Posted on 16 January 2013 by VinnieAve
Posted on 09 January 2013 by VinnieAve
I realize that I have yet to talk about the recent Disney purchase of Lucasfilm, so I will be addressing some of that topic in this review of the new comic simple titled Star Wars. There are long been Star Wars comics, but this is first time I was even vaguely excited by one. Until know they all dealt with characters I didn’t know or time periods that were way off from what I knew and loved. This time it’s different, this time were are in 0 ABY. To take that out of nerdy, right after A New Hope takes place.
This comic is not really a story in and of itself, it feels much more like a prologue to what could be a decent tale. We start with Luke, Leia and Wedge going out and trying to find a new base for the rebellion, they got shot down by Imperials, meanwhile Darth Vader is sent off on some mission. Nothing really great or interesting happens, until the end that is. Mon Mothma decides to call Leia in and tell her there is a spy on in the Rebellion. This gives me hope for better issues in the coming months.
I don’t know if other people have this problem but the cool thing about Leia is not that she is an action hero but that she is competent political leader. This comic decides she is going to more of an action hero and the end suggests she is going to be a spy not a political leader like she was before the destruction of Alderaan. The strong action hero is a trope that is played out too much. I would love to see a Leia heavy that focuses on treaty negotiation and have the other characters like Luke and Han focus on espionage. I would like a see a good space political drama somewhere at this point, TV has failed me, anime has failed me in recent year, I look to you comics to do this.
I said I would give a few words on the state of Star Wars as I see it. This is of course of comic from a franchise that is now owned by the same people who own Marvel. I don’t know how many more Dark Horse Star Wars titles we will see. That being said (and keeping in mind that Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPG is taking place in the same period) I think there might be some guiding hand pushing works toward the time period that made many of us fans. I think that for those two media but any new films cannot be treading the same ground those have to go new places with new characters, or else it will just be a celebration of us, not a welcoming party for the newest class of Star Wars fans like it should be.
Posted on 06 September 2012 by VinnieAve
Posted on 30 August 2012 by VinnieAve
I had heard about this series for a while and had meant to look at it eventually but with the Manga Moveable Feast I decided to check out the first four volumes of these series.
KCDS follows the adventures of a team of people with various supernatural powers and a few with more useful mundane powers. None of them are particularly competent but this leads to a series of odd adventures that often send them around the world and interacting with some of the less than reputable types in the world as they find corpses and try to fulfill the last wish of the person.
Within the first four volumes there is some playing with different formats for storytelling before settling on doing standalone stories with some elements of continuing plot (this is really only hinted at in the last chapter that I read) and since I only read the first four to prepare for this I can’t comment on that too much (although I did purchase the digital copy to read later). Within these books are stories that take an entire volume (vol. 2 if you want to get a long story), some that take up two of the series standard length stories (standard here being about 50 pages).
I enjoyed a lot of things about this series. The overall creepy but humorous feel of the book is really enjoyable and the characters are very fun, with each of them getting some of the focus every now and then. There is some focus on Kere Ellis, the puppet that channels the entity of an alien, but this is mainly due to the popularity of the character (in my opinion, I really like the character). All the characters have some fun quirks that make any story fun no matter what is really going on. The book is chock full of fun references to other manga and folktales, which make for a great easy way to get a feel for the characters. Luckily Carl Horn did a great job making extensive translation and editor notes that make is easy to read when you see that is a reference but you’re not sure what is going on.
There are some issues I have with the series. The first is the gore level of this very high and honestly is very realistic, for me this was off-putting but I know that some people really like this kind of thing. I suspect that this was a common issue for many people since the gore level drops as the series goes on. This is not to say that the gore isn’t there but it is less frequent. As for general story-telling issues, there is a tendency in the one part stories to have a sudden revelation when they solve the mystery and then suddenly they end the problem, there is such a rushed storytelling style to this book that it really isn’t good, however, I hope that this might be explained through the previously mentioned subtle storyline.
All-in-all I really enjoyed these four volumes, although they didn’t make the best marathon since the stories tend to be similar to each other so this might have been better to read this as a monthly or as the books were coming out. If you like a quirky black comedy this might be one to checkout. It had a great team element which can be a fun style of writing.
Posted on 22 August 2012 by VinnieAve
I really enjoy graphic novels, they are so much more fulfilling than reading a chapter each week. So for the next few weeks at least I’m going to talk about a graphic novel, trade paperback, collection, or some such longer comic work. To start this off I’m going to talk about Jeff Lemire’s (Sweet Tooth, Animal Man, Justice League Dark) new graphic novel The Underwater Welder. The basic premise is this Jack Joseph is an underwater welder with a pregnant wife when he finds a watch that his father gave him on one of his jobs. This sets into motion his journey through his memories of his father and the resultant effect on his present day life
This sounds like it could be a boring story but honestly this is what I like out of comics, not the usual super-hero stuff which is fun while it lasts but really doesn’t have a lasting effect. This is the kind of personal story is really what makes comic and any kind of narrative story telling great. That is not to say this is a great book. This is a strong book, one that I think will be enjoyed by more than the usual comic readers. This is the story of an expectant father remembering his own father. This was the most compelling part of the story, not his memories but his fight with himself in remembering his father and actually looking at who his father was. With a son on the way he doesn’t want his son to have the same kind of memories he has.
The book speaks about the power of memory. This is a running theme, the man’s long term memory of his father runs for long stretches and after a while he starts to live in his memory more than in his own life. What is particularly powerful is when he interacts with his younger self, and you see the disappointment that Jack still harbors after all these years as he watches his younger self live these events for the first time. The use of memory tends to be disorienting, particularly at first which works since the character feels this himself to the point of even losing for hours at a time.
The art in the book is black-and-white and is combined with a use of shading and line effects conveys the proper amount of motion to this book. The art itself is in a sketchy style that particularly when it came to the faces I found to be lacking, the faces were fine when it came to Jack and his father but his wife in particular was ugly, which didn’t quite fit the story. I love the curvy lines to portray ocean movement and sounds. Throughout the book there is an excellent cinematic technique that is used which is have an image get repeated and get closer. This makes the drama of a scene really come to live and it was used very here.
I don’t think that The Underwater Welder is for everyone but it a nice father/son story which a bit of a supernatural element. The weakest part of the book is the face and character design but this is overcome by the other elements. If you like creepy stories this is one that is worth checking out. I hope this one is read because I enjoyed it and will recommend it people when given the chance.
Posted on 15 August 2012 by VinnieAve
Sadly, the column will end with nothing impressive. Issue 1 is not what I had hoped it would be and thus I will either be doing Vin’s Picks or a graphic novel/trade review each week. This week was nice and light honestly.
Before Watchmen: Rorschach – I had given up on these a while ago and this book reminded why. While these aren’t bad book, there are other books doing the same thing but better. This story is set in the dirty 1970s of New York, which is a neat setting. The problem with this book for me is the art, which is well done but I find that the realistic style isn’t the best for storytelling. Also, this is Rorschach, there could have been some really inventive art-styles going on but alas, Before Watchmen is really playing it too safe. Continue Reading
Posted on 09 August 2012 by VinnieAve
The Creep – This is technically an issue 0 but I’m going to include it here anyway. This was a nice book, it has the makings of being something to talk about. It’s a mystery book (I know we have like 20 of these things going now). The flat art style was done very well and makes the story telling great. This one I intend to get the trade of at some point.
It Girl and the Atomics – My first thought when I read this book was The Tick, which I have vague memories of as a child. The art is cool but really I’m not too into the whole super-hero parody thing so I’m going to pass on the rest of this one.
Gambit – I mentioned that I like Hawkeye last week and Gambit fills that role a little this time around. This is a nice spy book that seems sort of stand-alone, hopefully. The art is nice, a bit of a painted look which can get to look unmoving but that works here, another one I’m hoping to get the trade of.
Archer and Armstrong – We had a cool start in the book and than it kind of dropped off a little there. Nice great, but some cool action. I enjoyed what I read but I need no more.
Posted on 02 August 2012 by VinnieAve
So I’ve started to realize that Vin’s Picks is a bit boring because if you read it for a few months it will just be me saying I liked the same books over and over again. So with this in mind I have changed the column to Issue 1, which will each week take a look at the first issues that came out that week. If there are no issue 1s that week I will do a Vin’s Picks. Thanks for keeping up with the site. This will also include the first chapters of manga that pop up in Shonen Jump Alpha.
Harvest – I don’t know if I’m jaded or what but this book doesn’t seem that original or interesting to me, if anything it seems like its treading ground that is pretty well traveled. This book features a doctor who on the side harvests organs for the yakuza. I art for this book is really strong, with that noir style that I enjoy but this fits in the crime books that are so prevalent at this point. I like crime books but I can only take so many a month. Continue Reading
Posted on 19 July 2012 by VinnieAve
This week is pretty scant but I am not sorry about that if you want more books mentioned the best bet might be to suggest me some books so I can reject them (or maybe pick them)
Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces – I haven’t read anything else that is part of Paul Chadwick’s Concrete. This is another week when there is a collection, which means I will probably pick them up since I like the idea of these but this week it wasn’t more or less terrible. Admittedly there was only one story that I enjoyed which was the end story about Concrete using hugs to capture criminals. If this is way out of character this please tell me so I can know to hate it.
DC Universe Presents #11: Savage – This is not a strong book and the art is terrible as has been seen with the entirety of Savage but the story has been fun all along. Since this is the final part of the story you know that the action will be there. I thought the scripting of the art was something impressive though.
Saga Chapter 5 – I’ve often said that the biggest problem with A Game of Thrones Season 2 (and A Clash of Kings) is that there are too many character and it weakens the story overall. Saga is ripe to fall into this trap but it doesn’t. We’re following four different sets of characters that are pretty far apart but the story at no point. As always this book tops my list and has such great and unique character designs and wonderful story-telling that this is my favorite book getting published now. I think we’ve starting to move towards a major point.