August 4th Double-Barrelled Review

Detective Comics
I was a few pages into this month’s Detective Comics, before something struck me as oddly familiar, but not seen for a while. It was on the reveal of purple and green accessories that it clicked – this was Scott McDaniel’s art!

The first book I ever collected seriously was Nightwing, back when Chuck Dixon was laying out the sprawling, corrupt city of Bludhaven, and McDaniel was drawing Dick Grayson’s graceful arcs overhead. His work always reminds me of a tropical fish – bright, vibrant colours in a frenetic sea of action. His style, and ability to dynamically show Nightwing’s acrobatics suited the book to a tee, and it was never the same after he left.

So – McDaniel is drawing, and with a storyline that combines the classic mad-Gotham-villain style with the more whimisical style of a “flash-mob”, we get the first canonical appearance of the “Jokerz”, a gang of individuals who experience the temporary effects of Joker venom for a bit of a kick.

As this is Gotham, the “mad-mob” behaviour spirals out of control, and Batman has a bit of a problem at hand. All throughout the issue, McDaniel’s strong lines and control of action paint a vivid scene of harmless mayhem that quickly devolves into fear and anarchy – I for one am looking forward to a lot more of this!

Deadpool #1000
This one-shot is a bit of a mixed bag, I have to admit it’s not the usual standards I expect of Wade Wilson-centric stories. Now, I’m as a big a Deadpool fan as the next guy (unless the next guy is Frankie G, in which case I bow to his greater fan-fever), but this just felt a bit…shotgun. Like a Scary Movie film, the comedy is hit-and-miss, but not for want of taking shots.

The short stories are an interesting mix, some focusing on Deadpool’s inability to interact with…well, anyone. Others taking shots at recent comic events, and another being an almost James Bond/Sin City assassination. This is where the book starts misfiring, unfortunately.

Whilst it’s true that Deadpool can be put into most any genre, or story and work, it only works when he stays true to character. In the above examples, the parody of Blackest Night is heavy-handed and absurd, but in a manner that feels way too forced, and more importantly, is too late. The assassination story has a nice twist to it, but at no point does it feel like a Deadpool story – it could be any number of gritty Marvel anti-heroes, and it would work just the same. Not so cool.

I don’t want this to sound like it’s all boring, Liefeld-strapped comic. There’s a great short story that illustrates the varied social problems that Mr Wilson suffers, and a few great yellow box gags (and white boxes, too!) It just feels to me like the Deadpool bubble may be about to burst, which makes me a little sad.

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~ by nick on August 9, 2010.

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