Saturday, November 25, 2006


Welcome back to the BLOG EXTRA. I hope you and yours had a safe, joyous holiday. Jumping right back to the comics, this weekend, four selections from Image Comics:

HATTER M #4 is written by Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier and drawn by Ben Templesmith. The first part of Hatter Madigan’s search for the missing Princess Alyss concludes here, and while the book itself is actually the best of the four issues in the series, the conclusion is ultimately aggravating. On the plot side, we get a much better detailed idea of what Wonderland is truly about, and why there are forces that want its power neutralized. After all, creativity and imagination aren’t prized by a large chunk of the population of this planet. We also get a wealth of Hatter in action, using his knife-laden hat to kick lots of Victorian ass. But what we don’t get is a real and resolute ending, which wasn’t what the reader was necessarily expecting when buying issue one. Should there be more graphic adventures feature Hatter, I am open to them, but I’d have preferred a more earned conclusion to this series.

Richard Starkings writes, and Moritat draws, ELEPHANTMEN #4. This is the finest issue to date of this title, and the first one that I really felt like I could get into from the start. A big reason for this is that the book sticks to telling one story, not two short ones, and that single tale is a strong one. Picking up from last issue, we discover the aftermath of the fight between Hip Flask and Ebony. The young cab driver, Miki, visits the two Elephantmen in the hospital and learns about their origins and the tragic fate that has befallen so many of their brethren. Miki also discovers what the Elephantmen believe will be their ultimate end. It’s solid stuff, finally adding definition to a world that really needed, and presenting ground rules the reader can grasp.

ELEPHANTMEN #0 fleshes out and delivers the full details of the origin Miki hears about in issue four. Writers Starkings and Joe Casey deliver a tragic, horrible story about the results of one man’s evil; a scientist named Nikken has created these magnificent creatures, but his arrogance works to break and destroy their minds and spirits from the moment they’re born. Artist Ladronn turns out one amazing looking page after another, and whether the setting is a lab or a battlefield, every panel is full of an astonishing level of detail. Alongside issue four, this finally puts the series into a context for the reader, and begins to bring shape and coherence to Starkings’ universe. This is a book I could see myself getting behind.

Dan Schaffer writes and draws the graphic novel THE SCRIBBLER, a rumination on multiple personality disorder and alternative therapies. Young Suki has agreed to use an experimental machine called the Siamese Burn in the hopes that it will eradicate her other personalities. But the true effects of the machine might not be so clear, as the other patients in her building begin committing suicide leaps on a regular basis, and her personality known as the Scribbler seems to be immune to its effects. But it is the effect that the Burn has on others that may lead to the greatest danger for Suki and her sole friend that exists outside of her head. Schaffer is really a gifted artist; his pages are absolutely wonderful to look at. But his grasp on coherent storytelling is a bit more tenuous; yes, this is a story about mentally unhealthy people, but the sane reader still needs for there to be some rationality behind what happens, and the climax falls short on that part. I’m just short of being able to recommend this one.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be here through the week for site updates, and back here next weekend for an all-new CWR WEEKEND BLOG EXTRA!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's hump day, but for the Waiting Room, the week is over. Check out two more reviews before we shut down for the holiday; LET US BE PERFECTLY CLEAR from Fantagraphics, and SEVEN SONS from Ait/PlanetLar!

Digest these turkeys!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's a two-for-Tuesday in this short holiday week. Now batting: ROTTING IN DIRTVILLE and HELLCITY, both from Gigantic Graphic Novels.

Peer into my thoughts.


Monday, November 20, 2006

There's always room for Jello... and always time for manga! Start your holiday week off with a look at four volumes of IRON WOK JAN!

Prithee, will thou notst maketh with the clickiness?