Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Daily Bugle

A black and white mini series... from Marvel? It blew my mind just as much as it must be blowing yours right now. In all of my experience reading Marvel comics, this is the first mini series that I've seen from them in black and white. There may be others out there somewhere, but I've never ran across them. Marvel went out on a limb in more ways than just the black and white art. This is also a story that's focusing on the reporters of the Daily Bugle, not exactly characters that would come off as a strong sell in my book. Thankfully whatever risks Marvel took on this book paid off.

I've never read Alias, but I'm sure this could be seen as the precursor to that series since it's focus was on reporting (at least that's the vibe I got from what I've read about it). The story here gets off on rocky footing since it doesn't know exactly what it wants to do. Part of the story is one of the editors at the Bugle giving you, the reader, a tour of the place while the other part of the story focuses on a reporter and photographer who are out putting together a story on some small time gangsters looking to cut into the Kingpin's grip on the city's crime network.

Thankfully the editor walking you through the Bugle ends up getting phased out in favor of the actual meat of the story--a conspiracy involving some small time gansters, a chain of restaurants, and a drive-by shooting that kills the head chef of the restaurant chain. While all of the pieces are being put together you will see it happening through the eyes of various reporters, photographers, editors, and even Peter Parker himself.

The story, once it gets going, will keep you flipping through the pages to see if your theories about the mystery are correct, which they probably are since the relationships that lead to the revelations in the last issue are pretty clearly telegraphed throughout, but it's still fun to read a decent mystery every now and again, especially if it's set in the Marvel Universe. I can get superheroes beating the snot out of supervillains any day, but seeing the down-to-earth section of the Marvel Universe, well, that's special.

The art, the art, I almost forgot! It's actually very good, taking on a realistic tone that isn't too ultra realistic, but how ultra realistic can you get using two colors? Well, probably pretty close, but that's beside the point. I seriously wish Marvel would experiment more with black and white art, or even grayscale on ocassion because this series shows it is doable and can be done very well.

You can probably get this little mini on the cheap at your local comic shop or from an online retailor and I would seriously recommend giving it a shot. If anything, read it just to see something different in a Marvel title.

Art: 3.5
Story: 4
Overall: 3.75

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