Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Random Assortment of Reviews


"The Case of the Cockney Golem Chapter One: A Beast in Baker Street" by Roger Langridge (writer) and Andy Hirsch (artist)

This is a new series about three children (and one dog) who enter into the employ of someone claiming to be Sherlock Holmes in order to investigate the suddenly-animated statue of a lion which goes on a rampage through Baker Street. The series is inspired by some of the ephemera surrounding Sherlock Holmes. It's interesting, in fact, to note how minor figures in the Holmes canon like Mycroft Holmes, Irene Adler and Professor Moriarty loom much larger in works outside the canon. Likewise, Holmes' landlady Mrs. Hudson and the Baker Street children are the featured players in this series, while they were barely visible in the original stories. In fact, the Baker Street kids are more accurately the offspring of William Gillette's stage play, rather than the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

This story seems to involve magic (what with the animated stone lion) which is supposed to be a no-no in detective fiction, but it suits the light comedic tone. As an all-ages comic book, it has plenty of funny dialogue by Langridge. If I hadn't known from the outset that he didn't draw this book, I'd have looked at Hirsch's art and assumed it was Langridge using an inker; which is to say, Hirsch's art is perfect for Langridge's form.

Baker Street Peculiars is published by Boom! Studios: "Freelancers' least-favourite publisher!"


"Wir" by Michael Fiffe (writer/artist).

I'm still slowly going through the series Copra an issue at a time and at this point, the series has begun to delve into character-driven tales of the various cast members, rather than addressing the ongoing plots. This issue features Wir, the armor-wearing teenage member of the team. For much of the issue it's a quiet narrative about the day-to-day doings of listless teenagers and their usual routines. Up until the closing pages where the usual tone of Copra reasserts itself, it's like a male version of This One Summer. A very nice change-of-pace for what is becoming a series - and creator - I intend to pay attention to.

Copra is published by Michael Fiffe: "You guys, self-publishing is still a thing."


"Cobra Nation Part 2" by Larry Hama (writer) and S.L. Gallant (artist)

Larry Hama is still kicking it old school on G.I. Joe with an endless series of running subplots and his usual cast of hundreds. This issue features Cobra Commander being forced into a new arrangement with his former ally Destro; the new Snake-Eyes learning how to shatter a sword using ninja magic (which is getting well outside of the level of ninja mysticism I like to see in this series) and the Joes welcome a new member Bombstrike (new to this continuity at least). It's nice to have another new character in the Joes' ranks as part of what made Hama's original run on the series in the 80s so enjoyable was the steady influx of new faces. The absence of new figures to sell has made it easier on Hama to tell the stories he wants to without having to shill for Hasbro, but I liked the way the commercial demands made him pivot from time-to-time; after all, Hama has stated repeatedly that he doesn't plan the series in advance but instead plots everything on the fly. New characters should always be part of that.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is published by IDW: "We're not an IP farm, we're an IP rest home."


"Starfall Part 1: The Shadows Have Ears" by J. Torres (writer) and Corin Howell (artist).

Finally, we have the beginning of an epic story set in a world populated by anthropomorphic animal people. 12 of them are of the same race as creatures from the Chinese zodiac (snake, rooster, ox, etc) and are evidently being set up as the protagonists. It seems six stars have fallen from the sky and a dark power - represented by evil rabbits - are on the loose. A few of the heroes are introduced and it all has a lightness of touch similar to that of Kung Fu Panda. If that's your thing, this might be your thing too.

The Mighty Zodiac is published by Oni Press: "We publish more than just Scott Pilgrim, apparently."

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