Yeah, that was one of the decisions he explained. It falls in quite an awkward place and it’s hard to find a way to chop it up.
40% off this if you order in the next couple of weeks…
Looks like this starts in around 1968 when Joe Orlando took over as editor. Which means it’s also the first appearances of Cain and Gregory, which you’d think FP would be highlighting in their blurb to attract all the Gaiman fanboys.
Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human Error Processor
So, this was one of the main Shirow works missing from my collection, it was published in Japan concurrently with Ghost in the Shell 2, but like most of Shirow’s 90s work didn’t get an English release until much later, at a point when I couldn’t afford to drop money on comics at all. And it got a rerelease a few months ago, which I hummed and hawed over becuase it didn’t match my copies of Shost in the Shell 1 and 2 (like a fool), and eventually I got a digital copy in a recent Humble Bundle.
While Ghost in the Shell 2 is so radically different to the original series that Shirow considered changing the name (Kokaku Kidotai, the Japanese title literally translates to Riot Armoured Police, Shirow considered changing the letter tai - which means military unit, to a homophonic one which means body - changing the title to “mobile-unit-body-entity”), this is far more in line with the original series.
Set some time after Major Kusanagi left Section 9 to merge with the Puppeteer, but before the events of Ghost in the Shell 2, the book is made up of 4 cases investigated by Section 9, primarily following Togusa in his new role as a lead investigator, mainly partnered with a new character, Azuma. Like the original series, each case is tied heavily into the cyberpunk mieliu. For example in the first storyTogusa and Azuma are trailing the odd behaviour of an aquantaince of Aramaki’s who they become increasingly convinced is dead and his corpse is being remote controlled.
The art style is Shirow’s traditional pen and ink with zipatone, with the rougher look evident in his other B&W comics of the day such as Dominion 2 and what little of Appleseed 5 was published before he dropped the project. It’s a stark contrast to GitS 2, which is full of lush computer colours, CG elements on the page and the other experimental methods detailed in Intron Depot 2, and a much stronger penmanship as a result. Which isn’t to say this art is bad, because it’s excellent. But it’s very interesting to contrast thse two concurrent works. Shirow’s work is always insanely detailed with a level of thought and complexity put into the world which makes it feel real even when the elements in it are often fantastic. As always there are copious footnotes explaining different elements of the world, artistic and design choices, and the various foibles of the creator.
Story-wise, it’s quite good, but not Shirow at the top of his game. There are leaps of logic at a few moments, or another character who the story hasn’t followed fills in vital information. it’s a bit frustrating, but for the most part the stories flow well, the dialogue moves between humour, technical jargon/exposition and pihlosphical musings and flows easily between these modes, and the action scenes are as excellent as always. I think it suffers from the same issue as most of Shirow’s late-era manga (this was the third-last work he completed, and he only commenced and completed one after this began, and it was illustrated by Koshi Rikudo), in that his heart doesn’t seem to be all the way in it. He was outgrowing the medium at the time, I think (and I say outgrowing, but I’m fully aware that he’s spent a significant chunk of the last two decades drawing porn), and it shows in this title in a way it doesn’t even in the unfinished Appleseed chapters.
Ebay has a PARTY20 code at the moment and Wordery is in the outlets you can apply the code to for 20% discount.
Starman Omnibus v4
I picked this up cheap from FP a few weeks back, but as it’s the first one I’ve bought in a while, I reread the earlier ones first. Getting to volume 3, I remembered why I lost momentum buying them - the series really loses momentum itself in that volume. I’m reading the series all for the first time in these HCs (apart from the first arc) and while I like that they’ve included everything, it makes for a disparate reading experience. The Times Past issues are natural breaks to the series’ rhythm already (much as I like them) but with the Shade mini, Showcase issues, annual etc, it’s all very disjointed.
And volume 4’s no better in that regard. The Shazam crossover doesn’t really work. It doesn’t seem like Robinson and Ordway co-plotted it very cohesively, so you get the first two issues basically covering the same plot points, and the whole story comes down to “Bulletman has an alibi he can’t use, until he does”.
Between all the Times Past stories (which are perfectly nice in and of themselves), the 80 page giant, the Mist one-shot and the Hellboy specials, there’s barely any continuation of the main series. Jack still hasn’t got into space yet (well, he just leaves here) and he was asked over a volume ago. It’s a weird getting to the end of a thick collection like this and feeling like not very much has happened.
There’s very little of Tony Harris here (which I assume is part of the reason for all the Times Past issues) but when he does provide art, it’s not at the same level as in earlier volumes. I’m interested to see what his replacement is like and how regularly they need fill-ins.
When I eventually get around to finding s cheap copy of volume 5, that is.
Robinson’s Starman started out strong, but started losing steam after the first couple of years.
It slumped a bit after issue #40 or so I think but it picked up again with the big arc Grand Guignol . I think Tony Harris is gone by that point but the new regular penciler Peter Snejbjerg is pretty good. (Albeit very different)
Yep. Definitely sags in the middle, but things pick up again when Snejbjerg comes on board.
I’d say Starman started out as a “A,” dropped to a “C” around the middle, and ended as a “B.”
Grand Guignol is a masterpiece, I agree.
For me it ends as an A minus. The last two arcs are very good.
Anyone know if Injection is coming back or is it another case of Ellis losing interest in it?
Two SpeedyHen preorders are now active:
Seven Soldiers Omnibus - £37.55
A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong OHC - £26.93
Thanks. For those who’ve read 1-15 how does it work as a set?
I didn’t love the first trade, but I couldn’t deny the work was technically great, I just didn’t latch on to it.
I feel like it gets better as it goes along. I liked the first arc, enjoyed the second one a bit more and the third was the best yet.
Yeah, I’ve liked the other arcs more, though I wish they’d do more to move the bigger arc along.
It’ll read better in one go I think; the deluxe edition should be worth checking out.
That’s why I’ve been asking - it’s looking to be a nice book, just trying to work out if it’s worth the gamble.
Amazon’s updated their Image listings up to April 2019. My hit list:
Eclipse Volume 3
Farmhand - “From one of the creators of Chew”
Rumble Volume 5
Hit-Girl Volume 3: Hit-Girl In Rome
Near Death Volume 3 - Didn’t expect this to get resurrected.
Dead Rabbit Volume 1 (Duggan and McCrea)
Kick-Ass Volume 2
Hit-Girl In Columbia
This was a great return to the character, with four issues of insane and wonderfully creative carnage.
I can’t say I really came to like Ortiz’ art, it’s a bit too sketchy a style but it told the story well enough. Looking forward to the next volumes of Canada and Rome.
Dastardly & Muttley
What the hell did I just read? This was six issues of a wholly demented tale.
What I most enjoyed is it truly felt like something different from Ennis, a madcap comedy of a style that he hasn’t really done before - with a very fitting ending and a lot of subtlety.
Glad you liked Dastardly and Muttley.
It was incredibly aces. The ending definitely stuck with me.