Friday, January 28, 2011

Review: A Sickness in the Family; Bram Stoker's Death Ship; Marvel Masterworks Golden Age Daring Mystery Vol. 2

A SICKNESS IN THE FAMILY (Vertigo/ DC, 2010; Hardcover Original Graphic Novel)
This is another one of those black and white "graphic novel" sized books, and for some reason or another I really like this format. This story is decent, but I am indifferent to the artwork. The ending has a sufficient twist in that there is a payoff, but afterwards this story feels like a one trick pony. There is no reason to re-read this, as there doesn't feel like there are any layers to peel off. Solid entertainment and worth a read...one read. At least the characters are all fully formed. 
BRAM STOKER'S DEATH SHIP (IDW, 2010; softcover)
Collects Bram Stoker's Death Ship Nos. 1-4 (cover dates May- August, 2010)
Y-A-A-A-W-W-W-NNNN. The artwork and pacing of this make this something of a bore. What should have been tense and intense instead feels relaxed and uninvolved. The artwork is scratchy and unfocused, which is not my cup of tea. I was suckered into this by the beautiful cover art of the individual issues in Previews, thinking to myself "Oh, that looks and sounds very cool. I will definitely pick the trade of that up when it come out". Books like this are the reason that I now either pick up and flip through single issues of unknown quantities or buy the first issue and give it a test drive before committing to buy the whole thing. This was underwhelming. 
MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE DARING MYSTERY VOL. 2 (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Daring Mystery Comics Nos. 5-8 (cover dates June, 1940- January, 1942)
In this, the second and final volume in this line of Masterworks, we get a hodgepodge collection of stories ranging from brilliant to banal for the era. In Daring Mystery No. 5 we get The Jelly of Doom, a Fiery Mask strip by Joe Simon and Kack Kirby, where the Fiery Mask fights Dork, Evil Scientist. Yes, that is his name...Dork. The interesting thing about the story is that the "jelly" is really more of a "blob", and pre-dates that movie by 18 years. Simon & Kirby also help launch Captain Daring, a Buck Rogers knock-off who quickly fell back to Earth. There are lots of fun and worthwhile reads here: Monako, Prince of Magic; The Falcon; Blue Diamond; The Silver Scorpion; The Fin, by the always Godlike Bill Everett; Dynaman. All of them are quite good. Then we get Marvex, the Super Robot, which is asinine, and I am dumber for having read it.
As is the case with all Masterworks of the last few years, everything is perfect: paper, binding, restoration, coloring, etc., are all well within my OCD sweet spot range. Everyone has a vice, and mine is high-end hardcover reprints like this.

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