On a more positive note…

March 11, 2008

this week’s Flipped is up, with me droning on at some length about the wonder that is Keiko Takemiya.

New feature: Save Your Money

March 11, 2008

In an effort to bring more (hopefully useful) negativity to the proceedings, here’s the first in a probably semi-regular feature, Save Your Money. In these inflationary, possibly recessionary times, it seems important to point to comics that aren’t really worth the expense.

I’m sad to report that this week’s superfluity is Switch (Viz), by naked ape (writer Saki Otoh and artist Tomomi Nakamura). Imagine if you took bits of DNA from 21 Jump Street, Wild Adapter and MPD Psycho, then fused them into an independent organism. Best comic ever, right? It sounds (and looks) a lot cooler than it actually is.

A pair of comely, youthful narcotics investigators track a new, high-grade speed. They encounter users, dealers, and jurisdictional conflict with rival cops. The younger and sweeter of the cops has an alternate personality that is considerably less sweet than his default state. His marginally more experienced partner wears glasses and smokes. Juicy as this all sounds, it doesn’t add up to much.

What the book really lacks is a point of view. It seems like more of a grab bag of stylish, saleable components than a coherent, distinct aesthetic or compelling narrative. The material begs to be taken over the top, but it never really goes there. The script is kind of disjoined, which can be effective in crime drama but isn’t here. The character designs all kind of blend together; it’s like the squad room is populated with catalog models.

Switch is probably far from the worst comic you might buy this week, but, given the bounty of excellent new arrivals, there’s no reason for you to settle. Use the money on gas or lottery tickets.

(I recognize that I could be unfairly holding Switch to the impossibly high bishie-narc standards of Wild Adapter. In the interest of fairness, if you’re still intrigued by Switch, I would be happy to send my copy, which arrived courtesy of Viz, to the first person who e-mails me at DavidPWelsh at Yahoo dot Com. It would be nice if the recipient posted their reaction to the book somewhere, and I’d be happy to host his or her comments here, but I won’t insist on it.)