I don't think I'm the target audience, there were non-stop references to weird stuff that I was seemingly supposed to know already. The green Robin Hood apparently died, unless that was a euphemism for something. Superman too. This was a bit of a stumbling block.
I picked this up because it's supposed to be a very serious, quality take on the DC universe. And I did find it to be slightly less silly than anticipated; the writing is better than I'd expected. But if this is as good as it gets, this will be my last book with Batman or Flash. I'm done.
The plot moves, the story continues to display strong internal logic, Moore's drawings are still wonderful. I keep waiting for Echo to stumble but it just keeps going strong.
I read the original Nightworld many years ago, and just today finished the new edition, heavily revised to punch up the role of his parallel-series Repairman Jack character. (There are a couple amusing allusions to how the author is now a little embarrassed by that name.)
As a horror novel, Nightworld works pretty well. Wilson has dreamed up some pretty creatively horrific monsters and a fairly badass fate for the world.
As a piece of writing, Nightworld doesn't fare quite so well. Wilson is no poet. When I read his earliest novels he felt to me like a much better writer. Either I was enjoying the stories so much that it skewed my perception of his talent, or they WERE better-written and he's just gotten lazy or sloppy as he's cranked out sequel after sequel over the last couple decades. (I noticed a similar phenomenon with Robert K Tanenbaums Butch-and-Marlene series...great early, awful now.)
The tiresome ending is ripped right out of Ghostbusters 2. I hated Ghostbusters 2. Nightworld is a serviceable wrap-up to the series but it's no great shakes.
Terrific follow-up to a terrific first volume. Moore is a master character-writer; everyone in the book just jumps off the page. Ivy's intuitive leaps, the homeless guy's madness, Julie's empathy, it's all totally believable.
Moore continues to do great things with black and white. And thank god he has abandoned the ridiculously cartoony surprise-expressions that ruined Strangers in Paradise for me. One shouldn't mix this much smarts and realism with Dagwood Bumstead art.
Freaks of the Heartland is a short book, a surprisingly quick read, with great big panels. The art is mostly gray and taupe, which is meant to evoke a kind of Great Depression era aesthetic, I think. It's beautiful at times--when setting the scene or showing panoramic views--but action shots and close-ups of people tend to look like big confusing smears.
The story, which is simultaneously heart warming and heart breaking, is where Freaks shines. It's minimalist, stripped down to the bare essentials; there's a lot more that could be told, but does it need to be? The ending is perfect and went a long way toward redeeming the confuzzling illustrations in my mind.