Monday, November 3, 2008

Muhyo and Who

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death. This time, reviews, of sorts, of Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation volume one (Viz, 2007) and Doctor Who: Oblivion (Panini, 2006).

I was mentioning last week about how I bought lots of stuff from the AWA dealers' room. This was one; I spotted the cover and figured, correctly, that my eleven year-old son would enjoy it. Muhyo & Roji's BSI, which concluded a seven-year run in Shonen Jump earlier this year, is simply perfect for his reading bracket, but it really failed to gel with me. Detailing the reasons why the drama failed for me would be like kicking a Goosebumps book for not providing a really good resolution to its teenage wolfman story, or a Harry Potter book for any one of its tedious moments. This isn't intended for grown-ups.

The stories by Yoshiyuki Nishi reach their high points with the revelation of the horrific beast-of-the-week, a critter which will then be instantly and effortlessly dispatched by Muhyo. The art isn't at all appealing, although Nishi has a fine sense of pacing the horrific buildup to each episode's new monster. I won't be continuing with the series, although my son has expressed an interest in picking them up himself. Recommended for middle schoolers.

Continuing to work my way through the complete comic adventures of the Eighth Doctor, I was very pleased to reread this third volume, which starts with one of the best bait-and-switches that Doctor Who has ever pulled, when a new character who seems to be the obvious new companion pulls the twist that you should have seen coming, but then there's a follow-up to that which is still, after all this time, chuckle-inducing in its audaciousness.

"Oblivion" is a really good set of excellently-told stories, ably mixing plot threads from both the earlier comics and the original TV series and presenting a Doctor that we never got to know as well as we should have. And I tell you, if there's a finer Doctor Who moment than when the ghost of Frida Kahlo's father menaces the Doctor's companion, while he's in a graveyard with Diego Rivera on the Day of the Dead fighting aliens, I can't think of it. Highly recommended.

(Originally posted November 03, 2008 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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