This Week’s Haul

On the one hand, I never got to last week’s haul last week. On the other hand, both last week and this week had pretty small hauls. So, without further ado:

Last week:

  • Booster Gold #19, by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (DC)
  • Green Lantern #39, by Geoff Johns, Philip Tan & Jonathan Glapion (DC)
  • Echo #11, by Terry Moore (Abstract)
  • Ignition City #1 of 5, by Warren Ellis & Giancula Pagliarani (Avatar)
  • B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess #4 of 5, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi & Guy Davis (Dark Horse)

This week:

  • Fables #83, by Bill Willingham, Matt Sturges, Mark Buckingham & Andrew Pepoy (DC/Vertigo)
  • Incognito #3, by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (Marvel/Icon)
Ignition City #1 I’ve thumbed through some of Warren Ellis’ series from Avatar before, and they all seemed like a dumping ground for his second-tier ideas: Violence, sex, gore, unlikeable characters, and just basically icky comics. Ellis certainly has his nasty streak, but his mainstream fare balances that with a high ideas content, a sharp sense of humor, and most importantly, a humanity which is missing from the works of, say, Mark Millar.

I’d been hearing about his new series, Ignition City for a while and thought maybe his Avatar series were going to become more enjoyable. Unfortunately, issue #1 made me feel like I’d gotten suckered; it’s better than, say, Strange Kiss, but that’s damning it with faint praise.

By 1956, when this issue takes place, humanity has been in space for some years, but is pulling back after some apparently unappetizing encounters with aliens. One by one countries are shutting down their space programs. Mary Raven is the daughter of one of the great space pilots, whose death she recently learned about. She travels to the artificial Ignition City, the last great spaceport, to collect her father’s things and find out what happened to him.

Greg Burgas covered the issue’s flaws pretty well: Several pages of scatological humor, plus a scene of gratuitous and disgusting violence. This stuff feels completely superfluous; couldn’t we have gotten some more story instead? But Burgas liked the rest of the issue a lot better than I did: I thought it was pretty boilerplate stuff, the hint of some mysteries to be unraveled, but the first issue does nothing more than set the scene and serve up some graphic violence.

There’s a suggestion that Ellis is trying to put his own spin on traditional space fantasy characters in a “Whatever happened to…” manner – I think I see analogues of Flash Gordon (Lightning Bowman) and Buck Rogers (a man named Bronco claiming to be from the 25th century) – but the resemblance here is exceedingly thin. I’m not enough of a fan of that genre to really appreciate it anyway.

Gianluca Pagliarani’s art is okay. He nails the retro-future look quite well, although his sense of perspective and facial expressions is a bit iffy. Overall his work feels unpolished when it comes to drawing the figures, although not much more so than that of many fine comics artists at the beginnings of their careers.

I wanted to like this book, but I was disappointed in it. It contains elements of books I enjoy – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Athena Voltaire, etc. – but overall it didn’t have much to offer, and plenty to dislike. With only 4 more issues, I’ll probably follow it to see how it develops, but I don’t have high hopes.