Jason is a painfully good comic creator – the man has a phenomenal knowledge of pacing, a sense of humour that’s darker than Darth Vader in a mine at midnight and deceptively simple figurework that says a shitload with very little.
The stories collected in Low Moon are mostly full of that black, black humour. Emily Says Hello is really creepy, but the title story – and all its coffee and chess – made me laugh out loud several times with an abrupt cut to a funeral and the classic ‘hat shoots three feet into the air to show surprise’ never gets old in the right hands.
The best story is the Proto Film Noir, which features a caveman killing a husband to be with the wife, but the bastard keeps coming back, and has to be murdered again and again. It gives the reader a killer punchline and the weirdly annoying discomfort of the blasé dead man, ready to do some gardening and destined for a grave.
If you’re not reading Jason’s stuff, then you don’t really like comics, because this shit is as pure as it gets.
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Thor vol 2
It’s hard to get sick of Loki’s machinations, and his hand in his own creation is a delightful slice of selfish malevolence. I could read comics that just had Loki showing up and fucking with people. Because that’s the way he rolls.
There are also some bloody big battles, which is what Thor is all about. His foe in the great climactic battle is a worthy opponent and carries real weight. The best Thor comics are the Thor comics where creatures of myth and legend pound the crap out of each other, while tossing off tortured soliloquies between blows.
Marko Djurdevic does a really good apocalyptic battle and there’s a nice panel of the Green goddamn Goblin getting casually tossed through the corner of a building that is a good reminder of why I still read these superhero comics in the first place.
And then there is a bit where Captain America’s ghost shows up, peeling away the layers of reality and brutally abusing the laws of physics to appear in iconic form before his oldest friend, and then uses the opportunity to have a good bitch about the media. Man, that gave me the shitgiggles something fierce.
I also don’t get the big shock climax, where the Norse Gods decide to move their base to a certain country run by a certain megalomaniac with a particular metal face. Why are the only options there, or the middle of America? The gods are after “more familiar climes”, why the hell don’t they go to the Scandinavia where they were born?
Oh, what the hell, it’s all Europe, right? What difference does it make?
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Batman: Gotham After Midnuight
A wonderful showcase for the weird, wonderful and slightly sickening art of Kelly Jones, whose art belongs to a universe all of its own – one of ridiculously overblown machinery and costumes, of grotesque figures with fluid physiques.
Jones can often be off-putting, his art just so wrong, it can be hard to look at. But overall, his work remains easily readable and occasionally brilliant as he shines a light on a particularly dark corner of the Batman’s world.
The story by Steve Niles is rubbish. A half-arsed mystery spread too long, it suffers from the same problem that Hush had. If there is a mystery villan who suddenly pops up and is immediately the baddest mofo on the block, at the same time that somebody new crops up in Bruce Wayne’s personal life – there’s a good chance they’re the same person.
Gotham After Midnight also shares Hush’s complete lack of ending. Blatant sequel bait is hard to swallow of 300 pages of this stuff, the story just stops without any real confrontation or resolution.
But hell, this is Jones’ world. It’s not one you want to hang around too long, but it’s always worth a visit.