Monday, March 28, 2011

Books I Read: Finals (Vertigo Resurrected)

This is a classic Vertigo miniseries by Will Pfeifer (HERO, Catwoman, Amazons Attack *cough*) and Jill Thompson (Sandman, Invisibles, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman), re-presented in DC's new "DC Presents/Vertigo Resurrected" 100 pages for $7.99 format. Somehow I missed this when it first came out, but I've heard good things about it in the years since and I'm happy to have the opportunity to read it now at a bargain price.

The story is set at a fictional university where everyone's senior project is an extreme version of their field of study: for example, the physics student is building a time machine, the religious studies major has started her own cult, and the criminal justice student is committing a series of ever more audacious crimes. The main character is a film student, which is appropriate for Pfeifer, a film buff who writes a movie blog for the Rockford Register Star. (Pfeifer's Film Freak arc in Catwoman is also fondly remembered.)

We follow the film student as he follows his friends, trying to find a theme that will suitably impress his senior project advisor. Things spin out of control, as you might expect, with highly entertaining results. It plays more like a screwball comedy than a satire, similar in tone to Gail Simone's "Welcome to Tranquility", although Pfeifer makes a heavy-handed point about the university system on the last page.

The great Jill Thompson is, like Stuart Immonen, one of those artists that adopts a different style for every project. Those expecting the elegant style she used for Sandman will be disappointed, but the "rough" style she uses here is perfect for the manic energy of the story. Despite my minor quibble about the ending, I really enjoyed this and I recommend it.

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