Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Hypernaturals #1

The Hypernaturals

Writers - Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artists - Brad Walker & Andres Guinaldo
Publisher - Boom!

I picked this up because I am currently loving New Deadwardians by Dan Abnett, and I've appreciated some of his writing for Games Workshop, so I figured this was worth a punt. 

The cover drew me, sharp visuals, nice and neat, not too fussy. The same can't be said for the internals though. Maybe I've been spoiled a little by all my recent AvX reading, but the big splash pages with lots going on just aren't doing it for me today. The art is good, I'm not saying it isn't, I'm just not sure about their chosen palette and many of the images have too much going on and t distracts from the comic as a whole for me.

On my first read through I wasn't really sure what was going on; the exposition seemed a bit clunky at times, and under-used at others. I like the idea behind the plot, there is nothing like a good pseudo-robot rebellion to get the blood flowing, but in the first half of the book I mostly found myself rooting for Sublime. Well played to Abnett and Lanning if this was their plan, but I'm worried it isn't, and that I may have missed the point entirely. Still, as bad guys go, he seems like someone I could follow.

The three main characters introduced in the first issue can be characterised as Brains, Brawn and Boobs. They have actual names but I can't quite bring myself to care what they are right now. Brains has deep, black, soul-less eyes. Says it all really. Brawn is a classic bitter Western fallen hero character who I can only assume will find redemption from the alcoholic spiral he has descended in to, and Boobs portrays everything about our current shallow, image obsessed culture that I despise. Yes, she's a girl - lets hive her an illicit relationship and an obsession with her reputation! Yawn.

Credit where it is due, I did read Hypernaturals twice, so it must have some merit, although I did find that reading just the speech and not the quasi-scientific babble helped it out the second time. Again, it seems that the writers were trying to fit too much in, and I'm fairly sure that the impressive images created by the artists could have passed the test without captioning. 

The second section of the book is written as a short magazine article, and mostly reminded me why I don't read lifestyle magazines any more. There seems to be a trend in current comics (The Massive, Idolized, Grim Leaper, Before Watchmen) to add that little something extra to the end of the story, and in many cases it works. This 'interview' just felt like padding to me though, making up the pages without too much effort. I'll probably pick up issue 2 and see if I like where it is going, but I won't rush out for it as a must buy.

Finally, can anyone tell me how / why Boobs gets such am angular rack in her interview shot? I'm both scared and fascinated by it.

Friday, 8 June 2012

America's Got Powers #1 & 2

America's Got Powers
Writers / Artists - Jonathon Ross & Bryan Hitch
Publisher - Image

Let me get something off my chest. I don't like Jonathan Ross. I think he's arrogant, unfunny, overexposed and self-obsessed. I didn't buy this title because of that. Unfortunately for me, I'm a sucker for good publicity. Admittedly, lots of that good publicity came from Bryan Hitch retweeting complimentary reviews on twitter, but still, a couple of people whose opinion I trust suggested it, so I picked up issues 1 & 2. An action I am now regretting. The £4.40 I spent on those two comics could have bought me a pint of ale and a packet of crisps. Or two different comics. Ones with a whiff of originality to them.

I feel really bad, sitting here on my sofa bitching about someone being derivative when the sum total of my creativity starts and ends with a poem published when I was 11, that wasn't actually very good. But heck, I'm going to do it anyway. America's Got Powers draws heavily from influences such as Hunger Games and X-Men. Okay, maybe I draw influences from these sources, and am casting unfair aspersions on the authors. I don't think so though. It just seems a bit heavy handed, harking back to the anti-mutant sentiment of X-Men but not in a way that compliments it, more in a way that says "look, we've read this and liked it so much we're using it again".

The major plot twists we have had so far were so glaringly obvious that I wondered why they even bothered to keep them a secret in the first place, and Tommy, the 'hero' is so two dimensional I can't bring myself to care about him. The art is, well, fine. The writing is, um, nice. There is nothing in these comics that reaches out and grabs me by the cojones though. Yeah, I'll probably read the rest of the series, but I'm not likely to make them release day purchases, and they'll probably sit in a long box for a while before I get around to them. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Dial H #2

Dial H
Writer - China Miéville
Artist - Mateus Santolouco
Colourists - Tanya & Richard Horie
Cover - Brian Bolland
Publisher - DC Comics

This is one of very few DC 'new 52' titles that I've picked up, and I did so purely based on the recommendation of the guys over at Talking Comics. Boy am I glad I did.

I'm not a massive DC fan, never have been, but Dial H moves away from their populist superheroes, into darker territory, almost parodying the very characters that are DCs bread and butter. We (technically) have a hero, but he's overweight, lazy, unenthusiastic and generally a bit of an average Joe. Heck, he doesn't even have a super-power, just a schizophrenic phone booth with some bat-crap crazy ideas. That is the joy of this comic though, Miéville takes all those stupid ideas that people think of in  the pub after a few pints (you know it's true) and crafts them - with the help of Santolouco - into the kind of ludicrous 'hero' only DC would produce. Iron Snail, anyone...?

I can't help but like it though. The writing is fun, and has an easy touch of realism - you would keep trying out different heroes too, right? - whilst maintaining its inherent lunacy. There are enough threads of story [sinister gangster types, a friend in need & an opponent that is not all she seems] to keep me interested until the next instalment, thanks to the storytelling pedigree that Miéville brings to the table, and the artwork keeps just enough of the crazy to work, leaving just enough out not to overwhelm. It isn't often these days that I will go back to a single page several times over just to marvel in the joys of the images shown, but the page where CONTROL-ALT-DELETE 'reboots' his opponent is masterful. Also, mental. Did I mention that this comic is a bit mad?

For a self-confessed Marvel fan-girl to be singing the praises of a DC title is strange, but not as strange as Dial H. Try it for yourself. Just don't say I didn't warn you...