Daily Archives: April 1, 2009

Nastier Than a Speeding Bullet

Irredeemable #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Cover artists: John Cassaday/Barry Kitson
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99 US

While last week’s launch of Boom! Studios line of licensed comics for younger readers was a pivotal moment for the publisher (and by all indications, a successful one), the debut of this new super-hero genre title from editor-in-chief and industry star Mark Waid is clearly important to Boom as well. It’s certainly put a strong promotional push behind it, and it’s even recruited writer Grant Morrison to extol the virtues of Waid and Irredeemable. He lauds Waid as an innovator, dismissing the label of Waid as someone whose sensibilities are mired in the Silver Age of super-heroes. I both agree and disagree with Morrison’s assessment. Yes, there’s more to Mark Waid’s writing than simple love for the comics and characters of yesteryear. But no, Irredeemable doesn’t represent an exciting new vision of the genre. We’ve been down this road before, and that’s OK. I like what Waid offers in this comic, but while it’s dark in tone, it’s not exactly cutting-edge stuff either. Not so far, anyway.

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Cut to the Chaser

Soul Chaser Betty original graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Cover artist/Publisher: Brian “BMan” Babendererde
Price: $14.95 US

This graphic novel’s been sitting on My Big Pile of Books for Review(TM) for some time now, and I have to admit that my delay in picking it up and reading it stems mainly from the fact that its creator is clearly inspired by manga concepts and style. I’m not the biggest fan of manga, though there are a few high-quality books that have won me over in the past. Soul Chaser Betty isn’t one of those rare, mind-blowing books, but as I began to read it, I found a capably crafted, solidly presented piece of Amerimanga…. at first. The further one delves into Brian Babendererde’s book, the more it becomes cluttered with formulaic elements. While the creator developed a solid premise, cast of characters and a look that are clearly in keeping with the tastes of the manga niche market and used them as the foundation for this project, his tendency to keep adding and adding and adding to his mythology overburdens the storytelling. At best, Babendererde is guilty of having too many ideas and characters floating around in his head and failing to hold some of them in. At worst, he’s tried to incorporate as many stereotypical genre elements as possible in an effort to come up with a winning, magic combination, not in the name of storytelling but promotional efforts.

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