03rd Oct2013

Bluewater Comics: Review Round-up Vol. 2

by Mark Allen

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Bucking the trend for this glut of Bluewater books, Vincent Price: Museum of the Macabre #2 is actually a pretty solid comic and manages to make sense by virtue of being a self-contained horror story. Concerning a gravedigger who has to keep re-burying corpses due to a mischievous lost soul, the story has a welcome air of Lovecraftian doom about it and a categorical distrust of authority that I can get on board with.

The dialogue’s a bit tin-eared on occasion but the atmospheric, charcoal-tinged visuals make this comic well worth checking out. It’s not entirely clear why this story had to have price’s name on it other than the obvious licensing boost and the fact that there’s a cardinal who appears to have stolen his moustache.

Speaking of moustaches, L. Frank Baum: Tribute contains what might be the worst spelling and grammar complaints out of all the comics in this run, marring what is otherwise a well-presented if profoundly dull presentation of the Wizard of Oz author’s surprisingly varied life.

Comprising the last two preview issues of this set, Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights #0 and Ruth & Freddy #0 couldn’t be more different, really. The first is a Guy Ritchie-style slugfest between Holmes and a cockney assailant (who’s given some of the least-thought-through comic dialogue I’ve ever read: “I thought’n you might be the murderer a’ Angie Farrell”) full of captions that that explain the crime he just solved, while the latter concerns an elderly couple who crawl out of a pitch-black pit to discover they’ve just exited their own graves.

Victorian Knights left me a little cold, largely due to the Sherlock fatigue many of us are currently feeling and the fact that it doesn’t bring anything new to the table whatsoever. Ruth & Freddy, on the other hand, had a unique, scratchy art style I got a kick out of and an offbeat premise I’d definitely be interested in seeing more of.

After the lifeless turd that was Rebirth, I was a little anxious going into Logan’s Run: Last Day Omnibus, being that they share the same writer, but thankfully it’s far superior. It’s a good job, too – I don’t know if I could have made it through two issues of Rebirth, let alone the six that this trade collects. Last Day is more or less a mixed adaptation of both the source novel and the 1976 film (incidentally, have you seen how many people have been trying to remake Logan’s Run since the mid-’90s? Crazy.) and entertains pretty consistently for the most part, thanks largely to the clean, pleasant art and a predetermined plot that means writer Salamanoff can concentrate on telling an engaging story.

Not that he’s always successful, mind; Logan-6 is a psychopathic asshole from start to finish and I didn’t buy his half-hearted ‘redemption’ for a minute, and the switch to a somewhat less competent artist for the final two issues makes the flaws in the rushed conclusion all the more apparent. More than anything I think I just have a problem with happy endings in dystopian sci-fi stories, as they tend to miss their own point entirely.

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