Some picks from the ComicList for Wednesday, March 26, 2008:
Do you need anyone else to tell you that Hiro Mashima’s Fairy Tail (Del Rey) is a very entertaining fantasy adventure? Probably not, but I’ll chime in with my agreement anyways. Mashima isn’t aiming exceptionally high here, offering unapologetically mainstream entertainment about quirky wizards and their comic quests. It’s a very good example of an increasingly crowded field of comics that offer storytelling that’s as amiable as it is accomplished. The characters are lively, the art is eye-catching, and the stories are fast-paced and varied.
I think it’s smart of Del Rey to introduce the series by releasing two volumes at once. Endearing as it is, it’s also fairly lightweight, so doubling the quantity available should help to cement it in readers’ affections to a degree that a single volume couldn’t, at the same time drawing more critical interest than the series might have enjoyed otherwise. As I said, there’s a lot of competition in the field of amiable, accomplished, mainstream entertainment, especially on the manga shelves.
So yes, there’s nothing wrong with a comic that only wants to entertain. Allow me to contradict that assertion by wondering if Eiji Otsuka and Sho-u Tajima’s MPD-Psycho (Dark Horse) has enough on its mind. Part of the reason I’m so fond of Otsuka’s The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is the writer’s ability to fold deeper issues into superficially engaging stories. Imaginative gore and varied psychoses aside, MPD-Psycho seems to be vamping along, and I’ve got the feeling that it’s really going to need some larger purpose to keep me from losing patience. Up to this point, it’s read like a collection of creepy grace notes (like barcodes on people’s eyeballs) in place of a driving, meaningful narrative.
Along with Charles Berberian, Philippe Dupuy has created the wonderfully entertaining Mr. Jean, star of Get a Life (Drawn & Quarterly), and Maybe Later, a nicely modulated look at their creative process. Drawn & Quarterly offers a solo work from Dupuy, Haunted, which sounds a lot less down-to-earth but very intriguing.
Villard offers a handsome paperback collection of David Petersen’s first Mouse Guard mini-series. In addition to the beautifully rendered, smartly told story of courageous rodents, there are plenty of extras that make the $17.95 price tag very reasonable.