Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ford's Focus - May 19th 2009 to May 24th 2009

Written By: Ford Thomas

*The Poor Bastard TP (library)
*Monster Attack Network TP (library)
*Crawl Space: XXX Zombies TP (library)
*Breach #5, 9, 10, 11
*League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 1910
*Agents Of Atlas #5
*Air #9
*Batman: Battle For Cowl #3(of 3)
*Captain America #50
*Doctor Who: The Time Machination
*Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1(of 6)
*Four Eyes #3
*Jack Of Fables #34
*Locke And Key: Head Games #5
*Outsiders #18
*Supergirl #41
*Superman/Batman #60
*Overlook #2(of 3)
*Johnny Hiro TP
*Oishinbo: Ramen and Gyoza TP
*Daredevil: Yellow TP (library)
*Moon Knight: The Bottom HC (library)

*Zombie World: Champion of Worms #1-3
*Anna Mercury #5
*Air Boy: 1942: Best Of Enemies
*Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle HC (library)
*Batman: The Joker’s Last Laugh TP (library)
*Everything ‘bought’ except for Johnny Hiro, Oishinbo, Breach and League Of
Extraordinary Gentlemen

Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle is one of those rare books that not only pulls you into the story and the world the characters inhabit, but it contains some incredible art as well as being packaged in an oversized hardcover which really makes this something special.
Hip Flask is a character I used to see in one page strips in the back of Image (?) books in the late 90’s which seemed to just be ads for the author Richard Starkings design and lettering agency Comicraft. So when the Hip Flask and Elephantmen comics started coming out I didn’t think much of it.
The oversized pages show off the detail in Ladronn’s artwork and he seems to make the most it. The darker colour palette at first glance is similar to that of many Marvel books at the moment, which occasionally is too dark and the art suffers, but the colouring in Hip Flask couldn’t be further from that! You can see the labour and control put into the colouring and the pages really shine.
One of my big pet peeves in comics is either TV or radio captions, they bore me endlessly, I don’t know why, they bog the story down for me even when they are relevant to the story progression which they rarely seem to be. But in Hip Flask, the radio was very well dialogued, funny, and enjoyable to read, and before it had a chance to get away from the writer/s (pages 6-36 are co-written by Starkings and Joe Casey) it was also relevant to the story giving the reader a better insight to the world that Hip Flask inhabits, a device which isn’t over used.

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Daredevil: Yellow was the first in their ‘colour’ series for Marvel. It begins with Daredevil in current time going back to a burnt out Fogwell’s Gym, the place where Daredvil/Matt Murdock’s father used to train. An old boxing poster on the wall takes us to the real beginning of the story, with a nice little transition from the poster to a newspaper headline about the advertised match.
Through out all the issues the candid narration in the form of an ongoing letter from Matt Murdock to Karen Page makes you feel like you’re there. As well as the story consisting of retold elements that are familiar with most Daredevil readers reinforcing the nostalgia.
A nice omission was that of the Daredevil origin sequence of young Matt Murdock pushing a blind man out from in front of an oncoming truck carrying radioactive waste, which crashed spilling some of the waste on Matt’s eyes making him blind but heightening his remaining senses.
About halfway through there seemed to be a slight drop in the arts quality which could relate to time constraints, or Sale’s general familiarity with his subject making for a more relaxed and loose style. Around this point there were a few sentences/paragraphs that were worded in a peculiar way, which took me out of the story and required multiply re-readings. At first, I thought it was written in a certain way to suit a character’s speech and thought rhythms, but the re-readings made that not seem to be the case, a minor complaint if one at all.
Sale’s art is a little inconsistent in the character portrayals but that adds to their personalities and there are never times when you are not sure who is who. The most enjoyable part of the reading experience would have to be Sale’s depictions of the city, buildings and interiors as well as his use of space in certain panels to give added ‘weight’ to certain moments.
It was funny how reading Daredevil: Yellow made me miss Karen Page more than ever. She’s a character I’ve never really got to know except for in Kevin Smith’s run (where my love of Daredevil began) in which she was killed off. Even the revealing, or at least to me, of her less than wholesome past for some reason didn’t tarnish my love of her.
At the end of part 5 you witness Matt’s ‘true colours’ as he lets out his feelings for Karen even though he knows Foggy is going to propose to her, a moment where you quickly remember how selfish he is. Which, once again, made me wonder why I’ve been reading the adventures of this dislikeable jerk for as long as I have with such affection.
At the end of Daredevil: Yellow, you find out that Matt has been writing his letter/narration to Karen after her death which gives it a nice place in continuity that seemed unnecessary to me, but at the same time gives reason to Matt looking back on his past.

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