Pop Culture Gadabout
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
      ( 4/25/2006 10:10:00 AM ) Bill S.  

"MYTH IS MORE REAL THAN THESE SAVAGES WILL EVER KNOW!" – A couple of sophomore issues from the folks at Boom! Studios have arrived in the Gadabout Mailbox over the past few weeks: Jeremiah Harm and What Were They Thinking?. I wasn't too impressed with the first issue of Thinking – which played Fractured Flickers with an obscure Wallace Wood war comic – but at least it had the advantage of Wood art. Ish #2, which takes from an ACG-styled anthology comic, doesn't fare so well visually: the first story boasts some typically quirky graphics by Basil Wolverton, but, after that, the pickings are more stolid. (Paul Reinman, a Golden Age journeyman who isn't officially credited even though his signature's clearly visible in the first of panel of his two-page offering, is one of the artists repped.)

To go with the different arteests, the re-scripting chores (primarily tackled by Keith Giffen in the Wood book) get divvied up among several Boom! Regulars: the story that brought the most illicit chuckles to this reader was Chris Ward's "Bowties That Bind," which purports to be the adventures of one "George Swami, Cocktail Party Hypnotist." More often, however, I found myself wondering what was supposed to be happening in the original stories instead of chortling at the jokes: still can't quite figure out what was going on in Reinman's two-page Egyptian escapade.

Much more enjoyable was the follow-up to Giffen & Grant's Jeremiah Harm. After the first issue's set-up, the action's moved to planet Earth – to a beat-up neighborhood methadone clinic in the Bronx, where we meet Dr. Adele Winslow and her seen-it-all nurse Emma. These two hard-nosed dames find themselves in the middle of a fight 'tween intergalactic bounty hunter Harm and the trio of psychopathic planet destroyers who've arrived in NYC to find the "Basal Shard," a vaguely powerful piece of "primal matter" located somewhere 'neath the city. Rael Lyra's art does a great job conveying the wreckage that is an urban slum, though his treatment of the two women is not as assured (occasionally, their facial features appear more slapped on than an actual part of their anatomy). As with the first volume, Imaginary Friends Studio's coloring overdoes the mold-green look, but I gave into it this time since we're not in the prettiest part of the city. If the ending of the second ish seems rather pro forma – the first fight with one of Harm’s quarries gets interrupted by the appearance of a street gang that you just know is gonna get its collective ass whupped in #3 – Grant's dialog retains a nasty kick. Fine tough-assed sci-fi pulp that I hope Giffen & Grant keep goin' beyond this introductory storyline . . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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