‘Four Color Musing’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Third


Four color Musings

By K. Patrick Glover

Installment the Third

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks and we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s just dive in, okay?

First up, Random Acts of Violence, a new Image graphic novel written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with some nice, atmospheric artwork by Giancarlo Caracuzzo and Paul Mounts. This is a book with lots to say, both about the slasher genre and about comic fandom. To the book’s credit, it never hits you over the head with its message, instead letting you glean that for yourself as you get carried away by the finely crafted piece of entertainment that it is. Rarely do you find a book that walks that line so neatly and it is quite a pleasure when you do. Random Acts does it, and it does it with style.

While I’m on the subject of solid reading material from the folks at Image, have you guys been keeping up with Witchblade? Ron Marz is very quietly putting out one of the most consistent pieces of solid story telling on the rack and I think a lot of people are missing out because of their preconceived notions of the book. I just finished reading a small stack of the trades and I’d stack them up against anything Vertigo is putting out, and, more to the point, if you like smartly written, adult drama, like the Vertigo line, then you should be reading Witchblade.

Now, digging into the pile of books I’m behind on, we find a stack of singles featuring the old Archie line of super-heroes. This isn’t the first attempt at updating these golden age stars, hell, it’s not even DC’s first crack at them. That honor goes to the Impact imprint back in the 90’s.

This time, however, DC has decided to fully integrate the characters into the DC Universe. They started with four one shots, under the banner title of ‘The Red Circle’, the one shots consisting of The Web, The Shield, The Hangman and Inferno, all four written by J. Michael Straczynski. From there, The Shield and The Web got their own titles, with backups starring Inferno and Hangman appeared in the respective titles.

Regardless of how I felt about the characters going in, and my opinion was pretty much a blank slate this time, having never read any of the previous incarnations of the characters, I expected to enjoy the one shots. I’ve been a fan of Straczynski since his days on the New Twilight Zone and he rarely disappoints me. Actually reading the issues, while they all entertained me, two stood out, The Web and The Hangman. The Shield and Inferno read okay, but the characters themselves seemed rather flat and uninspiring to me. The Web and The Hangman, however, captured my imagination the way the best comic characters always do.

Which is why it’s odd to report that, upon reading the solo titles that followed, my opinion flip flopped completely. The Web book, written by Angela Robinson, and its Hangman backup by John Rozum, bored me to tears. I hate saying that, I really do, because I really like the characters, but the stories just fell flat. Ten minutes after putting one down, I have no memory of what it was about. None.

On the other hand, The Shield, written by Eric Trautman with an Inferno backup by Brandon Jerwa, the book with characters that I don’t really care for? Fantastic. All credit here has to go to Trautman and Jerwa, who’ve taken characters that even JMS couldn’t make interesting and breathed full and vibrant life into them. In fact, in a few brief appearances, The Web is far more interesting in the pages of The Shield than he is in his own title.

Unfortunately, it seems that DC has decided to put the ‘Red Circle ‘titles to bed for now. Both solo titles are being shut down, although there is both a special and a mini series coming soon, uniting these heroes under the title The Mighty Crusaders. Both are being written, I believe, by Trautman and Jerwa, which is very good news. Hopefully the sales of the Crusaders are strong enough to warrant an ongoing title.

Full confession time, I haven’t read very much by Misters Trautman or Jerwa. I know them more from conversations on Twitter than I do from their work. After reading this book, that’s going to change. I’ll be looking to fill in my collection of their work real soon.

That’s it for now, I have comics to read….

K. Patrick Glover

Ancillary matters -

The first issue of The Invisible Skein draws to a conclusion this coming week. Printed copies will be available soonish. Keep watching at http://www.theinvisibleskein.com

Also, I am now writing a serialized novel for Weaponizer. It’s called Bale’s Game and the first installment can be found here… http://weaponizer.blogspot.com/2010/05/new-serial-bales-game.html

Related posts:

  1. ‘Four Color Musing’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Second
  2. ‘Four Color Musing’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the First
  3. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Twelfth, In Which We Say Hello to Another Universe
  4. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Fourteenth, In Which a Crisis is Brewing
  5. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Second, in Which Fear and Loathing is Entirely Appropriate

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