book review: deadenders

Deadenders is a science fiction comic about a young drug-dealer in a poor zone of the city after an unspecified Cataclysm. It’s a shitty place with not a lot of opportunity. Travel between the zones is strictly controlled, and while the crappy areas get darkness and smog, the artificial weather in the rich sectors means a life of (fake) sparkly sunshine. There are lots of scooter races.

I read this because it was written by Ed Brubaker, whose crime stuff I love. This was okay, but I feel like it could have used an extra layer of Morrison-esque mindfuckery. One thing I appreciated was the succession of relationships Beezer goes through in the story. His beginning girlfriend leaves him and tells her story herself. It was a little disjointed throughout but as a whole, it worked. I almost feel like this was a book that would have been better as floppies than in the trade paperback form.

book review: sleeper (season 2)

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Sleeper: Season Two picks up where Season One left off, with Holden working for “the bad guys” but now as a pawn caught between his boss and his former boss who’s out of the coma that left Holden out in the cold as a deep cover agent.

Both of the bosses are master manipulators and this book has a different feel than the first collection, which was more fun, I think. It’s more about Holden trying to find a path out from between the two sides, neither of which can really be said to have any concern for him as a human being. There are schemes and betrayals and it ends really well.

There’s a bit more integration with the Wildstorm universe in this book, but since I’ve never read any Wildcats comics, I didn’t have any previous connections with the supers involved. Everyone is used as pawns anyway, and not many of those get out alive.

book review: revolution (the authority vol. 7)

I’ve only read Warren Ellis’ run on The Authority before reading Ed Brubaker’s Revolution (Book 1). The Authority is the Wildstorm universe’s Justice League analogue, except rather than just maintaining the status quo they take an active role in getting governments to behave better.

In this book, Jack Hawksmoor God of Cities, has taken over the presidency of the United States and is on his way to making the world a better place whether people like it or not. Renewable energy for everything, healthcare and all the good stuff. But not everyone is happy about it. The Authority has to deal with a rebellion by a bunch of “patriotic” superheroes who are much more powered than they used to be. And Midnighter (the Authority’s Batman analogue) has been brought into the future by Apollo (the Authority’s Superman analogue) to see what a terrible fascist dystopia the Authority hath wrought with the best of intentions. Midnighter is sent back to try and make sure that future doesn’t come to pass.

It’s a good story about politics and superpowers that deals with things differently than the mainstream DC or Marvel continuity really would.

My big problem with this book is that the VPL doesn’t have book two, so I haven’t been able to learn how it ends yet.

book review: scene of the crime: little piece of goodnight

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are a pretty excellent team for comics in the noirish vein. Scene of the Crime: Little Piece of Goodnight is a decent detective story about investigating a woman and her family involvement in a cult.

What I liked best about it was how unglamorous the job of being a private detective was, and the reasons Jack Herriman has for working in that life. There are throwaway lines about how most investigations aren’t very interesting, and Jack’s uncle was a crime scene photographer which helps get him information.

I liked the story, and the backup story that’s also included in the trade paperback. The art was sort of ho-hum. It felt like muddy-coloured late 90s Vertigo stuff, which it was (the TPB came out in 2000, I believe). Nothing crazy ambitious here (there’s much bigger and better Brubaker stuff out there), just a good detective story that feels like it could make a good low budget indie movie.

book review: sleeper (season 1)

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Sleeper is an excellent dark story about a super-powered secret agent who was sent to infiltrate a criminal organization as a deep-cover agent. When the book begins the only man who knows who Holden Carver really is is in a coma, and he’s getting in over his head in the organization.

There was a lot of awesomeness to love about this book. Holden Carver’s superpower is that he doesn’t feel pain and hals really quickly, but he can also transfer injuries that were inflicted on him to other people. So he gets shot, doesn’t feel the pain, touches you so you’ve been shot to the equivalent degree, and then he heals up while you don’t. He does a number of assassination jobs in service of the bad guys, but then he did bad things when he was a government agent too.

The book is set in the WildStorm universe, so there are a couple of references to The Authority, and the existence of posthumans is very well-established. One of the neat recurring bits is playing “origin stories” when they’re doing the boring parts of the job. It’s just one of those things that seems so right in a noirish crime book in a superheroic universe. (Ed Brubaker also worked on Gotham Central, another bunch of great noir stories in a superhero world.)