Monday, November 12, 2007

Golgo 13 vol 10, Houdini: The Handcuff King and Showcase Presents Batgirl

Here's how this works: I finish reading a comic collection, and I tell you about it, and I try not to go on too long.

"Wasteland" is a nuclear-scare story from the early 80s, which really has not aged as well as the other stories in this series of reprints. On the other hand, the story does a stunning job depicting the absolute desperation of a team of engineers trapped in a nuclear plant, and the solution, using Golgo's unerring accuracy to find a way to shut everything down, is very clever. The second, shorter story, "Route 95," is more engrossing, and places our "hero" amidst a murder mystery, only to learn that he has a nasty, secret reason for being in the wrong place at the wrong time... Recommended for readers who've sampled some of the other volumes.

Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi (The Salon) look at a day in the life of Houdini, preparing for and executing an event in Cambridge. It is an entertaining and detailed little story, which weaves elements of Houdini's life and mythology in and around the spectacle, but in the end, I felt that the price point was awfully high for a story so slight, and was actively aggravated at myself for spending as much as I did, even with a generous discount. $16.99 might have been fine for a life story in 96 pages, but, and this may be the plot-heavy 2000 AD fan in me talking, there's an awful lot of space given over to scene-setting at the expense of story. Not recommended without a pretty substantial discount.

A pretty typical Showcase offering, about 550 pages which reprint every Batgirl appearance from her 1966 debut into the early 70s. For a time, she was a recurring guest character in the Batman stories before getting her own monthly series in Detective Comics, with a long stretch of two-part eight-page adventures. The character was semi-retired around 1971, and, in one of the most credibility-straining ideas in DC's history, Barbara Gordon was elected to represent Gotham City in the US Congress, which didn't leave her very many opportunities to break out the cape and cowl. There's some pretty good artwork by the likes of Don Heck, Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane in this volume, but the stories are pretty slight and not particularly engaging. Not recommended.

(Originally posted November 12, 2007 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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