Monday, January 26, 2009

Super-Powered Comics: Amazing Adventures of the Escapist volume 3

Just a note that this is the ONE HUNDRED FIFTIETH post on this blog! Yay me!

Volume 3 opens with a tale by Will Eisner where the Escapist and the Spirit meet. The tale isn't a spectacular one, and Eisner lacks much of the style he used back in the fifties, but the fact that this was his LAST WORK does add a bit of poignancy to it.

Shawn Martinbrough draws another of Kevin McCarthy’s excellent stories that keep the Escapist in true comic form while also utilizing challenging plot ideas. This time, Escapist travels to a North Korea-style dictatorship that wants Escapist dead for the values he may give to the society. Good art, good writing, a good adventure.

An extended version of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego article comes next, followed by a slight improved Howard Chaykin story. I love Howie, but he seems to lack relevance in today’s comic world. Maybe it’s time to stick to art chores?

One more Escapenot story is the volume. Meh.

Eddie Campbell draws a beautiful but not overly well written story of the Escapist’s day at the fair. Is this becoming a recurring theme? So-so stories by guest writers?

No, maybe not, as Paul Grist of Jack Staff fame gives us Doc Hypnosis. The tale falls right in line with his previous work, and gives us a clever and well written adventure tale pitting the Master of Elusion vs the Physician of Illusion. Great stuff!

Novelist Chris Offutt writes a unique tale of the Escapist set during Viet Nam (supposedly for an unmade Eclipse revival of the character) drawn by Tom Yeates. A tricky, well written, and taut in all the right places that combines superhero conventions with war effectively.

We move in to some indy creator work with a short by Jason. Slightly above the Escapenot stuff, but nothing great here either.

We follow that story up with a romance/crime-inspired piece by Steven Grant & Norm Breyfogle that has little or nothing to do with The Escapist. Decent story, just odd ball placement.

Howard Chaykin comes back for a third time, this time with his Bite Club colloborator David Hahn on art. A weird little short based around music, it still fails to capture any sense of excitement for this reader.

Jeffrey Brown gives us a rather unique look at the Escapist in an above average short.

Finally, “The Final Curtain” has Jason Hall team up with issue one’s Eric Wight with another so-so tale from Escapist’s past. With the exception of the first couple storiez, this volume seems the dullest yet. But at least the price tag was dropped to a more reasonable $14.95. Mildly Recommended.

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