, she reminisces about the freedom to run away that her mother allowed her, contrasting it with the domestic constraints that her mother accepted for herself. Ultimately, she restages with her boyfriend a photograph of her mother and father which she associates with her mother’s loss of freedom and acceptance of responsibility.

Assisted by solid, weighty art by Kelly, Wood tells a well-constructed, emotionally-real story, though I am not sure that I agree with the next issue blurb that it was “in the end quite uplifting” – rather, it seemed to end on a note of resignation. Perhaps if I had read the previous eight issues it would have seemed different, but this was a case of sampling the periodical to see if it is worth waiting for the trade paperback collection. It looks like it is.

Satan’s Sodomy Baby by Eric Powell, Dark Horse Comics, April 2007, 22 pages of strip, US$3.50

Undeniably crude – not only in subject matter, but in execution, with Powell’s artwork looking more rushed than normal – this special one-off story of The Goon is nonetheless laugh-out-loud funny. It opens with a turpentine-sniffing hillbilly mounting a pig and builds to an exorcism involving a giant-dicked baby demon, a shotgun and a very large wooden mallet.

The pacing and style are similar to a typical issue of The Goon. Only the content has been changed to offend the innocent.

X-Men First Class Special issue 1, Marvel Comics, July 2007, US$3.99
Features: X-Men “The Museum of Oddities” written by Jeff Parker, art and lettering by Kevin Nowlan, 6 pages
X-Men “The Soul of a Poet”, written by Jeff Parker, pencils by Nick Dragotta, inks by Mike Allred, colours by Laura Allred, lettering by Blambot’s Nate Piekos, 8 pages
X-Men “A Girl and her Dragon”, written by Jeff Parker, art by Paul Smith, colour by Pete Pantazis, lettering by Blambot’s Nate Piekos, 14 pages
X-Men “Magneto in ‘The Key’”, “Men Fear the Blob” and “The Mental Might of Marvel Girl”, written by Jeff Parker, art and lettering by Colleen Coover, 1 page each
Cover by Kevin Nowlan, edited by Mark Paniccia

A one-off filling the gap in the publishing schedules between the end of the mini-series and the start of a new ongoing series in June, the X-Men First Class Special features a number of amusing and delightfully inconsequential stories by Jeff Parker and some sympathetic artists (though I regret to say that Paul Smith’s art here is rather insipid compared to his work on Leave it to Chance. Kevin Nowlan, fortunately, is on better form inside than on the cover). Normally, I wouldn’t review this comic so soon after covering the last issue of X-Men First Class, but I couldn’t resist posting this, surely the panel of the week.

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