My Week In Comics: October 1, 2010

Ramen, cats, and the Rapture is keeping me busy this week! What have I gotten myself into? Read on to find out.

Taisho's back for another serving of zaniness in Neko Ramen vol. 2.: Curry is also Delicious. I was the literal definition of "ROFL" with the first volume, and I was excited to read what Taisho, the cat who cooks ramen, is up to this time. Here, Kenji Sonishi gives us some new gags like Taisho learning to cook curry (he sucks at it), making the ramen shop more handicapped accessible (at the expense of those who aren't), having a French chef as hired help (Non! Non!) and lots more.

Most of the book is in 4-koma format, but there are also full manga pages devoted to stories about Taisho's dad, the time Taisho joined a ramen-cook off for a spot in a department store, and other Taisho musings about his life as a ramen cook. The 4-panel gag strip format lends itself to some quick laughs, but Sonishi's comedic timing leads to some side-splitting scenes that will have you laughing a few pages after. I was reading this in the MRT yesterday and everyone thought I was crazy, manga in hand and keeping myself from bursting into tears laughing.

But I think Sonishi's strength lies in knowing what would make this book sell: d'awww-inducing cuteness turned all the way up to 11. He really knows how to touch a cat lover's nerve with his scribbly drawings of cats and other fauna. This is a freaking adorable book, no question about it.

This book may not be for everyone, what with all this talk about cute cats and ramen and curry, and I totally understand. But trust me, if you love cats and you love ramen, then there's plenty of them here in the funniest manga of the year, all years. This one's a 5 out of 5.

Artifacts #2 gives us the aftermath of Hope's abduction in the last issue. Her mom's rightfully pissed, and her dad's out to kill whoever's responsible. It's all well and good, until you realize said parents are the wielders of the Witchblade and the Darkness, respectively. You don't piss off two of the most powerful weapons in the Top Cow universe and expect to live!

Ron Marz serves up another set-up issue, this time with more Artifact bearers getting screentime. It's pretty newbie-friendly, with just enough info about the Artifacts to get you invested in the story. It helps that Marz writes these deadly, super-powered beings in a way that makes you sympathize with them; you really feel that Sarah Pezzini and Jackie Estacado will go to great lengths to rescue their daughter from the mysterious Big Bad.

It's fun to see most of the said Artifacts together in one panel, since I'm a sucker for 'collect the artifacts' kinds of stories like The Sixth Gun and Sojourn. It helps that artist Michael Broussard's gritty and stylized art really sets the tone for the issue. Broussard makes Tom Judge's demonic form look so badass that I can't wait to see it in action soon! Though I do take issue with the fact that you lose a little bit of storytelling clarity in all the grittiness, and I question Broussard's choice of angles in some panels, with characters appearing out of nowhere or important scenes not getting the close-ups they deserve.

Artifacts #2 whets your appetite for more, but just enough. With me already dead set on seeing this through to the end, it's pretty slow moving. But for people jumping into the Top Cow universe through this event, it has everything you need to keep you coming back. This one's a 4 out of 5.

It's a great week in comics for me! What about you? Agree? Disagree? Want to suggest other books to try? Hit me up in the comments and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

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