Sean Maher's Quality Control

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Pulse: Mrs. Jones and Me

Whew. Turned into a longer (shorter?) weekend than I expected. Didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. Ah, well – this week lies ahead. Expect reviews of the Kinetic trade (from DC's dead Focus line) and the upcoming Smoke And Guns (from the lively AiT/Planet Lar) up on Bookshelf Comics; I’ll let you know as they drop.

Today, I’m gonna talk briefly about The Pulse. I was a big fan of Alias when Bendis launched it under the Marvel MAX line – thought it was among his best stuff.

While I’ve been largely bummed out by the move to the “all ages” tag and the expanded cast of The Pulse, having really enjoyed the focus on Bendis’ first big contribution to the mainstream Marvel universe’s cast in Alias’ Jessica Jones, I got a couple of nice surprises in the recently released second trade collection of The Pulse, subtitled Secret War (which I can only assume ties into the quarterly mini-series of the same name, also penned by Bendis).

First: the focus here is squarely on Jessica. It’s her story, we see a lot of the growth and continuing difficulties the character has experienced over the last few years. It’s not quite as heavy as the Alias stuff, but the characterization is consistent and it’s fun to see her back in the spotlight in all her maladjusted glory. She's grown a bit, become less angsty, but it's still very much the character I love.

Second, the series picks up former Gotham Central artist Michael Lark halfway through the story, and it’s wonderful to see more of his stuff. I hadn’t realized how much I missed him on the excellent Batcops book, perhaps because replacement artists Stefano Gaudiano and Kano have been doing such an excellent job of filling his shoes. But it’s really nice to see him in action again, and his pages are dynamic and gorgeous. Colorist Pete Pantazis does fine work giving Lark’s layouts some good ol’ Marvel-style punch, compared to the dreary (though entirely appropriate) finish his work had on Gotham Central.

I mean, damn. That friggin' pops.

Contrary to my expectations, it’s not essential that the reader has followed the Secret War mini-series, though the proverbial Man Behind The Curtain isn’t revealed here. We’re given hints – and I hope I haven’t spoiled Secret War for myself by reading this – but it’s a self-contained story that satisfies, despite Bendis' usual anticlimactic ending. I’ll continue to pick this series up in trades.


Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from