Friday, April 24, 2009

Life Sucks

Life Sucks
Written by: Jessica Abel
Illustrated by: Gabriel Soria, Warren Pleece
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: First Second
Language: English
April 2008, $19.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Life sucks when you're a baby-faced kid in LA -- broke, girlfriendless, and stuck in a dead-end job. Life sucks harder when that job is night manager at the Last Stop, LA's finest vampire-owned convenience store, and you're facing an eternity of restocking beef jerky and blood brew for Radu, your crappy boss and Vampire Master. It's bad enough that Dave pines for his days as a vegetarian, but when he finds himself competing with psychotic surfer-vamp Wes for the affections of Rosa, a beautiful mortal with a fixation on the dark side, unlife really gets complicated.

+++++++++++++

If it involves vampires or zombies, I will usually pick it up even if it looks more like a little romantic comedy. The one who recommended it said that it was a lighter vampire “Clerks” with shades of romance. In a way it is fitting. Dave is bored and broke, just killing time in a job he hates when he starts crushing on the cute Goth girl who comes in now and again. Dave’s life as a vampire is not glamorous. Lestat he is not. He doesn’t have the great clothes, the women immediately drawn to him, or boundless riches. What he does have is a boss who doesn’t appreciate him and no great superpowers. Life indeed sucks.
Its funny and its cute. The pacing is a bit uneven but I don’t mind. I like Dave. I feel for him. I want him to get the girl. And who doesn’t equate vampirism with a soul sucking, low paying retail job. I love how Rosa, Dave’s Goth girl, sees vampirism as the stereotypical dark dangerous and beautiful, but the reality is actually quite boring.

The artwork is fantastic, just as fun as the story itself and I found myself reading it rather quickly then sad it ended. The ending was a bit sudden and just a smidge too easy, but I enjoyed the rest of it so much that I didn’t care. Definitely a keeper.


3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ex Machina Volume 3

Ex Machina Volume 3
(Fact V Fiction)
Written By: Brian K Vaughan
Illustrated By: Tony Harris
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Wildstorm
Language: English
April 2006, $12.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Mayor Mitchell Hundred makes a difficult decision about his own future, becoming part of a shocking trial complicated by the unexpected arrival of an all-new superhero. At the trial’s end, the Mayor leaves New York City for the first time since his election to embark on a strange adventure! This third volume of the critically acclaimed series reprints issues # 11-16. Written by Wizard Tp Ten creator Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) with art by Eisner-winning artist Tony Harris (Starman), this book collects three unique storylines.

+++++++++++++

Everything lies in the end.

If you haven’t read this series, you really should. It continues to be a wonderful read. This time around there are three little mini stories. One involves a new superhero who calls himself the Automaton who says that he was created by the Great Machine. While Mayor Hundred would love to refute such a claim, he is stuck in jury duty and that has its own complications when a hostage situation arises. And finally, in the latter half of the story, Mitchell then heads to see his mother who has some revelations of her own.

While this volume wasn’t as great as the first two volumes in my opinion I still really enjoy the series. It is not a superhero comic though our hero may indeed have superpowers. As I have said before it is a bit more like the West Wing. Harris’s art continues to impress and it works well with the stories being told.

3.0 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ex Machina: Volume 2

Ex Machina Volume 2
(Tag)
By: Brian K Vaughan
Illustrated By: Tony Harris
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Wildstorm
Language: English
October 2005, $12.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Retired super-hero and current New York City Mayor Mitchell Hundred makes the most controversial decision of his political career. As the mayor's administration deals with the fallout, a supernatural terror stalks the subways beneath Manhattan. What connection does this mysterious new threat have to do with Hundred's past as the heroic Great machine? This second volume of the critically acclaimed series collects the GLAAD Award-nominated TAG story arc from issues 6-10. Written by Wizard top ten creator Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) with art by Eisner Award-winning artist Tony Harris (Starman), this book also features an introduction by the Wachowski Brothers!

+++++++++++++

After a brief non book few weeks, I finally started picking things up again and I decided that Ex Machina was a good place to start. I really enjoyed the first volume and I have been hearting Brian K Vaughan for some time. This time around Mitchell Hundred tackles gay marriage, addresses an old friend and has to deal with a murderer. There is enough wit, intelligence, action, humor, drama and politics to make me a happy girl and I wasn’t disappointed with the second volume which is shaping up to be an excellent series overall.

I think one of the things I really enjoy about this series is that I like Hundred. He goes after issues that others wouldn’t dare touch because of the political fallout. He doesn’t care. He believes what he believes and isn’t afraid to speak out on behalf of those beliefs. Sadly, he is not like most of the politicians we encounter in this day and age. But more than that he is a good character. He wants to save the world, even in his own little ways. There is more to each of the stories that what you immediately see. Vaughan does a great job of writing tragedy as much as he does comedy along with the thrills and action I enjoy. I loved the strange deaths that were connected to Mitch’s symbol and I hope to see more exploration of it.

Another great volume.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Facts in the Case...

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch
By: Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by: Michael Zulli
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse
Language: English
October 2007, $13.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Come, come and hear of the strange and terrible tale of Miss Finch, an exacting woman befallen by mystery and abduction deep under the streets of London! New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivers another stunning hardcover graphic novel with longtime collaborator Michael Zulli (Creatures of the Night, The Sandman). This is the first comics adaptation of his popular story "The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch," which saw print only in the U.K. edition of Gaiman's award-winning work Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions and was recently interpreted for his Speaking in Tongues CD.

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch is a "mostly true story" that combines the author's trademark magic realism with Zulli's sumptuous paintings, and has been newly rewritten for this hardcover. Join a group of friends, with the stern Miss Finch in tow, as they enter musty caverns for a subterranean circus spectacle called "The Theatre of Night's Dreaming." Come inside, get out of the pounding rain, and witness this strange world of vampires, ringmasters, illusions and the Cabinet of Wishes Fulfill'd.


+++++++++++++

I know it might elicit some shock and horror for those who love me, but I have a love/hate relationship with this one. And it’s Neil Gaiman. *Gasp* There are many things that I like about it. The artwork by Michael Zulli is amazing and it perfectly conveys that dark, bizarre undertow that lurks beneath the surface of just a normal night of sushi and a circus. However, as intriguing as the story is it never really draws me in and it didn’t as a short story either. I don’t know what part of the story never really clicks for me and by all means it isn’t bad. There are many things that I like about it, but it isn’t my favorite. I love the underground circus, the freedom Miss Finch gets, and that eerie little feeling of the whole story, but as I said there is nothing that makes me jump up and down (other than the artwork) and scream happily like I usually do.

2.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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