Sunday, September 20, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXXV

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans!

**As always, mind the spoilers, fanboy.**


Wednesday Comics #9: Supergirl
by Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner
DC Comics


Holy crap?! Is that an asshole on Streaky?!


Must take a closer look!


It is! It is! Ha! I know it's just a cat butt, but I can honestly say I can't recall a single instance in any comic where a balloon knot was featured, be it feline or otherwise (aside from that one porno book I bought from my girlfriend, but I don't think it should count if it's a comic that could get you arrested). I never would have expected it in a DC book. Figured that shit'd be all Disneyed out and whatnot.

Thank you Amanda Conner for keepin' it real.

by David Small
W.W. Norton


We all have fucked up parts of our childhood. Alcoholism. Abuse. Divorce. And always with the dirty, dirty secrets, kept both from the outside world and from the members of the family themselves. No one is free from such misery. But every once in a while you're allowed a glimpse of someone whose life is seemingly nothing but unbridled misery, and it takes that to realize just how good you had it after all. This would be one of those instances.

Stitches is a memoir of a miserable childhood complete with an oblivious father, alienated brother, and slightly insane grandparents. Accentuating the menagerie is a silent, furious mother whose abuses seemingly know no limits. It's a tale of silence; sometimes literally, as when our protagonist is rendered speechless from one horrific surgery, but otherwise the silence people learn to endure rather than the alternative. It's also a tale of discovering the ability to communicate, and learning how not to fear it.

With a style reminiscent of Will Eisner, David Small gives us a peak into his nearly unfathomable upbringing with unflinching honesty and surprising compassion. This is the story of a man who has every right in the world to hate, but manages to rise above and accomplish what his family could not: to love, and to forgive. The price tags a little steep ($25.00), particularly for a first time graphic novelist, but make no mistake: it's worth it. Extremely moving and beautifully rendered, don't be surprised when this one becomes awash in a sea of awards.

Beasts of Burden #1
by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson
Dark Horse Comics


A while back Dark Horse got the wild idea to publish a series of overpriced horror anthologies, populated mostly with hacked out, embarrassing dregs. I bought every single one of them. Why the crap would I haphazardly flush hard-earned bucks down the shitter like that? Because each book contained a Beasts of Burden story, and each of those stories made up for every bad tale and every ill-spent penny within those anthologies. So just imagine how excited I've become now that the series is out on its own? Can you fucking imagine my excitement? CAN YOU?! Oh the excitement.

Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson gel together in this book like peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, silk and satin, lube and anal, and so on. Dorkin's plots have never been more entertaining (or macabre). Thompson's art has never (ever!) been more stunning or enjoyable. Every page is dripping with sharp wit and delicious imagery. And I defy anyone to not instantly fall in love with the rag-tag collection of characters populating the action. It's impossible, unless you're fucking Pol Pot or something. And even he loved dogs.

I can't say enough good things about this title. Thank the comic gods it's been given a shot on its own. I'd step on baby ducklings if it meant Beasts of Burden could go monthly. Lots of them.

3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man
by Matt Kindt
Dark Horse Comics


For us fanboys and fangirls, feelings of alienation tend to be all too familiar. We've all seen it stereotyped to ad nauseam before; the lone nerdo, shunned by traditional society, finding comfort solely in that which makes him or her an outcast to begin with. So it's not shocking to see this sentiment touched upon within this genre which sets us apart from the rest of the world (it's almost expected). What is unique, however, is the potency with which the subject has been addressed in Matt Kindt's latest work.

3 Story... chronicles the life of a man who cannot stop growing. Considered a novelty and a celebrity at first, the gift which brings him notoriety and security also leads to his gradual removal from society, as his mother, his wife, and his daughter describe his loss of humanity over the years of his tragic life. This novel, draped in an extremely sobering tone, is heart wrenching. Juxtaposing an everyday reality with a man of unfathomable stature creates a chilling hybrid of the real and surreal, which is both gripping and inescapable. Kindt's delicate watercolors create a lonely world, inhabited by lonely people who can only watch helplessly as their son/husband/father simultaneously grow and fade from their lives.

Like all Kindt books, this tale has a healthy dose of good ol' fashioned, cold-war espionage, which adds the perfect spice of action to what would otherwise be a hopelessly bleak story.

It's been a long time since a comic filled me with such a bittersweet sense of loss. Any piece that can incite such powerful emotions is doing something right, regardless of the medium. Truly 3 Story is a sequential triumph, deserving much more praise, recognition, and analyzation than it will most likely receive. I can't recommend it highly enough.

The Brave & the Bold #27
by J. Michael Straczynski & Jesus Saiz
DC Comics


It seems a bit confusing as to why Mr. Straczynski traveled such a long distance and burned so many bridges, only to write this spectacularly shitty book. Why go through so much trouble? If you're gonna hack stories out, just cash the check, buy yachts, and shut up. It seems like over the years all I've heard from this guy is how publishers are habitually offending his sense of artistic integrity, which explains his bouncing around from place to place, like some meth-ridden trailer slut in search of the nearest place to crash. What the fuck is that integrity here? Nowhere to be fucking seen.

What a terrible debut. Aside from a benign story, a remedial Batman, and a dazzlingly cliche rendition of the "Dial H ..." character, this issue features, hands down, the worst rendition of the Joker I've ever stumbled across. THE WORST.

Jesus Saiz artwork is at least competent, but not even a resurrected Da Vinci could have saved this book from it's continued descent into suckdome.

Should'a called this story "Dial "H" for "get me the HELL of this title."

You've been warned.


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