Friday, January 28, 2011

First Reviews of 2011

Look up in the sky!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's an overused cliche because I'm out of ideas!


Yes, the first reviews of 2011 are here, only a mere, uh, 3 months since the last one.  Actually, I've had the first couple read for a while now, just haven't gotten three others to add to the stack.  And it turns out I have zombies, nudity and new comics from a couple of my favorite artists.  So let's start with a comic that is none of those things.

216.  Prophecy of the Circle - First glance at this comic and many will write it off as a "furry" comic of some sort.  It's not, it simply doesn't have any human characters, but it feeds no fetish.  It's hard to find what to call this as it isn't a traditional fantasy world or even a sci fi one.  The world is based around two sentient species that co-exist by killing each other every once in a while.  Seriously.  There's some technology, there are tribal peoples and the other species from the main cast are giant reptiles of some sort.  The story is actually interesting, but I can kind of see where it's going, even at this early stage.  The art is really good, but with one major flaw:  It's hard to tell the cast members apart.  With human characters, you can usually pick out features that differentiate them from each other (clothing, glasses, hairdo, etc), but with non-human ones our natural abilities kind of fall flat.  Yes, the different characters are different colors and have some different shapes about them, but associating them with names is a bit harder than it normally would be.  It especially gets hard when the lighting effects of the comic wash out the colors and make it all but impossible to tell.  I suppose that's to the comic's credit that it doesn't rely on stereotypes or other gimmicks to separate the characters, but it also means the comic has problems standing on it's own without a deep about page (called an encyclopedia here).  You can understand the story and some of the character motivations easily enough without it, but if you want to know more, you have to dig, which is my only problem with it.  I don't know if I'll follow it for long, but we'll see.

217.  The Adventures of Superhero Girl - Faith Erin Hicks has done two of my favorite strips, Ice and Demonology 101 and is definitely one of my favorite comic artists.  If I had a job, I'd have even bought her printed comic books which have nothing to do with Ice or Demonology 101.  So a new comic from her is a treat.  Superhero Girl doesn't go the route of parody like the Non-Adventures of Wonderella or over-the-top comic hero antics of Spinnerette, but instead settles for a realistic, slightly humorous, and pretty light hearted view of the superhero genre (and given how actually rare it seems to be on the net, that's nice).  In one of the first strips, she rescues a kitty from a tree, with no sarcasm at all.  The comic is apparently being printed in a paper of some kind, so don't expect any epic stories and given the tone, truly dark plots will likely never exist.  It's a good comic and I intend to follow it for quite a while.

218.  Go Get a Roomie - Warning:  Nudity.  I'll wait for you to get back.  For those not going, there are also lesbians.  Now to wait for them to get back.  Okay, now that you're back, the comic focuses on "Roomie" (I don't think it's her real name) who apparently has no home, so she goes home with any girl she comes across.  Then they have sex, because she's a lesbian and they have powers or something.  Then one day she runs into the one person her powers don't work on immediately (aka:  They both aren't naked in the morning).  And that's the comic.  It's basically a slightly raunchy sit-com plot.  To that end, it's alright, but it's not great.  It doesn't go over the top with sex angle like Menage a 3, but it also doesn't do anything special in the joke/story department.  Mildly amusing, but there's really nothing here to stay attached too.

219.  dead winter - I know I've read a few zombie comics in my time, but few that are, well, this damn good.  Given that zombies are almost overdone to the point of ridiculousness at this point, this one manages to do everything well.  Well, I guess the main characters are a bit too badass in their own ways, but it keeps the action fast and fun.  The focus is typically on survival, personal demons and finding oneself rather than the zombies themselves.  In fact, the most dangerous encounters have little to do with the zombies at all (especially since those can be kept out of reach with a mop), but often feature other humans.  The art is a touch cartoony, but is sharp and beautiful black and white, conveying the action and emotion of a scene very well, with the only hint of color being a bit of red on a couple of the characters.  It is certainly one of the most enjoyable reads I've come across recently (and likely the best of this batch of reviews) and I recommend it.

220.  Does Not Play Well With Others - The other comic from past artists is this one, the newest creation of Micheal Poe, the creator and artist of Exploitation Now! and Errant Story.  With Errant Story nearing it's climax, he's trying to get back to his humor roots with this comic.  How's it going?  Well, it's getting there.  Exploitation Now! is chock full of over the top, cutthroat comedy material (until the last bit of that one) and Errant Story had humor, but that wasn't the driving force (it was much more dry there), so getting back to it takes time.  This comic has really only just started and getting back to Exploitation Now! levels of humor will take a bit.  But this is Poe, and I think it'll get there, probably sooner than later.  If you're looking for instant humor, don't bother yet, but in 6 months, it'll probably be right up there again.  I'll be watching that's for sure.

And that's it for this batch of reviews.  Remember, I always accept recommendations (despite having a way too long a list of comics I should read).  Until next time kiddies.

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