Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Pull List (5-19-09): Jeff Parker gets all my money

It looks as if it's going to a small week this time around, and it would be even smaller if it wasn't for Jeff Parker.

Parker is one of my favorite comic book writers at the moment, and it has a lot to do with his obvious love — and understanding — of the old-school comic story. Unfailingly fun and clever, Parker's writing style is breezy without being light, never cheating the reader by taking shortcuts or chintzing on character development. Parker's name in the credits is almost guaranteed to sell me some comics.

A case in point is this week's Mysterius: The Unfathomable #5 (of 6), a title I've been criminally quiet about. Let's chalk that up to me assuming everyone realizes this is some great stuff, OK? First of all there's Parker's scripting, which introduces us to a stage magician with a cryptic — and apparently deep — past who also happens to be an actual sorcerer doing magical detective work on the side. Mysterius' shadowy history is only just being discovered by his assistant, the latest in a long line of women the mage invariably renames Delfi. It may sound a little familiar (John Constantine, another roguish sorcerer, comes to mind) but Mysterius has it's own voice, and it's pretty damn convincing.

Just as important as Parker's writing is the artwork by Tom Fowler. You might recognize Fowler from the art he's done for Mad, and that signature style works extremely well for this title. Rubbery-but-realistic characters inhabit a beautifully rendered and detailed world, and the balance between ordinary and fantastic suits the story being told perfectly. There's a real organic feel to the art in Mysterius, and it fits scenes happening in a city park as well as the ones taking place in some Outer Dimension. I really can't imagine anyone else drawing this comic.

This is the next-to-last issue of a six-issue run, and I'm hoping there will either be a regular series in the Mysterius future, or more mini-series to come. Normally I wouldn't recommend picking up a title this far into it's limited run, but I don't know if there will be a trade collection someday (hopefully there will be) and I can say that Mysterius: The Unfathomable is worth the trouble of digging through back issue bins. Be sure to pick this one up (and while you're at it, you can check out a couple of preview here and here).

OK, now that I've got that gushing out of the way, here's what else I'm getting this week:

Agents of Atlas #5 (Vol. 2)

Captain America #50

I told you it was a small week! What's on your list?