Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Maddrox - Trade Paperback

I love to listen to podcasts on my long commute to work. My favorite
podcast topic is comic books. Some time ago I listened to the Comicology
podcast with Neil Gorman, and listened in interest when on one episode
he raved about the X-Factor spinoff mini-series, Maddrox. I have learned
though that my taste, and that of Neil's often do not agree, and that's
not to say that he's wrong, just that we don't always agree. But when I
heard my friends Kwip, Happy Jack, and Dr. Sexy, of the N3RDcast also
raving about it and X-Factor, I decided that it was something I needed
to try. So I checked my local funnybook shop who didn't have it and
informed me it was sold out. During the little time I had for shopping
at the recent New York Comic Con I looked for it also, but to no avail.
And then this past weekend friends and I stopped at another comic shop
that still had a copy so I figured I'd better pick it up.

The Trade Edition collects the five issue mini-series that was the
lead-in to the current X-Factor series. It reads well as a trade, but
may have read just as well in its original monthly format.

Jamie Maddrox is the multiple man, and if his name doesn't explain it
all, he has the power to make duplicates of himself whenever he slams
part of his body against something. Jamie Maddrox has decided to open an
office as a private Investigator. He has sent duplicates of himself all
over the world to learn different things, and when they return, he
reabsorbs the duplicates and their knowledge. The mystery of the book
starts when one of the duplicates returns mortally wounded. Maddrox
decides to investigate. At the same time he takes on a case from a new
client. What are the chances that the two cases have nothing to do with
each other? Oh, and did I mention that Jamie is having trouble with his
duplicates? Seems each one retains only a part of his personality,
leaving some of the duplicates less than helpful. All in all the story
is pretty well written, and has a satisfying ending which leads into the
regular X-Factor series. Basically what you're getting is a mystery
story set in the world of mutants, so of course, mutants abound. Peter
David has fun with the Maddrox character and his duplicates and manages
to tell a fun story in the meantime. Keep your mind open and you should
be able to figure out some of, if not all of, the suprises. (I didn't,
and I kicked myself for not seeing one of them which was pretty obvious
in hindsight.!)

The art on the Maddrox series is pretty much a photorealistic style,
something I'm not overly fond of, but it tells the story well enough I
suppose. The one thing that bothers me though, and this is not the first
time I've noticed this, the artist tends to use shadow very strangely,
blotches of ink that I imagine are supposed to be shadow, but looks more
like the artist has a leaky pen! The good news is that he does his job,
telling the story, very well. Nothing fancy, just good solid

Using my friend James's criteria that he uses so well on his Podcast,
Comic Book Savant*, I would give the story a 6.5 and the art a 5.5,
which averages out to a 6 (or 'better than average').

Maddrox is a Marvel TPB written by Peter David, pencils by Pablo
Raimondi, and inks by Drew Hennessy.


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Saturday, April 07, 2007

'Dead Money'

Back in the early 80's Ace Science Fiction launched a series called 'the
New Ace Science Fiction Specials' which was a series, edited by Terry
Carr, that introduced new SF writers by publishing their first novels.
Among those writers were Pat Murphy, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Lucius
Shepard. While I sought out and read the whole series, Lucius Shepard's
first novel, 'Green Eyes' was the one that I most enjoyed. Not only does
Shepard tell a good story, but he's "got a way with words." His prose is
almost poetic as he sets the scene so vividly, you almost feel like
you're there. Strangely, 'Green Eyes' was the one that I was most
reluctant to read because it was touted as a new and unique version on
voodoo and zombies (or shouldi say, reanimated life?). But when I got
into the story I quickly realized that the description was way too
simplistic. Instead I got a well told, beuatifully written novel that
ends at breakneck speed! Needless to say, I've been picking up Shepard's
books ever since, his 'Life During Wartime' being probably his best to
date, and simply a masterpiece of prose.

But you can imagine my delight when I stopped in at Borders the other
day and found Shepard listed on the cover of the April/May issue of
Asimov's as a contributor, even more delighted to find he was listed as
having written a novella, and REALLY delighted to find that his story in
that issue, 'Dead Money', is prefaced by "returns to the eerie mileau of
his first novel Green Eyes." While I haven't quite finished the story, I
can tell you that there are several paragraphs in this story that I've
gone back and read so as to luxuriate in them. My gosh, what a great

If you've never had the pleasure of reading any of the work of Lucius
Shepard, I would recommend this 30th Issue of Asimov's magazine. Its got
stories by over a dozen top writers in the SF field including Gene Wolfe
(of whom I'm not a fan, but I have too many discriminating friends who
enjoy his work, for me to totally dismiss him. There's just something
I'm not seeing!)

Check it out, you'll be glad you did.

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