Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What I Bought 10/12/2016 - Part 2

Nothing like having a question about some movie we're watching and not wanting to ask because I know my dad will launch into some overly long, ten-minute dissertation on the thing.

Blue Beetle #1, Keith Giffen (story and script), Scott Kolins (story and artist), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colorist), Josh Reed (letterer) - Seems like more of a Spider-Man pose there than one for a character that can fly.

Curious issue. Jaime relates a dream he had to Brenda of Dr. Fate fighting a giant beetle. Brenda is extremely acerbic and not helpful. Then Ted ropes Jaime into investigating a tip from a super-powered street gang, concerning a bunch of missing kids. One of whom Jaime runs into, and the kid now has shadow-melting powers. Jaime fights him off, but then the aforementioned super-powered street gang shows up.

For some reason, Giffen and Kolins are writing this so no one gives Jaime any sort of straight answer. Brenda is unhelpful, Ted's assistant and Ted both ignore any questions he ask, not to mention any objections he has. Overall, it makes Jaime look like a dope that's letting everyone herd him around. Like, refuse to keep going along with Ted until he produces some concrete answers.

The high point was probably Ted making a brief allusion to knowing Nightshade (as an example of someone with shadow powers) from his own time as a superhero. I had thought this Ted was a superhero wannabe, but it sounds like he was the Blue Beetle at some point. Which improves the chances of Booster showing up sometime soon, which ought to be good.

I like the designs for the Posse, especially the vibrating reddish guy, and the purple, Candlejack looking guy with the glowing weapon thing. We'll see if it translates once they get into action, but they make for interesting visuals, at least. I don't entirely like how he draws Blue Beetle, his lines make the suit look odd somehow, like the elements don't fit. I do like how the suit morphs, expands, gets more sharp as the situation grows more desperate. Plays into that dream, with a giant beetle monster fighting Dr. Fate.

The potential is there for me to enjoy this book, but toning down the antagonism between the characters that are supposed to be friends would be a help.

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1, by Sarah Vaughn (writer), Lan Medina (illustrator), Jose Villarubia (color artist), Janice Chiang (letterer) - That's not really good attire to be roaming through a massive yard at night with a candelabra.

Glencourt Manor is the "dark mansion" in question. It has the ghost of a young woman named Adelia Ruskin in it, as well as something else, an oozing dark shadow. Berenice is living there with Nathan, who is trying to get some novel written. But Nathan's health isn't great, and Berenice sees ghosts, so this isn't the best place for either of them. And into all this flied Boston Brand, only to find himself on unfamliar ground. Berenice can see him, not that she wants to. The house has trapped him, where he can't escape, and sometimes can't pass through objects. There's also Berenice's friend, Sam, who Boston can't possess for some reason. And by the end of the issue, Boston and Adelia vanish together, leaving a confused Berenice alone.

So there are a lot of mysteries in here, which is fine with me. Gives me something to mull over, whether they're interconnected or not, coming up with strange theories. I don't know if the book is meant as a Gothic horror story, or Gothic romance, or both. Nathan seems like the soulful, deeply troubled pretty boy, and Berenice the kind, but shy and uncertain heroine. Except Berenice is shy at least in part because she tries to shut out the spirits she can see around her. Not sure how Sam or Boston fit in, but we're up against the limits of what I understand of the genre.

Most of the colors Villarubia uses are fairly muted, kind of mundane. Which makes the parts where he steps outside that all the more effective. The bright yellow when Boston meets resistance to his passing through something. The pitch black shadow. I think Adelia is drawn in by Lan Medina, then not colored in, similar to what Declan Shalvey did in Moon Knight. Makes her seem disconnected from the whole thing in a way none of the other characters are. Which is interesting, since you'd think she'd be distinctly connected to the place she's haunting.

Medina does a solid job with the figure work. There are a few places characters seem a little stiff, but overall, the expressions are good, and when Medina gets a chance to draw more of the house, and use it to create a sense of looming threat, he does it well. The panel of her helping Nathan down the hall of doors, with the hall curving out of sight at the end, that one worked really well. Not sure why, some sense of the hall extending on forever, and endless string of identical doors that Berenice could see if she only went around the bend a little further.

And I like how for the first half of the book, written from Berenice's perspective, we see Boston flying around the manor, testing the place, and she has no idea what's going on. We understand why Boston Brand would show up, but she doesn't know him, and the issue shows him a lot with Berenice watching him from a distance. Even though he might be close to us, it helps put the reader in the mindset of seeing it how she is. Bizarre, something she can't understand, and doesn't want to get close enough to that she could.


SallyP said...

I want so badly to like Blue Beetle... but this was fairly frustrating to read.

CalvinPitt said...

I hear ya. I wonder if Giffen had some goal in mind writing it like this, or if he just thinks it's the best way to do things?