This post inaugurates a new feature here on the blog: 50/50! What is this 50/50 of which you speak, you ask? Well, simple. I go to my LCBS. I randomly pull a comic from the 50-cent box; I ask my friendly neighborhood retailer (Hi, Ed!) to do the same. Then I buy the two books for a mere dollar and they beat the shit out of each other here in the blog. Nifty, huh? And awaaaay we go!
This week, the 50/50 Deathmatch is all-Image, as Hazard #4 (August 1996) goes head to head with City of Silence #3 (July 2000). Let's take a look, shall we?
Hazard (my pick): a bland, unimpressive cover, a cop holding a gun to a woman's head in the foreground while a dark, leather-clad type comes toward him from the background. You know what, just go ahead and shoot her. I don't much care. This all seems to be happening under a pier. Very Baywatch.
City of Silence (Ed's pick): very design-oriented, large black bars letterboxing an image of a dreadlocked man thrusting his tattooed hands toward the reader. Nice-looking cover, though perhaps a slightly tighter logo would help clean this up a bit. The back cover gets a treatment too, with some crazy-making folks lookin' all bad-ass against a wild cityscape.
Round One: Hazard - 0; City of Silence - 1
Hazard: Oooo...nanotech (very 1990s), angsty hero, some sort of mob angle, a villainous couple aiming to make our hero their last project before they retire to California, and some OK hard-boiled dialogue. All of this is apparently linked somehow to the Wildstorm Universe, though I only got that from reading the letters page. And the recap for new readers is at the top of said letters page. At the back of the book. Thanks. All in all, a big mess o' mediocre, brought to you by Jeff Mariotte (Story) and Roy Allan Martinez (Pencils -- substandard mid-90s Image with a touch here and there of Berni Wrightson, though this may be due to Gerry Alanguilan's inks).
City of Silence: Dark future, cyberpunk, sex scene right off the bat, technomagick, Russian cannibal military werewolves?! What the hell? Who wrote--oh, Warren Ellis. Never mind. Actually, this was a really engaging story and, for being the third part of three, pretty easy to pick up on. Nice art from Gary Erskine, though D'israeli's ultra-limited color pallette doesn't do a whole lot for me. Another fun one from Mr. Ellis; nothing Earth-shattering, but fun nonetheless.
Round Two: Hazard - 0; City of Silence: - 2
KNOCKOUT! City of Silence easily walks away with this one. Good on ya, Warren. (And way to go, Ed!)
(P.S. Wikipedia tells me that City of Silence was initially meant to be an Epic publication called Silencers, but when Epic folded in the mid-90s, Silencers went with it. Until Image came along and rescued the project from obscurity.)