Thursday, July 19, 2007

Busy Week

Two of our comics dropped this past Wednesday. The Highwaymen #2 and (finally) our graphic novel, "Monster Attack Network." Reviews have been positive for the most part, which is really all you can ask for. Comic fans call you on your sh*t if they aren't digging it.

I also did my first signing at Brave New World comics in Valencia, CA. A store owned by (drumroll) another Adam Freeman. What are the odds? I want to say thanks to Adam and the whole gang at BNW for making me feel welcome and treating me to some pretty amazing tacos.

Here are some reviews on this week's books....

From Comic Book Resources, where, again, we're on the Buy Pile:

The Highwaymen #2 (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. Speaking of delightful, you can't beat the style and panache with which these two retired instruments of policy go about their work in retrieving a rogue government asset is just plain fun to read. The entire opening sequence, escaping a CIA field team, is the stuff of action movie legend, as Mr. Monroe and Mr. McQueen practically waltz through super powered assassins and deluges of high caliber ammunition flying their way, firing quips back and forth at one another the entire time. It's wonderful analog enjoyment, as Lee Garbett (with colors by Johnny Rench) perfectly depicts almost everything from car chases to gunfights to dialogue (the automotive somersault could have been a smidgen more clear, but wasn't bad), and the script by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman is so tight that you could bounce a paper dollar off of it. Now a "buy-on-sight" as this mini is firing on all cylinders.

From Adan Jimenez at PopCultureShock:

"This is just all kinds of fun. It’s what every buddy movie should be like. Two guys who don’t really like each other but have to work together for the greater good. One guy shoots, the other one drives. And oh yeah, it’s set in the near future. It’s from my head, people!

Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman (who you will hear more of soon) write an awesome, awesome story about two guys have to do all kinds of cool and crazy shit to protect a girl from sinister forces. The who and the why don’t yet matter (except for Able Monroe and his partner McQueen, who may be so cool that he doesn’t need a first name) because things blow up, people get shot in uncomfortable places, and cars do things cars were not meant to do. At some point in the near future of this mini (probably the very next issue), we’ll be told the why and who, I’m sure.

The artist Lee Garbett is one part Brian Stelfreeze (who does the cover, actually) and two parts Frank Quitely, but in a good way. Garbett’s men look like the old, craggy bastards they are, but his women do not, as Quitely’s so often do. And his action sequences look like all the best parts of The Ride. And take look at the expression on the matador’s face when his bull is unceremoniously shot in the head. Priceless!

This book is all the best parts of Die Hard, Speed, 48 Hrs., and Bullitt all rolled into one fantastic, fluffy confection. It’s like comics can be fun once in awhile or something."

His buddy Brendan isn't so much with the effusive praise:

"I don’t think I’ll be back next issue.

This is one of those times when I get real pompous and say that comics need to have a reason to be comics. The reason superheroes dominate the industry so wholly, at least in part, is because spandex works way better on the four color page than it does in reality. Just ask a biker. I think that on some level the writing team of Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman know this, because their Monster Attack Network book shows this perfectly. Monsters make good comics. And no matter how many times I see Brian Stelfreeze or someone who emulates him try, I don’t think cars make particularly good comics. They don’t engage me enough as a reader for me to be willing to wait 30 days to find out what happens next.

Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy this story, and I will be eager to read it in trades when the time arrives, but I don’t want to wait six months just to finish a buddy-cop action movie. I could do that in two and a half hours by renting any of the movies Adan listed. I dug this, and keep checking the singles if you’re already waist-deep. If you have yet to start this, though, do yourself and the story a favor and wait until you can chug through it all at once."

Fair enough.

Those two guys, from above. Here's their take on Monster Attack Network:

"Brendan: This book is what AiT/PlanetLar does best. With one part stoic lead, one part mysterious beauty, and about a hundred parts super gigantor chaos monsters you get the blockbuster that is Monster Attack Network. The concept is simple; huge monsters arise and destroy the island of Lapuatu, and M.A.N. rebuilds. When this happens once every month or so, it isn’t a problem. When it starts happening damn near everyday… well, that would be spoiling it.

The story doesn’t give us any more than we need to enjoy ourselves. It has all the banter and action one would expect from a story about fighting monsters. The only trip up comes in the art. Nima Sorat has a unique style and vision for the book, and the characters manage to be familiar while remaining original. When we do see the monsters they are as horrific and awesome as they were when you were ten. The problems arise when the style overwhelms the narrative, and when the lack of consistency between pages impedes the transitions. The opening action sequence takes the knowledge that there are monsters for granted, and fails to give us that one big establishing shot. It evens out towards the end, progressively getting better.

Don’t think too much about this one. You’ll love it.

Adan: This is Marc Bernadin and Adam Freeman doing crazy shit again. This time, instead of blowing things up with guns and cars, though, they do it with huge freakin’ monsters! Nate and company at MAN (I just love calling it that) save the island nation of Lapuatu from the rampaging monsters they coexist with. Coexist, you ask. Yes, coexist. These monsters are usually peaceful, but sometimes they throw a tantrum and MAN has to step in to corral them back to safety while saving humans and fixing the damage. They try very hard not to kill the monsters, as they are also the rightful inhabitants of the island.

Bernadin and Freeman write in so many action sequences, it’s unfortunate they didn’t get a better artist. Nima Sorat is good when the story is slow and relaxed: tender moments between colleagues, conversations with bad guys, dudes sitting in front of banks of computer screens. But once the scene calls for action, the inks get all muddied up and I can’t tell what the hell is going on. Maybe MAN 2 will have an artist with a better sense of space and moving forms.

Other than that, though, good stuff. These two guys are really impressing the hell out of me."