Monday, May 07, 2007

Trade winds

So, I was in the LCS a few days ago (not on Free Comic Book Day, darn it - I had commitments for all of Saturday!) and I picked up a couple of trade paperbacks. Overall, I wound up pleased; here's a response to just one of my purchases.

Shadowpact: The Pentacle Plot

Pal Bully would say "This comic is fun!" I had originally picked up Shadowpact #1 as a floppy; I thought it was okay, but didn't think I wanted to buy it every month. I happened to lay eyes on this trade; it was only fifteen bucks for seven issues collected (why is #4 missing?) with a cover gallery and no ads, so I took a flyer on it. And it was worth it.

S:TPP is no graphic novel. The narrative arc doesn't have the cohesion for this to be considered more than a collection of related stories; the last episode in particular strays far from the unifying theme and there is a teaser at the end of the penultimate chapter that never gets its proper reveal. These quibbles aside, there's some rollicking good adventure in here: Bill Willingham can put a story together competently, that's for sure. There's a lot of humor, and the gore-quotient was well within my range. Even though I don't know much about the current incarnations of these characters, I felt I had a good sense of their personalities, and the team feeling certainly came across well.

The art was a bit uneven; the art team did not repeat once across the seven stories. Luckily, most of the styles were pretty complementary, so as pencillers and inkers changed, the transitions weren't too jarring. The only exception was Tom Derenick, whose pencils were too super-heroey, bordering on Liefieldish, for my tastes. (In every other issue, Jim Rook looks like a regular guy; in Derenick's, he was all buff matinée idol.)

So, if nothing else, my "wait-for-the-trade" policy was affirmed: the TPB felt substantial, and the price/enjoyment ratio was dead on.


Well, I did fall of the wagon and get a floppy: 52 # 52. I had been reading about the return of the multiverse on the blogs, and I wanted to see it for myself. So, what did I see? A big ol' mutated Mr. Mind slurps up reality, creating parallel worlds. Hokay, whatever.

Earth-17: Atomic Knights, yay! Giant dalmatians replaced by big spotted scary pointy beasts, boo!

Earth-3: Gets a Martian Manhunter! And the fast guy gets a belly-shirt! Um, yeah.

Earth-10: Old school Freedom Fighters! And Phantom Girl's breasts look human!

Earth-50: Is this Wildstorm or something?

Earth-5: Cheese! (Big and red!)

Earth-22: Ooh, grim.

Earth-2: That doesn't look like the JSA I know. Am I missing something important, or is this going to be an alternate JSA, and the JSAers are going to stay in the "main" universe as well? (And is that an alternate-reality spelling of "innocence" or does the Gotham Gazette not have proofreaders?)

Earth-4: Old school Charlton! Cool!

So, maybe there's room for some fun in there. But I'll still be waiting for the trades, I think.

PS: I did think the scene with Ted Kord was pretty touching, and deftly handled.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I liked the conclusion of 52 more than I expected - especially after seeing "Earth 5"!

But I too miss the Atomic Knight's giant Dalmatians.

Oh well, at least the characters exist on some world somewhere.