August 16, 2008

The Big Library Review

So I go to the Sno Isle Regional Library website a some weeks back and I capitalize on a discovery I made while researching graphic novels for my speech class. The library, realizing that kids are starting to gobble up the graphic medium has started adding significant numbers of them to their rolls. The graphic novel has begun bridging the gap between the visual and the written which in this day and age is essential to a literate society in the modern computer/internet/television/instant gratification era. I recommend as primer to this discussion Scott McClouds book, Understanding Comics. Oh yeah, best thing I found? Having anything you could find OR put on order for purchase on the sno isle website shipped to your home library. Ok so on to the reviews. :)

Nightwing: A Knight In Bludhaven. Written by Chuck Dixon, Pencilled by Scott McDaniel. This was a surprisingly good read. It begins with a journal entry by Barbara Gordon (fitting and well written). Funniest quote, "I'd like to think Master Grayson recognized my detective and martial arts skills. But I suspect he liked the way I filled out my costume." I'll admit the art style took some getting used to. Pony Tail Nightwing? But the panels that he's leaping and rappelling are dynamic and well drawn and appealing, and the near non stop action fits with the gritty storytelling Dixon lays down. Soames as the corrupt inspector is a slimy and compelling foil to Dick's grim crusade in Bludhaven and the ending with Blockbuster left me wanting more. So, recommends and continued reading in the subsequent arcs, yes.

Whiteout. Written by Greg Rucka, Pencilled by Matt Wagner, Mike Mignola, Dave Gibbons and Steve Lieber. (Cover by Frank Miller)This was another gritty read, fueled expertly by Greg Rucka's detective style noir crime storytelling. The main character Marshall Carrie Stetko is a compelling mix of hardcore badass and damaged goods. As her story unfolds you start to understand the person she's become. Her British counterpart, Sharpe plays her part in unfolding the mystery surrounding the deaths at Victoria and Amundsen-Scott stations and she's another compelling personality pulling you through the story. But really the character Rucka makes the most compelling is the Ice. Best quote, "In a place where a good day is when the mercury reaches minus 30 degrees Celcius without windchill...the most important question in the world's your weather?" Antartica is a personality, a force throughout the story and stranger that would kill you as soon as take you in. For me, the ice is the lover and enemy of all of the characters, and Rucka writes like a man who's embraced it's mystery. So if you're a fan of noir crime fic or Rucka this is a graphic you'll want to take a pass at. The afterward Rucka writes at the end made me appreciate it all the more...check it. :)

JLA: Ultramarine Corps. Written by Grant Morrison, Pencilled by the ever Amazing Ed McGuinness and Val Semeiks this arc had me meh-ing at the story and LOVING the artwork of Mr.McGuinness. Semeiks was ok, but didn't jump off the page for me at all. First part of the story was pretty good, with Cannibal Grodd dripping blood on nearly every panel and NEH-BUH-LOH The Huntsmen radiating some cosmic style power and of course, looking to subject our Universe to his Queen of Terror (carpets of skulls, blah blah blah) you wonder how Batman can get this done with the rest of the JLA in another verse fighting evil. This is an Image crossover, and as soon as it goes to Imageville it loses me. No more great art, the character interactions are ok, but not terribly compelling. Grifter gets some of the best lines, smartassing his way through the last portion of the arc. So, a decent library read but nothing I'd puchase for the private collection.

Next set of reviews: Flash: The Return Of Barry Allen, Bone: By Jeff Smith, The Mighty Thor: The Eternals Saga.


Elwood said...

You know...I've looked at "Whiteout" several times at the Stop and other bookstores, but never went through with the purchase.

You might have swayed me to pick it up for real next time I see it. :)

Oracle_Batgirl said...

You won't be disapointed. Seriously. Rucka rocks this story. The rotating pencillers don't even break stride on the story.