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Namor #7
Story: Jemas / Watson
Art: Olliffe / Livesay / Brown

I've gone back and forth with every issue of this series so far, but with this latest issue I'm forced to face the fact that it's been the art that's kept me hooked until now.

The new team that takes over this time around does panel composition that moves, but I'll take the previous static tableau style over #7's competent but lifeless approach any day. The first six issues’ art, full of curves and bright light and saturated colors, not only ideally suited the marine geographical setting but also the early-20th-century chronological setting. More importantly,
it looked distinctive, inviting, and attractive.

The new look isn't horrible, but it’s nothing special. The Atlanteans look really different and are harder to tell apart now. The humans are more detailed but somehow less sympathetic just in the way they're drawn. Everyone looks pretty stiff and kind of dingy. Even the water is drab, and not just around the oil well.

As a result I can't tell whether I’m just terminally bored by this issue because of its content, or if I've been cutting the series a lot of slack all along because I was so into its look. I can say that it's structured just like the last few: the humans chat about money on dry land, then dive down and parley with the Atlanteans, meeting varying degrees of welcome.

I couldn’t even tell that this was the start of a new story arc; seven issues in we should be seeing more drama than this. I’m going to stop subscribing for a while and just peek at the next few issues. Wake me up if anything happens.


100 Bullets #47
Story: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso

I’ve never been a big fan of comics with high testosterone levels. It took me a long time to warm to Wolverine as a character, and I even had trouble getting into Preacher because of the “what it means to be a
man” content. So when I first encountered Brian Azzarello’s writing in Hellblazer, I was initially skeptical, because Azzarello appears to write about nothing but men.

Then I read some of it and realized that he isn’t writing about men but males, and this makes all the difference. Capital-M Men are a cultural ideal. Lowercase-m males are a sociological fact, and they’re infinitely more diverse and interesting because they’re real.

I don’t know how real the males in 100 Bullets are, and since they’re all usually lowlifes of some variety, they’re not super diverse, but they are interesting. The four introduced in this issue, part 1 of a new story arc, are not the sharpest needles in the haystack (contrast with the previous story arc, the clash of some of the most cunning minds and deadly bodies in the penitentiary).

They’re a loopy smack addict with a Boston accent; his cousin, the trailer-dwelling proprietor of a dubious “wild animal park”; an enterprising state trooper; and a hulking brooding tough packing the hundred bullets this time around. We have just enough time to get to know our quartet and establish the setting before the hulk decides to get up close and personal with one of the park’s wild animals. It’s either incredibly stupid, or it’s the central theme of this story arc. Or both.

The writing is terrific as usual, tight and believable and pitch-perfect, funny and dramatic in all the right places. Risso’s art is great too, shadowy and expressive and full of character. It all
comes together so well and with such assurance that I don’t even care where it’s going. Yet.


Andrew Simchik


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