TONY'S ONLINE TIPS for Wednesday, December 23, 2009
From Comics Buyer's Guide #1661:
I'm a faithful viewer of "Eureka" on the SyFy Channel. It's an amusing show about a town of super-geniuses and the down-to-earth sheriff whose common sense and quick thinking often keeps them from blowing our planet into itty bitty pieces. Okay, to be fair, the denizens of Eureka only imperil the world a couple times each season. Washington D.C. does that daily.
Andrew Cosby is the co-creator of "Eureka" and the co-founder of Boom Studios. Not surprisingly, Boom, surely one of the coolest new comics industry players of the new millennium, has published a pair of four-issue Eureka limited series. Both are "in continuity" and have been collected into trade paperbacks.
Eureka Vol. 1 [$15.99] finds Sheriff Carter contending with an escapee from Global Dynamics, Eureka's research center, think tank, and pretty much sole employer. On page 10, to save his daughter, Carter is forced to put a bullet into the escapee's head. It only kills the man for a little while. As the story unfolds, we learn the chilling truth of this man who can't be killed as well as his past relationship with Carter's deputy. It's a tale worthy of its TV series inspiration.
Brendan Hay scripted the four-issue series from Cosby's story. Hay nailed the "voices" of the character while artist Diego Barreto did an equally commendable job with his visual interpretations of the TV show's actors. The volume earns three Tonys.
Eureka Vol. 2: Dormant Gene [$15.99] spotlights Zoe Carter and the kids of Eureka High. "Gene therapy" is all the rage amongst the brainy teen and "goth vampire" is the cool, dangerous new look that puts the town in peril. I'm sort of partial to the giant girl myself.
Jonathan L. Davis wrote the script from a story by Cosby and "Eureka" co-creator Jaime Paglia. The sheriff takes a back seat to Zoe in this series, something we rarely see in the actual TV show. Thanks to that fun change-of-pace, I liked this mini-series better than the first. Its only minor drawback was that artist Mark Dos Santos, terrific as he is, didn't draw the characters as accurately as did Barreto. This volume also earns three Tonys.
One more for the road and, this time around, that road is a terrifying highway called North 40, a six-issue Wildstorm/DC series by Aaron Williams with art by Fiona Staples. Two issues into the series and I'm hooked on the horror.
Mix two creepy Midwestern teens with an ancient tome they find in the dustiest archives of their library and, by the last panel of the second page, the mystical equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb has been dropped on Conover County. Some folks die outright and some are changed in ways miraculous and monstrous. Something is really wrong in Conover and it's up to those who survived to try to set it to rights.
Williams has a fairly large cast of characters for a story set in such a small and secluded area, but he moves them through these first two issues with skill. The readers get to know them as they choose sides for the battle that's coming.
Artist Fiona Staples holds up the visual end of these issues with confidence. She makes Conover County and its citizens look authentic, but makes the fantastic and the horrible just as real. Her storytelling is excellent throughout.
North 40 reads fine in its 22-page chunks, but I think it will be even better in the inevitable trade paperback. These first two issues earn four out of five Tonys.
TONY'S BACK PAGE
For the time being, "Tony's Back Page" has switched from sterling tales of my life and career to extended coverage of comic books scheduled to appear in my new book, 1000 Comic Books You Must Read.
When Lois Lane researches an article on him, Jimmy thinks she's in love with him. Naturally, he proposes and, naturally, she accepts until she can let him down easy. Like at the church. Some women are just plain bad for men.
In another story, a scheming professor claims that Jimmy is a descendent of the notorious "Greenbeard Olsen" and then tries to convince the world the young reporter is a were-pirate who reverts to his hereditary ways under the influence of the full moon.
Bender, who wrote all three of the issue's eight-page stories, had a finesse for tightly-plotted tales that revealed many sides of Jimmy. Our hero could be clever enough to outwit a bad guy in one story and played for laughs in the next. Olsen was our "everyman" in the Superman comics of the late 1950s. We laughed with him more than we laughed at him.
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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