March 30th, 2010


reviews: ooh-la-la (max in love; the middleman; book of imaginary beasts, vol. 3

Ooh-La-La (Max In Love) was given to me when I was little, and I've always found the interaction between the artwork and the text fascinating. The way in which the author plays with language is somewhat like a more sophisticated Dr. Seuss, minus the crazy invented words and plus a bit of French for fun (it's set in Paris). I don't usually like this kind of art, but in the context it's perfect: surreal alternate world, where dogs are poets and monkeys are fashion designers and all things are slightly less fixed then they are here. The story turns out to really be two, and the whole thing is just plain charming, even the formatting of the technical, legal information on the front and back pages.

I've been hearing about The Middleman all over the place and always meant to track it down, but didn't until a friend loaned me the box set--at which point I watched it all between 7:30 pm Friday and 1:30 pm Saturday, including the lost last episode, which can be found on youtube (pity the sound quality isn't better). It's pretty much exactly what's promised: frothy fun that plays with just about every sci-fi/comic book convention in some way. It's sort of a mashup of MIB and Due South, but with robots and photogenic, optimistic young artists thrown in. The Middleman is much like Benton Fraser, but with a raygun and a cranky android/computer instead of stetson & deaf half-wolf, and while a big part of the fun with Due South is seeing how far reality gets bent around Fraser, with the Middleman it's just plain broken, with marvelously ridiculous results.

The theme for volume 3 of imaginarybeasts is cyberpunk, which isn't my thing at all, so I wasn't expecting to find much to interest me--but I did! (In some cases, almost against my will.)
Imperfect is creepy, depressing, and sucks you right in anyway. I'd like to know more about the future it's set in, and how things wound up that way.
How the Light is pretty much The Matrix (there's even a reference) where everything's gone completely and unfixably wrong.
Character Shield plays with the idea of online personae and what that could turn into--I liked the ending very much, although it's not exactly a happy one (as per the genre).
And finally, something that's just plain crazy fun: Dragonvirus. I think I'd need to reread it a couple of times to nail down all the plot points, but the banter is enjoyable even without a clue of what's going on. Premise: PIs in a world that's largely (but not entirely) digital.