Headlines   2003 Review Index   November 14, 2003
Suspended Animation &

Michael Vance

Mark Allen

Michael Vance Books

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Lady Death

     In a time when a near-immortal race called the Eldritch prey upon humans for sport, a forbidden union takes place, while a village is razed. Upon the realization that her Eldritch lover has led a murderous raid upon her people, a human woman flees, in fear of the consequences. Having grown up in seclusion with her mother, the only positive outcome of that hellish night, a young woman named Hope, one day journeys back to the place of her conception.

     Eventually, however, the frightened, vengeful townspeople murder her mother, and leave Hope for dead, as well. But, found by her Eldritch father, and touched by his magic, she lives again, a being condemned by the Church (which rules the human world), and set on revenge.

     This is the premise of the comic book Lady Death, published by Crossgen Entertainment, and it is a vast improvement from it's previous incarnation, published by Chaos Comics.

     Brian Pullido is the creator of the character, and the series writer. With this particular series, he quickly and deftly creates sympathy for the main character, Hope, drawing readers in. Additionally, he introduces Wolfram Von Bach, a knight in service to the Church, and also Hope's savior from her second encounter with a murderous mob. Hmmm, more contradiction and intrigue.

     Pullido is doing exactly what writers should do; make readers care about the characters. Artist Ivan Reis also fulfills his role well, as he creates an appealing fantasy world, giving the characters a special kind of "life," with a dramatic, realistic art style. His women are beautiful (without being obscene), his men are rugged, and
their environment is spectacular. As of issue four, there is really nothing bad to say about this book.

     Lady Death is recommended for all but the youngest readers. Find it at comic shops, online auctions and catalogs, or
comic conventions. To find the comic shop nearest you, call the Comic Shop Locator Service, at 1-888-comicbook.

     Lady Death, published by Crossgen Entertainment, 32 pages, $2.95.

     Review by Mark Allen

 
The Plastic Man Archives
     It doesn't stretch the truth that there was and is no more talented cartoonist than Jack Cole. Nor does it bend reason that Plastic Man was his greatest creation and one of the most original characters ever created in comics.

     Then why isn't Plastic Man wildly popular today? Cole doesn't write and draw 'Plas' today.

     This volume collects Plastic Man's adventures from the first twenty issues of Police Comics, originally published from 1941 to 1943 by Quality Comics. Every reprinted story is a romp into a world of wild, visual whimsy as Plastic Man disguises himself as a table or woman or snake to plant himself among thieves. His is a
world that never pretends to be ours as he elongates into a slingshot or lasso or kite to get his man.

     If a Cole picture of Plas is worth a thousand words, the most frequent word is ha. That's right. While Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, The X-Men and countless other superheroes are fighting with clenched fists and enough angst to float an anchor, Plastic man is fighting with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

     In a word, Plastic Man is fun.

     He is fun because Cole was a visual storyteller who mastered every technical nuance of cartooning. He is fun because Cole also knew how to write funny through characterization, exaggeration and situation instead of through pun and the piebald joke. (An aside: the reason that those who handled Plas after Cole weren't successful is they thought PM punny, not funny.)

     Despite having been forgotten on occasion except through homages like the Elongated Man, Mr. Fantastic, Rubberroy, and this reviewer's own Plastic Mam, pure Plastic Man has again bounced back. So, buy now. No rubber checks, please. Jack Cole's work on Plastic Man earns the highest recommendation.

     The Plastic Man Archives: Volume 1/222 pgs., $49.95 from DC Comics/ by Jack Cole/available in book and comic shops.

     Review by Michael Vance

 

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