Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Comic Book Report: Alias Vol. 1

Comics legend Brian Michael Bendis does noir. This was the first title published under Marvel's "R-rated" MAX imprint, and the very first word of the book is "FUCK!" Which sets the tone pretty well--the heroine is a world-weary private detective (is there any other kind in fiction?) who also happens to be a former superhero. Hijinks ensue.

Anyway, being Bendis, of course it's good, though I wouldn't call it great. It's a stew of hard-boiled genre tropes lightly seasoned with references to and guest appearances by big-names Marvel heroes. There's a lot of dialogue, but it rarely feels talky, which is something of a triumph in itself.

My biggest quibble is with the cover art--sure, it's well-done, but it feels a bit too Sandman for this subject matter. Sorry, guys, but Dave McKean didn't just steal your thunder, he's got that lightning bottled up like Kandor. (And yes, I am being ironic by using a DC reference.)

Buy the book: Powell's, Amazon (affiliate links)



Unknown said...

Alias was a book I really liked. I think you're review is right on, but it's the first one I read by Bendis, and the approach was so fresh it was easy to overlook any shortcomings. Also give kudos to Marvel for making this the MAX launch book - sure Bendis wasn't much of a risk, but a 'super-hero' comic that never featured a costume (and a character-driven book at that) was something of a (fuckin') risk ;-)

CKL said...

The first Bendis book I ever read was Fortune and Glory: A True Hollywood Comic Book Story, from back when he still wanted to be an artist. (Can't remember who recommended it, but they were right.) Marvel is publishing a new, full-color, hardcover "deluxe" edition later this year.