IN-BETWEEN MAGAZINE – comic reviews for 18/07/12

The Pure Mood is proud to present the very first issue of IN-BETWEEN MAGAZINE! Presented every week, IN-BETWEEN presents reviews for comics released that Wednesday, written by all-star writer Dr. Matti Bones. Now, let’s get started!

ALABASTER WOLVES #4

ALABASTER continues to preach to the evangenilical followers of the Buffy/Gaiman world, those who crave to see tough women killing horrific monsters as often as possible. The book’s had good moments from day one, but things haven’t ever really settled down and had a story to tell. This issue, we get glimpses into the world’s past, so it’s a ride into¬†exposition land, where caption boxes and narration roam free like buffalo. The murderer-turned-friend, werewolf-turned-ghost Maisie tells a story about a town turning into werewolfs, attacking the ones they loved and the ones that hurt them – something horror fans have seen plenty of times before. Dancy continues to be a strong lead, though – she’s all bumble, stumbling into events and storylines, while busy monloguing with herself about just who she is and why her faith, her powerful archangel protector has left her when she needs him most. Some people hate lost main characters, but not me – I love ’em. I relate to them. She continues to be the highlight of the book, but four issues in and not much of a story has developed…damn fine writing, but poor storytelling. Leiber’s art is good and muddy, scratchy and underdevloped in the right way, with perfect characterization and acting, but the star of the show is Rosenberg, a soon to be all-star colourist who’s work makes Leiber’s look even better than it is. The two talents combined are creating a real world here, an exciting thing to see happen. I continue my vigilant tirade against Dark Horse’s ‘Buffy’ style covers…wishy washy somewhat photoreal art, portraying boring attempts at dream-like scenes that never happen in the books. I think something like the cover for the upcoming MIND THE GAP #4 would look great for this series – these ones sell the book all wrong. Anyhow, a real skippable issue, but a good series, struggling to find things to do with a bunch of great characters.

SAGA #5

Admittedly a book that’ll read better in trades, the strange new sci-fi series by indie-lord BKV keeps being one hell of a comic book. There’s a much larger cast here than in your traditional monthly comic book, but BKV and Staples are confident enough to tell the story at a slow pace and let the reader linger at the details. It works. Situatioins get established, they get twisted and changed – characters are introduced and peeked at, a little at a time. The bread is slid under the table. The rationing is given out a bit at a time. But come on, this is something to exciting to read in trade. This particular issue has all of the characters dealing with the same conflict/idea – why do we bring children into a world of pain? The Will struggles with the very real fact of child prostitution, Marko and Alana’s act of love is hunted down, and Prince Robot IV discovers he’s got a bundle of static headed his way.

DAREDEVIL #15

The book that just became king of the Eisners continues to explore Murdock’s radar sense, how it works and in this issue, why other people may want to take it. Murdock is trapped in the office of Dr. Evil Monocle, a Latverian henchman of Doom’s that Samnee draws with all the old-school Toth style you’ve come to expect. Doc Monocle is all classic villiany, he’s grandoise and cackling, barking bad orders at those who follow them. The attempts at tension fell flat for me, but they’ve been praised to all-above by others, so I may be being picky here – a use of black panels with glimpses of colour try to show a nightmare world where Murdock truly loses all his senses. But I never got the sense that a guy who’s ‘blind’ has now become BLIND. No radar sense, no nothing – a true handicapped hero who has nothing, not the powers of a god, an indestructable shield, web shooters, utility belts and billions of dollars in resources – just a guy with a dead dad and no senses. I think it’s an amazing idea for the character, another to add to the list Waid keeps coming up with, but the execution wasn’t quite there. Now, this particular issue really falls flat because, the answer to what is Daredevil without his powers, is ‘a member of The Avengers.’ He only gets out by calling Iron Man to save him. Now, it’s true. Daredevil is a member of the Avengers, and shared-universe fans may love seeing things like that. But for me – I mean, what if Spidey lifted the construct and got the pills to Aunt May because Thor came and saved him? I wish Daredevil coulda been in the hero in a Daredevil book.

WONDER WOMAN #11

This issue is the heat-up issue, everything is reaching the boiling point, which makes for intense, exciting reading and an unbearable wait for next month. WW has been my favourite DC title since the relaunch, and issues like this prove why. Chiang kills it with the line work, especially when it comes to the character exchanges. His fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed, but the poses occasionally fall on the stiff side. But I don’t mean to nitpick – it’s a hell of a pretty book. Azzarello juggles a huge cast of characters, a bunch of dangling plots, and fits in a bunch of great character moments, too. Also, for you continuity freaks, we get Diana’s age laid down in stone, which will probably create more questions than answers. The war with Hera is starting. Apollo’s got the throne. New gods are introduced. Zola’s bastard Zeus baby is on the way. Get on board now!

BPRD HELL ON EARTH THE DEVIL’S ENGINE #3

BPRD ends one if’s quietest little stories yet. Felix and Devon went on a little train ride and got trapped in an abandoned compartment with bat-faced monsters trying to eat them alive. Amid the tension, Felix and Devon get to have the conversation about Abe we’ve all been waiting for. As will all BPRD, this book shows you how to do pacing right, making a story satisfying but still work in a monthly context and still have plenty of action and horror, too. I can’t sing the praises of this book enough – it’s got me light headed like a teenager in love. The art, though still living in the shadow of Davis’ memory, handles the intimate moments just as well as the intense and horrific ones. The moody lighting of our heroes safe haven/prison can’t be gushed on enough. Though some of the recent one-shots/two-parters haven’t been up to BPRD’s insanely high standards, the Arcudi stuff continues to shine as one of the best monthly comics on the stands.

Well, that’s it for this issue. Bones singing off. Hope you enjoyed the words I spilled for this week in comics.

Thanks, Dr. Bones! Though he missed a lot of great books like CAPTAIN MARVEL #1, BALTIMORE #2 and LoSH #11…but don’t worry, Zane and I will be reviewing those on the video show tomorrow! See you then!

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