Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reviews of "Bad Night," and Previews of Incognito.

I've seen two (correction: three) very good reviews of the latest issue of Criminal this week. At IGN comics, Dan Phillips praises the series' ability to generate sympathy for ultimately irredeemible characters. About Volume 2, Issue #7 in particular, he examines the two brief interludes that employed third-person narration to reveal more about the motivations of both Detective Starr and Iris the nurse. He wrote that it helps the reader feel like he contributed to discovering the narrative puzzle, and that it is "a significant achievement on both Brubaker and Phillips' part that they pulled this off without making the issue read clumsily."

At Comic Book Resources, Chad Nevett specifically praises Sean Phillips' art, writing that his "ability to depict subtle emotional shifts in characters is unmatched in comics today," and he calls the latest issue a strong end to a strong story from one of the best comic books currently in print.

[UPDATE: I completely forgot about this, but Jog at the the Savage Critics also writes at length about this issue. Jog praises Brubaker for letting the hints of the issue's big revelation "lay low" and for ably handling the transitions from Jacob's viewpoint to the cop and the nurse, and he writes -- correctly, in my opinion -- that the series' characterizations are so subtle that each story arc demands to be read all at once.]

I have a few thoughts of my own, and if I do post the almost certainly spoiler-heavy commentary, I'll do so in the comments section of this blog entry.


In the meantime, the launch of Incognito continues to draw near, and Ed and Sean have released a nine-page preview that is now making the rounds online. I saw it first at Comic Book Resources and then at both Newsarama and IGN, and I can confirm that it's the same preview at all three sites.

The coverage indicates that the first issue is now scheduled for an early January release, and the preview shows that the teaser from earlier did give us a hint of the art direction for this book. While the preview pages tend to be defined by the three-row layout that has been -- with only one notable exception -- the immutable rule of Criminal, they break this rule on almost every page. Frames expand to take up two or even three rows, and they "bleed" out of the white border to the very end of the page. There doesn't seem to be an obvious rule for when we see these expansive panels, but they may be working to create a tension between the anarchic freedom of the protagonist's past life and the claustrophobia of his life hiding in the white-collar world of the middle class. "Welcome to the rat race," as his new handler puts it.

And, it appears that the extra content of Incognito will feature the pulp hero, The Shadow, in an essay written by Jess Nevins. Sean Phillips posted an early sketch and the finished work, along with more preview art of the upcoming mini-series.


Buy Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips comics from Amazon.com

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1 Comments:

Blogger Alan David Doane said...

Sean also posted the gorgeous Shadow illo with no Photoshop colouring or logo. I want a lithograph of this so bad it hurts.

8:35 AM  

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