Sunday, May 4, 2014


Parts two and three of my four-part series about Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are up on PopMatters, looking at "Broken  City" and Spaceman, respectively. That continues to be a fun little project, and I think the final part will be particularly interesting to hammer out. Also, my newest "1987 And All That" column is over at CSBG, on Zatanna Special #1. It was not a great read but it had some nice ideas and really strong artwork so it ain't all bad.

Something I Failed to Mention
In the Risso/Azzarello pieces, I try to talk mostly about how each story is reflective of their collaborative voice. That's the goal, anyway, and as such I left out an observation I had about "Broken City" that didn't really fit with a discussion of that creative team's work in general. It's a small thing that's very specific to that story, and not something I've noticed them repeat. Still, it's a smart and cool enough move to merit attention. The entire narrative of "Broken City" centers on Batman's hunt for Angel Lupo, whom he believes is responsible for several murders. But Angel himself isn't even on-stage until the very end of the penultimate chapter, at which point he's promptly shot to death. And in his one and only scene, Angel's face is always obscured by heavy shadow, so that we never see the details. In other words, even though his name is essential to the plot, Angel isn't really a character, just an idea. He's a living MacGuffin, neither the first nor last of his kind, but handled very skillfully by both Risso and Azzarello. His presence permeates the story from start to finish, even after he's dead, so in that sense he's one of the best-developed members of the cast. We learn a lot about him, what he's like and what he cares about, but all of it comes secondhand. He never even gets to speak for himself. Azzarello and Risso manage to make Angel feel like a person but act as only a plot device, an impressive and effective balancing act. 

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