Friday, April 28, 2017

The Disparate Four

Deadline (2002): written by Bill Roseman; illustrated by Guy Davis: Slight, interesting take on Marvel's New York as seen by an up-and-coming reporter. Major heroes like the Human Torch and Spider-man cameo, though the journalist's interactions are primarily with low-level heroes and villains. Roseman does a nice job of keeping things human-scale here, and Guy Davis is always a pleasure as an artist. Lightly recommended.

Terra Obscura (2003-2005/ Collected 2006): written by Peter Hogan and Alan Moore; illustrated by Yanick Paquette and Karl Story: Spinning off from Alan Moore's Tom Strong series, Terra Obscura revisits the alternate Earth inhabited by Tom Strange and a group of super-heroes. Moore co-plotted the series with writer Peter Hogan. It's a fun, slightly revisionist take on super-heroes who tend to resemble their DC Comics brethren moreso than those from Marvel. Strange, like Strong, is a sort of amalgam of Doc Savage and Superman. Yanick Paquette and Karl Story supply some lovely visuals throughout. This isn't revisionism in the mode of Watchmen, but more Alan Moore's version of Astro City. Recommended.

Wonder Woman: Earth-One Volume 1 (2016): written by Grant Morrison; illustrated by Yanick Paquette: If nothing else, Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette give us the gayest, bustiest Wonder Woman of all time. Allowed to give the Wonder Woman of DC's Earth-One universe her own distinctive origin, Morrison turns to the mythology and weird 1930's super-science that made the original Wonder Woman so strange, along with all that bondage and submission invested in Wonder Woman's world by original creator William Moulton Marston (and possibly his wife and their live-in, female lover). It's fun and weird and curiously thin. Recommended.

Speak of the Devil (2008): written and illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez: Blistering noir about a star gym student turned serial Peeping Tom. And she's a girl. And I really didn't expect any of the plot twists that come with this graphic (very graphic) novel. Gilbert Hernandez (Palomar) is in fine form as both writer and artist. He's got one of a handful of the cleanest, most expressive cartooning lines of his generation. Highly recommended.

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