Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mike Carey's One-Sided Bargains

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Mike Perkins and PJ Holden

This prestige format collection of three pieces that Mike Carey once published through Caliber came out in 2006, but I saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, with a nice $1 price tag.

I've been admiring Carey more and more over the last few years.  His Lucifer was brilliant, as is his Unwritten. I even found myself enjoying his long run on X-Men, although not always to the same degree. Anyway, this book has three parts to it.

Doctor Faustus, drawn by Mike Perkins, is a retelling of the classic story of the Professor who made a deal with the Devil to gain knowledge.  In Carey's vision, the story is told through the testimony of Faustus's young servant, who had great love for the man.  Carey incorporates modern understandings of astrophysics into the story, and it is amusing to watch someone from a distant time try to understand such new concepts.  It's a very well-told, and well-illustrated story.

The second story, Suicide Kings, drawn by PJ Harvey, concerns very similar circumstances.  A group of meat packers who play cards regularly are irritated by the fact that one of their number always wins.  He strikes them as a bit of a religious freak, so they come up with a practical joke which involves an actor dressing up as the devil and playing for the man's soul.  This is a very effective horror story.

The final story in this book is a bit of prose (with a spot illustration by Michael Gaydos) about a book reviewer who becomes the target of a writer whose work he panned.  This eventually leads to gigantic Arcade in Murderworld-style deathtraps.  It's good stuff.

No comments: