Thursday, October 26, 2006

In Review of: Desolation Jones by Ellis and Williams

sorry to have been away for a bit. Was down in LA having a confab with my friend and writer, lis Fies aka Kid Sis in Hollywood, about Pistoleras and taking the kids to Disneyland. I should probably put together a whole blog entry on California Adventure Theme Park.

Founda few things to read however. Desolation Jones, a one off project by Warren Ellis and JH Williams the 3 fresh off his work for Promethea. A curious noir project that i picked up on the stands occassionally but never bought, I grabbed the trade a week or two ago and read it.

And didn't blog the review, because I wasn't sure what I thought of it entirely. Went back to it, read parts of it again, looked over the artwork. Had a sontinuing flirtation with saying something about it. Think that I've finally got it a bit down.

initially picked it up as I love William the 3's artwork. i have a Promethea double page splash on the wall behind me as I type this. Found myself warming to Ellis's characters on the way to the conclusion. Philip Marlowe, er, Jones is drawn into a family squabble that involves beatings, LA porn, shady doctors, ex-agents and 3 sisters of an old bastard of a man. We've seen this before, but Ellis makes it work, which is a huge trick honestly. We've seen this plot so many times, but there is nothing like the oldies but goodies, especially when it's played straight and done well.

William the 3's artwork is graphically inventive, and for all the intense illustrative conventions that he worked over in Alan Moore's service on Promethea, i somehow feel that he's having more fun here than in the other book. There is just a feel of someone with some serious chops being let loose. When he doesn't have to go over the top he doesn't, as in the beautifully understated three panels that I've scanned here. I appreciate that.

I realized that I had a hard time getting a handle on the series, as, in a six issue collection, I somehow thought that first 2 were very different than the last 4. Not sure why, but the depiction of Jones in those first two was almost Williams the 3 finding his feet, and then settling in for a good run on the later issues. Somewhere towards the end of 3 everything clicks and you're go to the end of the run.

Reading reminds me of working on The Grackle with Mike Baron and Paul Gulacy; we knew that we had a stand alone story, but if the damn thing sold than more were to come. the ex-cop (or spy), the odd collection of friends/hanger ons/accomplices, the political intrigue, the familial battles. good stuff. I still find people at conventions who loved the Grackle. It's one of the things that I'm most proud of having worked on. I wish that we had done more.

Push comes to shove, I really like this work, and I wasn't sure that I was going to. but it's forced me to go back and really get more out of it. Sure, I'm a sucker for this stuff, but there's more here than I first thought. And once the creators found their feet, I wish there was more coming, when I know there isn't.

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