Amethyst (the 1st mini-series) 1-4 - I’ve heard so much about this series over the years that I figured I’d give it a try (the fact that I scored all 12 issues for under $3 didn’t hurt, either). Four issues in, it’s pretty good. All the typical fantasy chestnuts are here (secret heritage, mystical creatures, fortresses built to resemble their evil masters, magical bolts fired from the hands, etc.) but it’s handled well enough that it doesn’t come off as clichéd. I have to admit that I was expecting warmed over She-Ra stuff, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. A lot more violent than I thought something that’s been recommended to kids for years would be, though, but it serves as a reminder that DC’s current dark trend is nothing new for them. The art by Ernie Colon is gorgeous in a very Gil Kane sort of way (it blows my mind that this guy cut his teeth on Richie Rich), and the story moves along at a brisk pace, so it’s been a fun read so far. Can’t wait to see where it goes next, though I’m a bit wary of the Swiftwind clone (yeah, I watched a lot of She-Ra back in the day; what of it?) on the cover of #6.
The Spirit (Kitchen Sink series) 1-6 - I don’t feel there’s anything I can really say about this series that hasn’t been said a million times before, but here’s something that absolutely blew me away. In one of the stories in the first issue (I don’t remember which one right now and don’t have the issue handy to look it up), there’s a panel of the Spirit and Chief Dolan discussing the particulars of a case. Pretty mundane stuff, but the “camera angle” from which this is presented is from inside a garbage can. Why? Why not? Here it is, 2005, some 60 years after these stories were created, and there’s still incredibly innovative stuff to be found in the individual panels. Just brilliant stuff here, and I should have discovered it YEARS ago (though I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much then). It amazes me that so much can be packed into a seven page stories. The perfect panacea for those of you tired of the so-called “decompressed storytelling” trend.
Nova 1 - Everyone spoke so glowingly of Nova (any pun you find there is unintentional, I swear) over on Mike Wieringo’s sketch blog the other day, and it’s one of those books I’ve been meaning to look into for years, so I figured I’d finally give it a try. The concept is nothing more than “What if Peter Parker became Green Lantern” (though Richard Rider starts off as an even bigger loser than Peter ever was), it’s got all the typical origin story baggage to deal with, and the villain is pretty lame. But with Marv Wolfman, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott on the creative end, the whole is far more than the sum of its parts, and I’m definitely interested to see where the story of the man called Nova goes (er, went). It’s 70s Marvel high drama at its finest – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, but a hell of a lot of fun.
Little Lulu: Lulu Goes Shopping - The first volume of Dark Horse’s attempt to reprint the complete John Stanley run of Lulu stories in an affordable format, and therefore one of my Ultimate Comics Dreams come true (similarly formatted and priced reprints of Carl Barks’s Uncle Scrooge stories and Herbie the Fat Fury would also be greatly appreciated, please!). Fun reading, excellent mode of delivery, and the lack of color really doesn’t affect too much (except for one story where Lulu turns herself green – you really have to take their word for it in that case). I was hoping to see Witch Hazel and Little Itch (they of the respective “Kackle, Kackle” and “Kickle, Kickle”), but I’m sure they’ll show up sooner or later, as they play a role in some of the fairy tales Lulu concocts for Alvin, the pesky neighbor kid. I’ll definitely be picking up the later volumes. Great stuff all around. They truly don’t make ‘em like this anymore.