Pipeline: Pipeline, Issue #6

Sun, July 13th, 1997 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

PIPELINE COMMENTARY AND REVIEW #6

I've been remiss in recommending web sites. Well, let me correct that with one of my favorites, which doesn't get nearly enough attention although I do make a point of visiting it every Sunday like clockwork. It's the Swipe of the Week web page, where evidence is shown every week of swipe work in comics. Although a couple are a reach, and most focus on Rob Liefeld or Fabio Laguna, it's still a lot of fun. (I'd like to see some less obvious ones pointed out, but I still like what's up there.)

Start out by looking through the archives.

I promised some Duck reviews for this week, but it looks like I won't get around to it. Sorry, Duck fans.

Lots of reviews this week, so let's get to it:

Warren Ellis brings forth TRANSMETROPOLITAN #1 from DC's Helix imprint. I like it. This first issue is mostly atmosphere, but it's still a wonderful introduction. It's definitely a mature readers book, particularly for the language being used. Darick Robertson puts in a wonderful amount of detail, considering his previous work. Jerome K. Moore does an excellent inking job. It's absorbing work. I look forward to more of it in the months to come.

Speaking of Ellis, I had better correct something here: His upcoming series is entitled PANIC NATION, not simply PANIC.

I got around to reading WOLFF & BYRD: COUNSELORS OF THE MACABRE #15 at long last this past week. This is a fun black and white series from Batton Lash about, basically, lawyers for the paranormal. Picture THE REAL GHOSBUSTERS with lawyers, maybe. It's a funny, pun-packed strip. My favorite from this issue is the short "The Returns of Roger Rizzoli," wherein a dead guy must return to set the IRS straight. It's such a perfect little funny story.

WILDC.A.T.S/X-MEN: THE SILVER AGE features some of the most stunning Jim Lee art I've seen since he left Marvel, quite honestly. This puppy is beautiful. The second page is a highlight, with a densely-packed, creatively laid-out prison sequence of talking heads. Scott Lobdell writes some snappy dialogue: crisp, in-character, and funny. Some of the plot seems to be there just for the "hey, look at how neat this character or plot bit from this series can tie in to the other one" but it's done so well, you don't really notice until it's done and over with. There's lot of nice character bits in here. Heartily recommended.

Wow, Joe Kelly is good. DAREDEVIL/DEADPOOL ANNUAL '97 (or however you properly title it) is darn fun. Kelly pulls off a good mix of darkness and morbidity with light-hearted self-reference. Deadpool's dialogue is even more funny here than in his regular series. I think a large part of it has to do with the larger percentage of cartoon-related humor than you normally hear from Dead-Pool. I'm a sucker for it. Bernard Chang does some wonderful visuals in here, even though his Typhoid Mary is darker (more monochrome) and his Wade has a more "normal" and less-horrific face.

I just noticed something: Marvel is putting creator names on the cover of its comics! I just checked back to THUNDERBOLTS from last week and they are there, too. Maybe Comicraft is sneaking them in with their gatefold cover design work. At last!

Mark Waid is gone from IMPULSE, sadly, but William Messner-Loebs is taking it over. His first effort, with issue #29, is done well. He shows Bart learning to actually think, for a change. It's necessitated by the need to save Carol and Preston. (And, hey, is there the start of something romantic there? And is Bart going to be jealous, even though his relation with Carol has been shown to be very platonic? Interesting questions raised all around.) Craig Rousseau flies solo here, without Sal Buscema's guiding layouts. I'm happy to say his layouts are fine, although some of the pages read too "open" and "quick."

Everyone has been raving about MAGE: THE HERO DEFINED #1. I didn't read the original series. But I found this one, well, interesting. It's nothing which excites me. If I want to see classical mythology portrayed in a new and fun way, I'll just open up an Uncle $crooge Adventures comic, thankyou. But the story is still interesting and the art easy to read. The story is accessible to newcomers, and I assume there are a few tips to the readers of the original story, too. I'll read a couple of more issues before rendering a final decision.

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