rapid reviews

I apologize for the silence. The whole of May has just been exhausting.

Again if it got a rapid review it just means I don’t have a lot to say. I may still have liked it a lot.

Sixty Six (Russell Molina / Ian Sta. Maria) — This story has been getting well-deserved rave reviews elsewhere, for it hits very effectively on two levels. Senior citizen Celestino Cabal has resigned himself to his painful life, lovingly caring for his wife, slowly declining from Alzheimer’s. He’s starting to lose hope about his capability of going on doing this, especially when time is catching up to him, and his mildly-hidden super powers, as well. The combination of the well-paced story that mixes slice-of-life with the superhero genre, incredibly rendered by the Skyworld artist, makes this thing devastating in its simplicity.

Langit Lupa Impyerno 1: Night Riders (Fidelis Tan / Kiko Dans) — Dan missed the last usual jeeps for the night and finds himself flagging down and riding the most unusual jeepney ever, with the longest and strangest route: earth, heaven, and hell. Only this writer, well-familiar with the comic genre as well as speculative fiction, can pull this off without losing the seriousness nor miring itself in it. The great inking and paneling completes the package, improving on the believability of this premise, delivering the comedy in just the right amounts, at just the right moments.

Pineapple Secret (Power-J) — Maypine Sigjuan is an athletic diver, heiress to a Bukidnon pineapple plantation, and a pineapple connoisseur. All of these things make her the best person to find out about a small pineapple-smuggling operation under her father’s nose. Definitely it’s manga-style in its presentation, but what makes it likeable is that it’s thoroughly Pinoy in theme, characterization, and mindset. The story moves along in a way you’d expect a Pinoy to think, the characters react the way you expect most Pinoys to act. It helps its cause that it’s drawn well and paced well, some notches higher than several of its peers.

The Deadly Fists of Lucy Patweetums 1 and 2 (Julius Villanueva) — Lucy has moved to Stanford Lee Academy of Much Learning, hoping it would be her last move, hoping that her past would not come to haunt her. Tough luck, though, for on her first day of school the school fighters already test her skills as a kung-fu master. Lucy is one very spunky girl who doesn’t need a man, so cutie Cocoy Arcangel is seen as an equal and not as love interest….which is a cool change from the usual. Kung-fu movie references also abound, but this doesn’t descend into comedy without plot. Highly likeable concept and lead character aside, the series shows the Life In Progress author as capable in page-type paneling and art, showing more of his skill in detail work than tends to be shown otherwise.

The Lam-ang Experiment (Co /Ballesteros, Cruz, Layug, Magpantay) [CreaM] — There is no denying that much heart and soul (and Marcos money) went into this comic project. It shows in the art, the digital coloring, the high publication values. There is no denying that the scifi world-build for this series is quite good. But the problem with this work is intrinsic. None of the characters latch on to you, not even the main characters, nor the mascots. None of these characters, who should be Pinoy, feel sufficiently Pinoy. The pacing is a bit too dragged out, such that space battles occur for too many pages without moving the story forward. Finally I still feel almost none the wiser of the original Lam-ang legend than when I started. (Meaning, I’ve learned a thing or two about folklore characters from the Trese series and from the Mythspace set by how they are used in those comics. That did not happen to me here, even if they gave a quick summary.) I did learn about Ilocos delicacies from the final page, so it’s not a full letdown. The concept behind the project was very well-intentioned, but the execution in this one could be better.


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