MICE TEMPLAR #1 - by MICHAEL AVON OEMING and BRYAN JL GLASS
Issue #1 steeps the reader deep in the legend of the "Mice Templar" - a secret organization that protects the mice community from their common foes - and it's fall. The story takes place many moons after the disbandment of the Templar in the town of Cricket's Glen. The need for the Templar rises again and some brave mice are called to action to protect their town.
Michael Avon Oeming's style has changed so much yet stayed the same. Adopting the brushwork of watercolors as opposed to black inks, it is just about the best work of his career. Colorist Wil Quintana addition to the project is to portray some of the most interesting art of today's mainstream illustration. Then add an opening issue written by Glass that practically begs for a history so deep you can't see the bottom. And you have the makings of a damn good comic book.
I owe my favorite part to the color scheme's for the Rats' scenes; slightly dark blue dominates the beginning of the issue due to mice being nocturnal (but not their enemies?) but then with the rats comes fire and bloody brimstone! And excellent nuance that thrilled me.
This double-sized 1st issue was an excellent start to the series.
JOHNNY REPEAT #1 - by JASON JAMES and VARIOUS ARTISTS
Johnny Repeat is both slick and convoluted as all hell. It's a tricky task to obtain both adjectives so easily, but that is the only way I can think to describe it. The 1st in an 8 issue arc, the inaugural issue is an introduction to the smartest little boy you'll ever meet (Mr. Repeat), and the major players in quite a few assassination rings. Quotes from the teachings of Mr. Repeat and from movies fly around at random - I'm not quite sure what it going on yet, but I know that I would like to know more.
The artwork lends itself to the confusion, as 6 artists help out in this prestige format comic book. Divided by chapter does make it easier to jump from artist to artist though. Paul Azaceta and Noel Tuazon are my personal favorites, but really there is no intolerable illustration in this book. James is able to give each artist enough script to work with.
I found this issue a tough undertaking for both writer and reader alike. The writer is looking to set up a huge storyline while the reader is looking to understand the beginnings of something that until now is unknown. The end result is a bit of controlled chaos. I know I want to read more, but I'm left scratching my head right now. I would use less movie quotes (even if they do end up getting self-referenced) and more direct storytelling for issue #2.
THE LAST SIN OF MARK GRIMM #1-4 (finite) by M. SEAN MCMANUS and CHRIS MORENO
As Silent Devil slowly disassembles, or whatever it is doing right now, I look back at one of their original titles, THE LAST SIN OF MARK GRIMM. While I can't say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is brimming with potential from both McManus and Moreno, and it worth the read.
The story follows our hero Mark Grimm, through what can only be described as a noir-coated hell-town full of demons that even Cal McDonald (of Steve Niles' fame) would not wish to encounter as he searches for his best girl (Audrey) and her would-be captors. Borrowing initially from Greek mythology then spiralling more into the paranormal realm, Last Sin is a mystery that can be easily solved - if you look in the right places.
The mythology tends to be driven home a tad too much in the 1st issue, with things like license plates ("CHARON -1") and streets ("STYX AVE") that are then repeated as dialogue by the characters. I have always been a huge fan of Moreno's art, the talent he possesses should've garnered him a spot at one of the Big 2 for ages now, and I'm a proponent of his work on this comic as well. McManus does well with the internal dialogue and some of the slight moments of dark humor that sprinkle the book. The Final word - I WANT SOMETHING FUNNY from both of these blokes!!! I know they have it in them. Perhaps this is the time to team-up again for Lord Catula? =)
New TV shows!!!
While next week marks the finales for Rock of Love and Top Chef, 2 new shows have piqued my interest: Cycle 9 of America's Next Top Model and Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
Cycle 9 of ANTM began on a cruise ship which was a breath of fresh and salty sea air. A "bitch" has already been established with Ebony and stand-out story Heather who has Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, which sometimes cause her to be awkward socially (and apparently a bit of a hunchback?). Let the back-stabbing and photos begin!
Ramsay's new show takes on kitchens around the country that are failing financially and uses his curse 'em out attitude to shape the restaurants up and back into the red. His 1st assignment was the Italian eatery "Peter's" in Balboa, NJ. While his freak-outs are a bit more restrained in other people's kitchens, the result is the same: dramatic and fun TV. To see the preview for next week's episode - a NYC restaurant with a roach problem - is an exercise in patience! Can't wait!
~Till Next Time Kittlings.