Andrew Wheeler reviews Pinoy comic books

Review: Three dispatches from the Philippines
Snapshots from another world of comics
by Andrew Wheeler

Where Mr. Wheeler reviews ELMER: "Elmer isn’t perfect; some aspects of the story strain credulity – even after the reader accepts the initial premise – and Alanguilan can be melodramatic in spots. (Also, the dialogue avoids contractions nearly all the time, which can be distracting.) But his art is impeccably detailed, and he manages to wring a lot of facial expressions out of his chickens. And his storytelling is equally good; Alanguilan is a fine comics creator who’s essentially unknown over here. This is one damn good – if damn weird – story."

His comments on TRESE: "So Alexandra Trese’s exploits are more exciting than even those of another tough female investigator with a mysterious past would be, even more intriguing than another story illustrated by Ka-Jo Baldismo would be. And these two volumes are already very good urban fantasy to begin with.

"I won’t try to describe all of the stories here, but you know the general type – mysteries about the supernatural, with a heroine we slowly learn more about, a woman with a direct connection to these creatures herself…whatever the exact nature of that connection is. Tan tells those stories well, and Baldismo shows us that world, in black-and-white frames that look like a world illuminated by lightning."

And MARTIAL LAW BABIES: "...there’s a lot to like in Martial Law Babies; it’s warm and funny and engaging. The dialogue does drop into Tagalog more than I expected, though, and I have to say that there’s a small but real chance that I missed some important bits because they were in a language I don’t understand. And I’m pretty sure I don’t have anything like the understanding of what “martial law baby” implies that an actual Filipino would. My cultural blind spots aside, though, I really enjoyed Martial Law Babies, despite Alan’s monomania."

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