Friday, 9 November 2007

Finding the Right Lens

Batman #670, by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel

The previous release in the Moz-Bats series, ‘Club of Heroes’, was a sampledelic mini-masterpiece, with Morrison providing an old school Agatha Christie beat while JH Williams spliced clips from Bat-history together into something new. In comparison to such gloriously confident noise-making, this new volume sounds more like bar rock Batman. There are a couple of cute winks to the audience along the way, but not nearly enough to liven up the dull thump of the song itself.

Casanova #10, by Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon

The food they serve at Cafe Casanova is like gourmet fast food, y’know? It’s packed with artificial flavouring and it doesn’t take long to eat, but man does it ever taste good! So… yeah, this new dish makes for good eating. The ingredients are all quite raw and pungent (Fellini, sick sex, reality TV), but they complement Old Daddy Fraction’s usual super-spy sci-fi fare well. It should also be noted that head chef Fabio Moon brings a certain Euro-comics elegance to proceedings, smuggling in subtly flavoursome elements like the body language in the Kaito/Ruby scenes underneath the sharp tang of that all-blue first taste. Four and a half greasy spoons.

Suburban Glamour #1, by Jamie McKelvie

Just because a come-on is obvious doesn’t mean that it’s not effective. Check this number, for example. It slinks up to you looking like a fashion model fresh from some immaculate yoof publication, and flatters you with brazen allusions to times past. You’re not dumb, so you can tell that it’s trying to open you up by appealing to your bored suburban origins, but... fuck it, sometimes it’s good to give in to such blatant fantasies, if only for a little while.

The Umbrella Academy #2, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba

You might know Way from the popular teen horror-soap The Black Parade, or you might not. You might loathe the histrionic theatricality of his most famous productions, or you might admire the trashy bombast of such blatantly teenage dramatics. Regardless of where you stand on Way's previous works, you could be forgiven for worrying that his attempts to become a stand-up comic could be embarrassing. This reviewer found Way's second stand-up performance to be more convincing than the first, due to the fact that he uses it to riff on some of his usual concerns, giving the show a (slightly angsty) throughline while keeping the silly nonsense quotient high. One imagines that this might irritate some comedy fans, but surely not even the most well-weathered of stand-up patrons could deny the beautiful "Mike Mignola does Doom Patrol" sparkle that veteran gag-meister and stage designer Gabriel Ba brings to Way's comedy outings.

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