Daily Archives: March 26, 2007

Ghosts in the Machine

B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine trade paperback
Writers: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artist: Guy Davis
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover artist: Mignola
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Price: $17.95 US

Mike Mignola’s decision some time ago to shift the Hellboy property to a series of limited series about his colleagues in the B.P.R.D. was a wise choice. He’s managed to avoid telling repetitive stories featuring Hellboy and how his toughness and grounded nature ultimately enable him to come out of supernatural scrapes intact, and the shift has also provided Mignola and co-writer John Arcudi to explore more character-based stories by fleshing out the supporting characters and adding to the cast. The writers take a split approach to the storytelling here, as they offer up a plotline about an intellectual quest that turns dangerous as well as a number of shorter stories that delve into the past and personalities of the members of the core team. It makes for a well-balanced and accessible read. And if ever there was an artist whose style was as well suited to the surreal and gothic, supernatural world that the B.P.R.D. patrols as Mike Mignola’s, it’s Guy Davis’s.

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Keeping an Ion Things

Ion #12
“Burying the Past”
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Colors: Richard & Tanya Horie
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover artist: Kalman Andrasofszky
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US/$3.65

I admit it… I got sucked in. The cover for this issue, which serves as the concluding chapter of this limited series, as well as the first page, drew me into a comic book that I figured would focus on characterization above cosmic action. That didn’t prove to be the case. But hey, that’s OK, as I enjoy well-crafted cosmic action as well. But that’s not to be found in this comic book either. In fact, I really don’t see the makings of any kind of plot here at all. No epic is brought to a close. The title character seems to make no changes or advances in his life, super or otherwise. As far as I can tell, Ion isn’t really about Kyle Rayner or any kind of space-faring adventure. Instead, I was left with the impression that it was nothing but an exercise in teasing and setting up DC’s next crossover event book, which is rumored to be about the return of parallel universes to DC continuity.

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