Waited for the Trade: The Birthday Batch!

by Matt

For the last couple of years I have bought myself a whole slew of trades from Amazon for my birthday. This year I treated myself to a whole bunch of different books and I thought I would pass on my thoughts and review to you. With this batch, I reviewed Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures Vol 1, Speak of the Devil, Silverfish and a whole lot more!

I am going to warn you right upfront that I am not the best reviewer. I am not the best at describing what I think of a book in words and I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible. If you are looking for an in-depth review about the trade, this is probably not for you. You will get what I like and what I didn't like and I will also be using the Official Bad Genious Rating System(tm).

A = Astonishing, Truly Bad Genious
B = Brainy, Brilliant
C = Commonplace
D = Dunce, Dumb, Don't Buy
F = Freakin' Crap in a Hat

If you click on the title, it will take you directly to its listing on Amazon where you can check out prices and more reviews.

David Lapham sure has a way of making characters make the worst possible choice. This book starts off innocently but once choices are made, things spiral quickly out of control. The art is all done is grey tones which really add up to the dark tone of the book. If you like David Lapham, you will like this book. It is not as wild as Young Liars and is not as harsh as Stray Bullets but fully satisfies. Lapham needs to put out more books like these.
Final Word and Grade: Easily the best graphic novel I purchased out of this bunch. A vert engrossing read, one that I could hardly find any fault with. If you want to sample Lapham's work, this would be the best place to start! A

Green Lantern: RebirthI absolutely loved Geoff John's JSA and enjoyed his run on the Teen Titans but I have been avoiding trying out his Green Lantern. Before this turns into another Hal vs Kyle debate let me preface this review by giving you a little history of my experience with Green Lantern.

I know who Green Lantern is but I never followed the DC Universe until Zero Hour. That was my first exposure to Hal Jordan and I was intrigued that this DC icon was a bad guy. I also know that when he was shot by the Green Arrow that this was a major deal. The DC Universe interested me and I started to collect JLA and the next big DC event, Final Night. I thought it was neat and fitting that Hal Jordan would try to redeem himself by sacrificing himself to save the Earth. And I was enjoying the heck out of Morrison's JLA. Then Day of Judgement rolled around and I thought it was fitting that Hal Jordan was chosen to be the Spectre. It made sense to me since he was trying to redeem himself and it brought Hal back to the DC universe. When I heard that Hal Jordan was coming back as Green Lantern, I was a little interested but I thought DC was making a mistake. Hal was much more interesting where he was than as a Green Lantern so I skipped the miniseries. And then I heard that this parasite called Parallax made him go crazy I thought it was a bit lazy and an easy way to bring him back and I was glad that I skipped this series.

Fast forward to now, the Blackest Night event has gotten me curious about the Green Lantern again and a few of my friends have said that the Green Lantern series has been great. So I decided to buy the first trade and see for myself if it would be any good. Boy was I in for a surprise. Rebirth was a fun read and I will give Johns credit in making what seemed to be a silly idea actually have some merit. While I still do not like Hal, in fact I found him to be quite arrogant in this series, I will say that I did enjoy reading it, enough to make me try out some more GL. Johns really has a way of making small details seem huge and important. And I did laugh at Guy Gardner's reaction when Hal slugged. Nice little nod to a fun JLA moment even though I found Hal to be quite a dick in this series.
Final Word and Grade: Going into this series with NO expectations (or really expecting to be disappointed) I came out a happy reader. If you like classic superhero stuff you should like this too. While it was nothing spectacular or special, it is a solid read. C+

Speak of the Devil HC
Wow. I don't know what attracted me to try this title out, I think it was the creepy covers. I wanted to try something different and mission accomplished. I had no idea what this was going to be about but it was relentless. This is the story of a peeping tom and what he/she sees. This leads to discovering dark secrets about neighbors and then spirals out of control so fast. While the art is more cartoony it doesn't shy away from the sex and the violence. Hernandez does have a good handle on pacing and the use of panels but I found his artwork to be a little rough in some areas. His human figures seem to be quite pulpy and more unreal than real. The stark black and white compensates for this and gives the book the right atmosphere. It is a very quick read as well.
Final Word and Grade: If you like twists and sex and violence then this book is for you. I got the most enjoyment out of not knowing what was going to happen next and being shocked time after time. B-

Resurrection: The Insurgent Edition Vol. 1
The new Resurrection series took part of Free Comic Book Day and I snagged a copy and I thought it was a lot of fun. When I was browsing Amazon I found the first series collected for a mere 6 bucks! 164 pages for 6 bucks! This felt a lot like the Walking Dead and reminded me of Boom's failed War of the Worlds: Second Wave (which I thought was pretty fun) but had enough characterization and deviations that kept things interesting. Basically, an alien race came and conquered Earth and now they have left. Civilization is in ruins and the government tries to re-establish. Here we follow the survivors as the deal with each other and try to figure out what happened to the Bugs. And did the Bugs really leave? Excellent writing and fun dialogue. The art can be a little bland at times but that is really the only drawback.
Final Word and Grade: The story is quite intriguing and leaves me wanting to check out more. This easily gets a strong B and with the cover cost of 6 bucks this could easily be an A. So I will settle. B+

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack
I ordered this a LONG time ago when Dark Horse first solicited it and I kind of forgot about it. Almost nine months later I got a nice surprise in the mail! I had no idea that this strip existed and I don't think I would have been interested in this if Dark Horse didn't include a few pages as samples in the Previews magazine. This is totally the type of humor that I like and I laughed through the whole volume. The humor can be be stupid, crass and irreverant (can I give you a better reason to check this out?) and it was worth the wait. It is like the Far Side on crack.
Final Word and Grade: The best thing about it is that it is funny. Laugh out loud funny. The strips vary from subject matter and humor, some of the strips I had to read a few times to get it and some were just plain silly but it was pure enjoyment reading. The only drawbacks this has was that it was so short and was a very quick read. This will be one of those books that you forget for a couple of years and then laugh yourself silly when you rediscover it gathering dust on your bookshelf. A-

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Vol. 1
I was really looking forward to trying this out. I love vampires and I like artist Brett Booth so I thought this would be an easy sell for me. The premise was interesting enough, vampires are legal citizens of the United States and Anita Blake is an animator (she can raise the dead) and she is also a vampire hunter. How could this book go wrong? Well, it unfortunately does go wrong and almost right from the start. I was only a few pages into it and I was already lost. It was difficult to follow what was going on and what role Anita has. Is she a cop? What does an animator do? Too many questions from the start hampered my enjoyment of the rest of the trade. The scenes shift quickly without much explaination and is muddled down by some long and poor dialouge. While it can be pretty to look at, this collection (which only collects the first 6 issues of the story) was very boring and I am not going to get the next one.
Final Word and Grade: It was nice to see Booth's art again but I wish he was on a different project. I love vampires but there was nothing new or exciting to be found in this volume. D-

This was not all that I got for my birthday that I need to go through. Look for reviews on Annhiliation Volumes 2 and 3, Batman/Grendel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Earth Shall Overcome Hardcover.


Brandon said...

I love Lapham's work, but somehow Silverfish went completely under my radar. This title has just made it to the top of my purchasing list!

Cindy Cooper said...

Oooh! I'm going to have to check Silverfish out. Sounds good.

Mr`Orange said...

Resurrection is a great book, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It is out in colour now, and it just doesn't feel the same to me, I did like the grey tones, but I'm not complaining, as long as we keep getting more stories.