Eye on Comics

Comics criticism and commentary from Don MacPherson

Archive for April, 2012

Quick Critiques – April 30, 2012

Posted by Don MacPherson on 30th April 2012

Oh man, I’m way behind on my writing for Eye on Comics. It’s been a crazy month, but I can’t attribute the lull on the site entirely to being busy. Some of the blame can be attributed to procrastination and laziness, which I’m assuming was caused by some sort of viral infection my stout frame has managed to fend off by way of a superior immune system and sheer, hairy manliness.

Ahem.

This small collection of capsule reviews has been lying around on my computer for at least a couple of weeks, unfinished and begging to be fleshed out. I finally managed to do so today, because, arbitrarily, I decided I needed at least one more site update before the end of April 2012. Contained herein, you’ll find reviews of Batman #8, Courtney Crumrin #1, Saga #2 and Saucer Country #2. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Quick Critiques | 6 Comments »

Keep This Secret

Posted by Don MacPherson on 15th April 2012

Secret #1
“Chapter One: Teeth With Which to Eat”
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.50 US

When I saw this comic book on the most recent new releases list a few days ago, I had no idea what it was. But as soon as I saw Jonathan Hickman’s name attached to it, I knew I wanted it. Hickman’s creator-owned work is so strong, I told the manager at my local comic shop to add any Hickman-penned Image title to my pull list. I won’t miss any future projects should they fly under my radar again. Secret marks a bit of departure for Hickman, at least in terms of subject matter. I normally associate him with meticulously crafted science-fiction stories (Red Wing) or stories with a strong focus on social commentary (The Nightly News). With Secret, he offers up a story of intrigue. It boasts a convincing and intense tone. It feels a bit like The Firm meets Mission Impossible (and no, I didn’t pick two Tom Cruise flicks for the comparison on purpose). Maybe what’s most interesting about the first issue of this limited series is there are no good guys to be found. All of the characters seem corrupt or dangerous in some way, but their conflicting (and for some, unknown) motives are what create the drama. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Image | Comments Off

Must Bleed TV

Posted by Don MacPherson on 12th April 2012

America’s Got Powers #1
Writers: Jonathan Ross & Bryan Hitch
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Inks: Andrew Currie & Paul Neary
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover artists: Hitch (regular)/Leinil Yu (variant)
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99 US

The only competition-based reality show I watch with any regularity these days is The Amazing Race, and I have a serious aversion to those performance shows, such as American Idol, Insert Country Here’s Got Talent and Dancing With the Stars. As such, the title and apparent premise of America’s Got Powers didn’t appeal to me. On the other hand, Bryan Hitch’s artwork does. With that in mind, as well as Image’s track record of inventive new titles, I decided to give the first issue a look. After reading it, I find I’m of two minds. Jonathan Ross’s plot and script feels a little… formulaic. There aren’t any story developments in this debut issue that are particularly surprising (though it wasn’t exactly predictable either), and there are too many one-dimensional, cliched characters we’ve seen too many times before. However, I was also impressed with his commentary on the ugliness of Western culture, about its excesses and the ease with which people adopt prejudices and class distinctions. Hitch’s photorealistic art certainly works well with the subject matter, but it’s occasionally a bit difficult to follow. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quick Critiques – April 9, 2012

Posted by Don MacPherson on 9th April 2012

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 (Marvel Entertainment)
by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction, John Romita Jr. & Scott Hanna

A number of some of the best comics works the medium has ever seen — be it in the super-hero genre or otherwise — come from singular creative visions or focused collaborations. With its committee of writers (who outnumber the interior artists), Avengers Vs. X-Men obviously doesn’t fall into such a category, but then, no one was expecting this to be a milestone in comics craft. The crossover event is meant as a guilty pleasure; too bad the creators left out the pleasure part. There’s nothing particularly off-putting about the storytelling here, but there’s nothing particularly compelling either. Perhaps the most frustrating part of the story is the fact Cyclops, representing the X-Men’s perspective in this leadup to a battle royale between two factions, is so clearly in the wrong. As one of the other characters points out, he behaves like a villain here, seeing a potentially world-ending threat as an opportunity to advance his own agenda. Marvel has marketed this in part by urging readers to pick sides, but there’s only one side to choose. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Quick Critiques | 7 Comments »

Quoth the Raven

Posted by Don MacPherson on 8th April 2012

The Waking Dreams End #1
“The Waking, Volume 2: Dreams End”
Writer: Raven Gregory
Pencils: Novo Malgapo
Colors: Michael Garcia
Letters: Crank!
Cover artists: Ale Garza/Eric Basaldua
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

Raven Gregory is a comic-book industry workhorse who’s developed a small but apparently successful little empire in that industry, but his niche readership is small enough you’ve probably not heard of him. But with Grimm Fairy Tales, various other titles and a lot of cheesecake covers, he’s tapped into a demand for particular material and carved out his own corner in the marketplace. I don’t think I’m a part of the demographic he and his colleagues at Zenescope are after, but there’s no denying the outfit publishes professionally crafted comics. After reading this comic, I was impressed with the unusual premise, but the script made something else clear: the Zenescope staffers believe they’re reaching a loyal readership and don’t seem all that interested in growing the audience beyond one dedicated group. Still, there’s a strong foundation here, as well as some capable, straightforward comic art that doesn’t reflect the gratuitous nature of so many Zenescope cover images. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Zenescope | 3 Comments »

Under Attack

Posted by Don MacPherson on 2nd April 2012

As a courts/crime reporter for a daily newspaper, I’m well aware many of the people I write about don’t want me to write about them. Defendants have begged me and attempted to bribe me not to run their names in the paper. I’m been cursed out and lied about. It comes with the territory, and I take appropriate (though fortunately minor) precautions to protect myself and my family.

And now I face retaliation from someone I wrote about on Eye on Comics.

In the fall of 2009, I wrote about a federal court decision out of Ontario ruling in favour of American cartoonist Rich Koslowski, who won a legal action against Hogan Scott Courrier, the owner of Geeks Galore Computer Center in Marmora, Ont., for copyright infringement. Courrier used an image from Koslowski’s 3 Geeks comics in signage and other material for his business. A year later, I wrote a followup piece, in which Koslowski confirmed he hadn’t received the court-ordered monetary award and that Courrier hadn’t removed the image from his business material. In that followup, I also quoted Courrier after having reached him via email to allow him to tell his side of the story.

That was the last I heard of the story — until last week. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Announcements | 13 Comments »

Future Imperfect

Posted by Don MacPherson on 1st April 2012

Hope For the Future #13
Writer/Artist: Simon Perrins
Publisher: Self-published
Price: $4.30 US/£2.70

When one reviews comics regularly, a lot of independent and self-published material makes it way across your desk (or desktop, as the case may be). There are a lot of unknown, tyro and amateur creators out there eager to promote their work, eager to catch the eye of other professionals or publishers — and, most importantly, eager just to have people see their work. Once in a while, a reviewer can happen upon a diamond in the rough, a gem of a book that hardly anybody knows about. Hope For the Future isn’t one of those gems… but it boasts the promise of being one. It’s not a diamond, but neither is it a lump of coal. It just needs a little more pressure, a little more polish, to become what it could be. I have no idea what Hope For the Future is about (and I’m not convinced creator Simon Perrins does either), but he strings together a number of scenes that impress. The problem is that those scenes don’t fit together or connect to one another in any meaningful way. His dialogue is sharp, the ideas compelling, whether they’re about the impossible or the everyday, and his art is occasionally powerful and fairly serviceable overall. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Indy/Small Press | Comments Off