Patrick's Hat-Trick: DC Free

by Patrick

Welcome to Patrick's Hat-trick, where I take a look at three books and offer you my views. Since we started this site a couple of months ago, I've fallen into the role of the DC reviewer. Well, this week I'm going to change it up and look at three books that DON'T come from DC; Mike Allred's MADMAN ATOMIC COMICS #1, Jeff Smith's RASL #2 and Top Cow's Genius #1.

So, I'm not reviewing DC books today, and if you wanted to stop me,

Okay, I don't know if you name is Dre, but the point is you should have shot me. Let's get started!

MADMAN ATOMIC COMICS #9 Years ago, on a whim I picked up a comic I never seen or heard of before called Madman. A whim purchase can be a thing of beauty. Finding that undiscovered treasure. Something that no one else new about. And YOU are the one who discovered the treasure. Such was the way I felt reading that original mini-series. It's been almost 15 years since that day, and Madman has come a long way. He joined the Legends imprint at Dark Horse, met Hellboy and even hung out with Superman. Then he faded away for awhile while Mike Allred played in the Marvel and DC pool. Last year Allred relaunched his creator-owned book as Madman Atomic Comics.

This has been a book I have meant to review the last three times it came out, but never got around to writing those reviews. I think I didn't do it because I've hard a hard time figuring out how to review this book. I'll start off with it's strong points. Mike Allred might be one of the best artist out there today. And with Madman, he is not afraid to try new things that are fantastic to look at. This issue was a chase scene down a snap city street, where if you had enough copies of the book, you could lay them end to end to make one huge long panel. In a previous issue he drew every panel in the style of a different artist, ranging from Jack Kirby to Charles Schultz to Jeff Smith to Rob Lifield. My point: The book looks GREAT. It's about as creative as the kind of things Will Eisner did with his Spirit strips.

But the thing with Will Eisner, he has the great stories to go with his experimental storytelling techniques. But I think Mike Allred has these great visual ideas for the book, and is shoehorning the story into these techniques a story, and they haven't always been great fits. I do think this issue has done the best at merging the two. That's why I'm giving Madman the Bad Genious Grade of B This book has often felt like an experiment in style over strong storytelling. But it's a pretty interesting experiment to watch.

Genius #1: Sometime buying a book blindly works out, like it did when I bought Madman 15 years ago. And sometime you waste four bucks. This week, I wasted four bucks on Top Cow's Pilot Season: Genius #1. I saw it in the shop and thought "The Bad Genious' need to have a review for Genius, even if they spell the name wrong!" (I'll leave it to you to which of us spelled the name wrong)

The book is about the greatest military mind of our time, a teenage girl, taking control of all the gangs of Compton and attacking the police for no other reason then it's "all she knows how to do". It's a pretty bad story, but I did find the art by Afua Richardson good. I wish I had more to say about this book. But there just wasn't much to the book to review. GRADE:D I didn't enjoy it, but I am willing consider that I may not have been the target audience for this.

RASL #2 People picking up this book expecting to find the Jeff Smith of Bone or his Shazam mini from DC will surprised to find a quite different kind of story story. It's not the art that will surprise them, but rather the story. There are no cute creatures, funny gags, and big Lord of the Rings type fantasy. Instead Smith is giving us a sci-fi chase story complete with hookers and bloody murders. In the first issue we get to follow the title character, Rasl, as he travels through alternate dimensions stealing Picasasso's and being chased by a lizard faced goon. In this issue Rasl comes home and we get a little bit filled in about his past, and learn a little more about him. It's an interesting story, and one I'm on board with so far. Looking forward to issue #3 Mr Smith. GRADE: B It's not Bone, and that's not bad

See you next time here on the hat trick, when I'll be doing a Trinity Hat Trick, looking at issues 2,3, and 4. And, as always, I look forward to reading your thought on these books in the comments section. Until then, I'm out of here!


The General said...

Hey Patrick, I'm glad that you reviewed Genius. But sorry to hear that it was less than Genious.

Matt said...

I really liked the first issue of Rasl. It was not what I thought it would be like at all, looking forward to getting more of the story.

Patrick Gaffney said...

General: Yeah, I was very disappointed in Genius as well. I just couldn't pass up the title.

Matt: I'm really enjoying the first couple of issues of Rasl. It's very different than anything Jeff Smith has done before, storywise.

Doug Smith said...

Patrick, your review of Madman Atomic Comics is spot-on. I love the book for its experimental side and Allred's daring, but as somebody who is much more story-focused than art-focused, it's been a bit...frustrating.

Still, I'm finding it a fun if crazy ride.

Patrick Gaffney said...

Doug- Thanks. It was hard to write a review for for that very reason. Allred is at the top of his game art wise thought.