Pipeline: Pipeline, Issue #83

Sun, January 3rd, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. . .

I know some people just visit the web site on Mondays to catch the latest column, so you might have missed it: There was a special mid-week edition of Pipeline last week. Column 82a is available through the 1998 Links section of the web site.

LOTSA META STUFF

With the beginning of a new year, it is incumbent upon me to sum up the previous year in some way, whether it be with a top 10 list or a brief look back at that Year That Was. Sorry, I haven't bothered. If you want, click on the 1998 Links section of the web site and reread the last close-to-60 columns I've written and figure it all out.

The 1999 Links section should go up in the next week or three. No promises.

There is now a Pipeline message board/newsgroup! That's right, since it is hip and trendy to form communities in CyberSpace alongside every possible thing, I'm joining the crowd. I'm just setting up the site, so forgive me if things look a little wonky right now, but go visit http://www.dejanews.com/~pcr and poke around. Leave a message. Participate in the newsgroup there. Take the poll. Because if you don't, I'll just be forced to ignore it or take it down. And I think the web has enough rot as it is, don't you?

(Don't go there; it's long dead. -Augie 3/2001)

Finally, the Pipeline web site is now being prepared on Linux. My Linux box is finally up and running well enough that I feel comfortable in doing this. Why crash? Use Linux.

ERiK LARSEN FAN CLUB

Once again, we explore the wonderfully wacky and diverse world of comics by Erik Larsen. (For those of you who couldn't care less about Erik, I would suggest going straight down to the KINGDOM review towards the end of this column. I apologize for your poor taste. ;-)

AQUAMAN #52 came out awhile ago now, but is Larsen's best issue so far. In fact, it might be the single strongest example of his writing skills. It's one of those stories you get occasionally in comics where events parallel each other. You split the page in half and have two different stories running next to each other. The hope is that they echo each other or parallel each other in an interesting or important way. Usually, they just frustrate me. I don't want to read two stories at the same time. And if I do, do I read the top

half of two facing pages first and then the bottom half of those same pages? Or just go one page at a time?

While I still had that problem with this issue, Erik Larsen did a great job here with the issue. There's a nice connection made at the end to link the two stories in a way you probably weren't expecting. Along the way, of course, we see the way characters change and how Aquaman went from the smitten one to the jealous one, and how Mera has changed in her feelings towards Aquaman. Interesting stuff and well done.

The art in the top story (set in the past) is by Jim Aparo and it works well. His art style lends itself to that period easily enough, and Bill Sienkiewicz managed to tone down his usually egregious inking enough to make it fit in. Tanya and Richard Horie colored that half of the issue more flatly to give it the appearance of a DC comics from 30 or 40 years ago. Eric Battle's art in the current time frame was serviceable. It's still too frenetic, and he's still prone to posing people instead of telling a story or having characters

act naturally, but... Take what you can get, you know?

Chris Eliopoulos' DESPERATE TIMES #4 came out Christmas week, and just in time. This issue has a Christmas theme to it, but it's something that you could still laught at now that the holiday season is past us. Trust me. It's more hilarity from Marty and Toad and my favortie, Kennedy. If there is a God, there will be a Kennedy stuffed animal sometime in 1999.

Picture It's A Wonderful Life, Christmas Eve shopping madness, and goofy costumes! That's about half of the book. It's just damned funny stuff. Don't make me come out there and shove it down your throat!

(My, I'm a bit confrontational this week, aren't I?)

Seriously, read the entire issue. If the last two panels don't drop you to your knees laughing, I fear for your sense of humor.

THE KINGDOM: I WADE INTO WAID

It's an impressive feat to write 8 books published in the span of three weeks. Actually, it's probably even more than that, counting THE FLASH and CAPTAIN AMERICA. OK, so it's damned impressive to have those 6 KINGDOM books come out in the same week all written by one guy.

And I've only read one of those.

The other 5 have a LOT to live up to. PLANET KRYPTON is one of the best single-issue stories I read in 1998. It's a -- dare I say it? -- beautiful story? Kind of simple, but with likeable characters, a great concept, and a haunting mystery. It's set in the PLANET KRYPTON restaurant chain first introduced in the KINGDOM COME mini-series. (It's also the setting for the best scene of that mini-series: the one at the end with Supes, Bats, and Wonder Woman sitting around a table and talking.) We follow a young woman, down on her luck, who gets a job at the restaurant. Wonderful stuff ensues. I

won't spoil it any further.

Maybe next week I'll come to understand what all this talk about HyperTime is. =)

PIPELINE MOVIE REVIEWS II

I caught a couple of real live movies in the theater this week:

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is brilliant. If you know anything of Shakespeare, particularly Romeo and Juliet, go see this movie. It's well done. It's best categorized as a romantic comedy, but don't let that deter you. The writing is excellent, the acting surprising. (Who'da thunk Ben Affleck would work in a Shakespeare piece; or Gwyneth Paltrow?)

PATCH ADAMS I'd recommend with some reservations. It tries hard to maintain one strong plot, but tends to just ramble all over the place. The comedic portion of it is hilarious, of course. This is Robin Williams we're talking about. But that lack of focus and one or two really poorly-written scenes means I'd have to stick it with 2.5 stars instead of 4.

STUPID STUPID PIPELINE CREATURE II

To everyone who might read this column in the CBEM, I apologize for its absence last week. It was my own dumb mistake: I just forgot to send it in. No other excuse. Not the holiday week. Nope. I just forgot to forward a copy of this column to David.

-Augie

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