Friday, May 13, 2011

Comic Quickies With a Side of Victorian Murder

Captain Swing #3: It has been a long-ass time since Warren Ellis got around to delivering us an issue of Captain Swing, but the third issue was totally worth the wait.

This issue pretty much does it all.  Ellis, the crafty bastard that he is, manages to give a tour of Cindery Island, the electric pirate hideout, develop Captain Swing's character a bit more, develop Gravel's character, and add in a whole grip of action and fiery story-telling.  To top it all off, he threw in a couple of awesome twists that set things up for the fourth and final issue of this mini-series to be very interesting.  I'll be looking forward to it when it finally comes out. 

The art of Captain Swing continues to be pretty great.  Raulo Caceres can draw people, places, and weird electrical steam-punky technology with equal skill.  I feel like sometimes the artists Ellis works with can be a bit over the top and over do it on the art front, but Caceres seems like the perfect fit for this title.  An all around awesome issue that made me very excited to read the final installment.

Infinite Vacation #2:  Add this title to the list of comics I'm on the fence about.

This issue started out pretty slow, and then got bad, then at the end managed to be totally awesome and draw me back in.

My problem is that there is almost too much text in this comic.  There's a whole lot of explaining to do with this concept and to add in a murder mystery on top of the already complex idea leads to a lot of word bubbles that basically serve the purpose of filling you in as to what the hell is going on.  I feel like a big chunk of the story is a veiled info-dump, and though it is somewhat covered up by being part of the story, it is still a big of a turn off for me.

Also, the artwork is extremely hot and cold.  I'm not even remotely exaggerating when I say that the art quality varies from panel to panel.  There can a panel on a page that looks pedestrian at best, then one later on the page that is absolutely gorgeous and does crazy stuff with negative space.

Each issue so far has also had a span of pages that are photographs of actual people with word bubble.  This switch has thrown me for a loop each time, and I'm not a fan of it.  

Interestingly enough, the last few pages of the comic were so damn good that they managed to  re-invigorate my interest in the series.  My hope is that we're beyond the info-dumps and it will be pure story from here on out.  Hopefully the art quality will solidify, and I'll be treated to more pastelly-trippy unique artwork.

The Mission #3: This third issue of The Mission begins with Paul and his wife in couples therapy.  It's pretty clear to see that his new life as Killer For God has totally screwed up his family and marital life.  The nice thing about Paul is that he's a fighter, and when his next meeting with Gabe, the so-called angel, happens, Paul decides to do a little bit of detective work.  However, tailing Gabe leads to a dead-end, and dusting his coffee cup for fingerprints turns out to be a total waste of time. 

It seems pretty obvious that Paul is losing his mind, and that Gabe, and all the other stuff related to "The Mission" are a figment of his imagination.  Just as Paul begins to come to grips with his new-found insanity, he receives a glimmer of hope in the form of an old-fashioned ass-whoopin'.

Even though this issue wasn't as action packed as the previous issue, it delivers some good psychological-dilemma layers that add to the story.  I'm not completely sure Paul is nuts, but at the same time, there's a good chance he is. 

The art of The Mission continues to be pretty underwhelming, but the writing is pretty solid and I'm enjoying the story.

The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde:  I've saved the best for last this time around.  So far 2011 has been a great year for new comics, and The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde is looking to be another great one.

This one begins with a little bit of back story regarding the infamous Dr. Jekyll, then jumps ahead five years to "present" day where an unnatural killer is slashing up whores in the streets of London.  Inspector Thomas Adye is on the case and his investigation of the most recent murder leads to the discovery that the killer is not only capable of preforming feats of uncanny strength, but can also ran faster and jump much higher than the average man.  The last killer with such unnatural abilities was Dr. Jekyll's alter-ego, the beastly Mr. Hyde.  In need of some help with the case, Inspector Adye reluctantly seeks the aid of the one man who might be able to help him, but also might be insane.

I don't want to spoil too much of the first issue, but there is an amazing scene of back and forth banter that is not only expertly written but also drawn fantastically.  The writer, Cole Haddon, packed a lot of story into this first issue, and most pages are packed with panels.  Even though there are a lot of panels, I never felt like the text and the art were fighting for space.  The artist M.S. Corley does a fine job, and I enjoyed his artwork throughout the issue.  The groundwork is laid for what looks to be an entertaining Jack the Ripper story with some Dr. Jekyll mixed in.  I'm very much looking forward to the next issue.

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