Daily Archives: June 9, 2009

Swamp Thing

Bayou Volume One trade paperback
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Jeremy Love
Colors: Patrick Morgan
Editors: Kwanza Johnson & Sean Mackiewicz
Publisher: DC Comics/Zuda Comics
Price: $14.99 US/$16.99 CAN

I don’t read webcomics.

It’s not that I think they’re inferior. Not at all, and I fully acknowledge that the medium has to adapt to new technologies, not to mention the sensibilities and habits of 21st-century readers. When it comes to webcomics, though, it’s just… I don’t have the time, to be honest. I don’t even have the time to read all of the printed comics and graphic novels I have lying around the house. To delve into the ever-expanding world of webcomics is something I just can’t make room for in my life at this point. Fortunately, several online projects make their way into a printed format, allowing those of us who opt only for old-school comics to enjoy them. I don’t know if I would have had the patience to experience Bayou in its original serialized presentation online, but collected in this landscape trade-paperback format, it makes for a fascinating read. Creator Jeremy Love offers up a dark spin on the Wizard of Oz that serves to remind us of a dark chapter of American history that’s not as far behind us as many would like to believe.

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Quick Critiques – June 9, 2009

Batman in Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight (DC Comics)
by Mark Waid & Diego Olmos

Fans of 1970s and ’80s Batman stories will no doubt enjoy this one-shot in that Mark Waid’s plot pitting the title character against Killer Croc yet again is thoroughly generic and inconsequential in tone. However, it’s not the plot that’s the attraction here. Instead, the strengths stem from two sources: some interesting, moody artwork from a newcomer, and the cultural elements that almost steal the spotlight from the characters. Waid’s script brings the Spanish backdrop to life in a way that reminds me of Tom Beland’s work on his recent Fantastic Four and Spidey/Torch one-shots set in Puerto Rico. The plot touches upon Spanish history and myth, and the script embraces cultural preservation and celebration. The edgier elements that serve as the story’s catalyst — two other villains’ chemical transformation of Croc into a seeming serial killer — were intriguing as well and helped to set the plot apart from previous Batman fare, if only a bit.

Artist Diego Olmos is a real find. He demonstrates a lot of talent here, capturing the Batman’s dark, violent world nicely. His style strikes me as something of a cross between the styles of the legendary Alex Toth and one-time reigning Batman artist Norm Breyfogle. One of his most important contributions to this comic book is how he brings Barcelona to life. Mind you, the realism of the backdrop seems a bit at odds with the extreme nature of the protagonist and antagonist, who don’t really merit a realistic portrayal. Still, I enjoyed his efforts here a great deal, and I hope we’ll see more work from him soon. 7/10

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