Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Charmed Season 9 Issue 3 'Innocents Lost' Review

Okay, I know it’s taken me a long time to get around to reviewing Charmed Season Nine #3 ‘Innocents Lost’ but to be fair it took me nowhere nearly as long to review it as it did for the book itself to actually be published. This book was delayed for quite some time which is a huge problem in general but when you think about things like how Angel Season 6 has put out 30+ issues and Buffy Season 8 has put out 38 issues, 3 specials and the 39th and final issue of Season 8will be out in like 2-3 weeks. So lets look at this… Buffy Season 8 is a total of 42 issues and has only slipped ONE TIME (which almost is a nod to the fans when you think about it that it slipped on the Fray storyline and that book when it came out before had a massive amount of delays) and yet Charmed is only on it’s 3rd issue – 4th if you count ‘The Book of Shadows’/Sourcebook and this is a monthly book that started in June/July 2010 and here we sit in December 2010 and we’re only on issue 3! So that’s 3 months worth of delays for a monthly book. I guess that part of the delay has to deal with the fact that the interior artist has decided to leave the book because of salary disputes. Again that’s kind of an unintentional nod to the history of the series when you think about it considering there were multiple cast changes and controversial departures of major characters.

While I’m talking about the artist I might as well talk about the art. While I was sad when Shannen Doherty left I’m going to be honest and say I’m glad that Dave Hoover is leaving the book. There’s nothing wrong with his art but I don’t like it. My big problem isn’t really the likenesses (he only really consistently nails Holly Marie Combs and has gotten better with Rose) because the Buffy book has the quirks and character traits that the likenesses don’t have to be 100%) but the fact that it’s too posed and the sisters have moments of pinup-ness that doesn’t really work. I know as the series progressed and gave into gimmicks, and camp that the style and look of the sisters became more sexualized but I hate when a comic book is that way. The picture I took (excuse the blurriness I took it with my phone) is the perfect example. The girls are ready to go fight evil… but I dare you to try to stand the way Phoebe is posed and not fall flat on your face.

Not to rag on the art too much but when you factor in the delays of the book it’s a huge letdown especially when the cover art for the books are so much better than the interiors. I’d rather the book be bi-monthly if I can get the cover artists working on the interiors of the book.

The story is really good and we finally get to see Henry which is nice because he’s the only one of the sister’s husbands that hadn’t been seen yet. Plus we find out that Darryl lives on the East Coast and that given the fact that Paige orbs Billie (who now lives in LA) off panel to ensure that nothing happens to Darryl’s family. While we don’t see Billie or Daryl we get to see Henry, Tyler Michaels (the firestarter child that appeared in season 4’s ‘Lost and Bound’ and we see (confirmed by the writers) Max Franklin who first appeared in season 1’s ‘Secrets and Guys.’ It’s nice to see little nods to the history of the show here, plus we get another little surprise – a cropped image of Shannen Doherty appears on the special chase version of the cover for this issue.

I could have dealt without the subplot of Phoebe doing a publicity stunt for her column where she marries a group of engaged couples – but honestly that’s classic Charmed, right down to the fact that she marries a cursed/reincarnated version of Romeo and Juliet who have been blessed/doomed to continue to marry each other over and over. I actually want to find out if being married by a Charmed One breaks the curse of having to relive their lives over and over. We do get some headway in the main plot of Neena and Hogan and learn that they are trying to bring back the Source of All Evil. Again this is classic Charmed but he’s been vanquished like 4-5 times now and I really don’t want to take that ride one more time. I really just hope that it stays as a generic Source instead of bringing back Cole (another plot I’m tired of) I guess it won’t be too bad. We do see some new things – Paige now has the ability to create an ‘orb’ based shield and Phoebe has her premonitions, levitation and now her empathy powers back – also the odd little thing is Piper’s molecular combustion power gives a rather odd sound effect ‘shzam’ – it’s really hard when I read it not to automatically assume it’s ‘Shazam.’

Rating: B
The plot was better than last issue, but the art was worse plus the multiple delays in publication make it very hard to rate this fairly.

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