Sunday, December 31, 2006
Well, apparently, #20 has been rescheduled to be released on February 7th, so I guess we're back to it being bimonthly. I hope Whedon can get the story finished so that we won't lose track of the tale between issues, but one never knows these days.
Just in case you were wondering, this is not a continuation from last issue. Last issue was actually good. This is a continuation from issue #11. That issue was CRAP too. There are so very many gaffes in this issue, it's truly shocking. But I'll just name two.
1) Wonder Girl's lasso does not have truth power - it has lightning/electricity power granted her by Ares.
2) I just reread issue #11 and saw nothing therein to indicate that Grace had broken her arm. Especially not to the extent that not only does she need a cast, but she needs a huge honking piece of machinery to immobilize it!
3) I know, but seriously, I couldn't ignore this one: Grace is pissed off at Supergirl because she refused to kill! What???
CRAP CRAP CRAPPITY CRAP CRAP CRAP.
Friday, December 29, 2006
This is truly the epitome of CRAP. At least Bruce Jones bases this issue entirely in one dimension, whatever the hell that means. But what in the world does "remote viewing" have to do with anything? And does BJ even know what the phrase means? Because there certainly haven't been any obvious examples of it in the series so far. This book couldn't be any more unclear, and I've got a very strong feeling that even the artist hasn't got a clue what's going on. Because sometimes panels that come in sequence don't seem to be immediately sequential. What's that all about? This title is AWFUL, and I'm officially stopping reading it. In fact, unless I hear great things about it, I'm never going to read another Bruce Jones comic ever again.
Brubaker's obviously got some big plans for expanding Iron Fist's mythology. In this issue he introduces the concept that only one individual can use the Iron Fist technique at any given time. When Danny's father uses it, Danny experiences intense pain in his hand.
Brubaker also gives us a nice cameo by the Night Nurse (who comes out against Registration), and a nice guest appearance by Luke Cage, who hasn't really hung out with Danny much lately, what with all the New Avengers crap, and it's nice to see two best friends reconnect. GOOD.
Joss puts us back on track here. Doesn't it seem like everyone is doing outer space stories nowadays? Anyways, it's has become clear why Astonishing was bimonthly for so long: Whedon was trying to get enough completed issues in the pipeline, so that when the action ramped up we wouldn't be waiting two months between issues and lose track of the story. And the story here seems to be a very good one. I'm still not clear on Danger's role in all of this, but it's clear that Whedon had a plan in mind for Ord from the moment he first introduced him. And finally, the dialogue in this issue is what I expect from Whedon - something that he hasn't really delivered on in the last few issues. In fact, if you'll check out the post above, I'm awarding him with this week's Quote of the Week! A VERY GOOD issue. The last couple of pages are classic Whedon.
Finally, Way gives us a good issue. And it's very, VERY GOOD. This issue deals mostly with Wolverine's early history with the Black Widow. Where and how they met, and how their relationship developed to the point of quasi-family. That's what this series should be about. Wolverine's history! I hate issues where we might get maybe four pages of flashbacks with no continuity reference. Here is what we've been waiting for. And Dillon's Widow is excellent. If Way can make every issue just like this one, then I will definitely look forward to this title on a monthly basis.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
This issue finally puts to rest all the controversy surrounding the OYL break. Did Selina kill Black Mask? Yes. Was it justified? Absolutely. Who is the father? Sam. Oh, and by the way, he died taking out Black Mask's #1 man. Did Slam know? Yes. How? Come on, he's a detective, for christ's sake. He's the original reason Detective Comics was named "Detective Comics"! Did Holly know? No. Did anyone else? Nobody living. How did the connection happen? Answered. Finally, now that we're done with Film Freak, (aka Grant Morrison) we can finally get back to Will P. telling GOOD emotional stories.
"What the hell? Jesus christ!" That was my exact reaction to reading the last page of this book. I wanted to use some other choice words, but my wife is in the next room. Needless to say, I am NOT going to spoil this one for you. Another VERY GOOD issue, with lots of exposition from the Manns, wherein another possible cause for the eradication of males is revealed, and a fight between Toyota and 355. If you don't read this monthly, you should at least be reading it in the trades, (as I was, until it got to be too long since my last fix and I just read all the most recent issues).
Friday, December 22, 2006
EH. Carol Danvers from our reality fights Carol Danvers from another reality. Woo hoo. We've seen this so many many times over the years it's gotten tired. Oh, and Adrian Watts gets letters published in three different books in the same week. (The others are She Hulk #14 and FNSM#15.) WTG Adrian!
The origin story for Kid Devil. Johns kind of works him in to the original stories on the sidelines. Like, he joined up with Young Justice, but they disbanded a few weeks later. Whatever. It's sort of contrived. Still, it's one of the better Neron stories I've ever read - which of course, isn't saying much. Still, it's OKAY. Time to move on, though.
Well, we all knew it was coming, right? Only a matter of time. It was only a question of how they did it - or undid it as the case may be. But here you have it, fanboys and girls, your good old friend Clint is back! And while we're at it, let's bring the Scarlet Witch back as well. And heck, even Agatha Harkness for good measure - why not?
Too cynical? Sorry.
At least amidst all the justified griping about Millar and Straczynski raping the Marvel Universe, this little nugget of information caught me unawares. Sure, the next issue caption, front cover, and first page gave away most of the secret, but not all of it. So kudos to those in the know for keeping it under wraps as long as they did.
And since we all knew they were going to do this eventually, it might as well be done well, no? And to make it work properly, Bendis jettisons the entire cast of this book, and replaces them all with Doctor Strange. Well characterized too. Not only that, but he gets all Daredevil on us, and brings Alex Maleev back to work with him. I missed his work.
So, cynicism aside, this is a VERY GOOD story. Sure, it adds another few entries to the wikipedia article on comic book death, but at least it does it well. Perhaps even better than Joss Whedon did with Colossus. I look forward to the next issue of this title once again - for the first time in several months.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
And while we're on the subject of titles I don't read, here's another one! I'm upset that I never read this title before (except for the odd crossover issues - which really weren't very good). Now I've got 100+ issues to make up. I should've known, seeing as how I usually enjoy Fabian Nicieza's writing. So, again, I read this issue by itself - without having read anything before it, and, while it's not nearly as good as Busiek's Aquaman, it's OKAY. Even though I know nearly nothing about any of the cast members. And that should just show how good the writing actually is - to be able to take obscure characters, and craft a story with them...my only complaint is that there's too little background given on any of the characters, even on the recap page. But that's my fault, for not having given this series a shot earlier. Now that Nicieza's leaving, and Warren Ellis is coming on, I suppose it's time to start reading this title. I really like Ellis' other work, like Fell, Nextwave, etc., so I'll probably like his stint on Thunderbolts as well.
Now to get Nicieza back together with Busiek...
Well, if you were wondering why I've never reviewed an issue of this title post OYL, there's a very good reason...I haven't read any. Not that I don't want to, mind you, it's just that I'm trying to catch up with the series first. Right now I'm at the beginning of Pfifer's run. But just for kicks, I opened this issue up, just to see what it was like - and I couldn't put it down. It's not that anything much happens in it, it's just that the writing is just flat out excellent. Which makes for a VERY GOOD story. Even when said story isn't intended to be a standalone issue, it works well as such. That's good writing. I am now looking forward to getting to these OYL issues so very much more.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Damn, that's it? And who knows when the next issue will be out! This one was dated November 2006...does that mean that it's one month late, or three months late? I have no way of knowing. Suffice it to say, it's late. Now, I tend to give Ryall a bit of slack when it comes to his books, because god knows he's got a lot on his plate, and deservedly so. So I'll late the lateness slide. But come on, if a book is going to be released this infrequently, at least give it a few additional pages.
Anyways, we have here an auspiciously GOOD start to what seems to be another good story from Peter David. I really do like his books. He is such a consistently good writer, that even his crap smells like roses, compared to most other writers at least.
However, the title of this arc is "The Long, Slow Seduction of Jude", so I really hope that the title isn't implying a six or twelve issue story, because if so, who knows how long it'll take to finish?
Sunday, December 17, 2006
An OKAY issue. Not up to the standards I expect, yet compared to most issues of this title, OKAY is saying a lot.
I found it odd for most of this issue that the Perfect Accomplished Physician, who's obviously in tight with the Tibetans, should work for the Chinese. It's not so much explained as such, rather the dialogue alludes to him having made some sort of compromise regarding his ideals, for the sake of the greater good. But a little more exposition would have been nice - blame Morrison for its lack.
Also, I found it interesting that the PAP did not view Ralph's presence in Nanda Parbat as a violation of the superhuman whatever treaty, as the GL's presence in Russia were several months ago. Perhaps this comes to show us that although the PAP works for the Chinese, he still views Tibet as a separate entity, regardless of the politics of the region.
And on page 19, it says "Hey a Neal Adams Effect", in reference to Neal Adams "Hey a Jim Steranko Effect" from Strange Adventures #216. Thanks to Douglas Wolk for the reference.
I'm a fan of Gail Simone. How could I not be? She started out as a blogger! Competent posting requires a deft touch with dialogue and vocabulary, and, at least here, Gail shows that she's definitely got it. I already read Birds of Prey excitedly every month, and I can assure you all that I will definitely be adding Welcome to Tranquility to my pull list.
Think Top 10, but without the grit. That's this most EXCELLENT book. I look forward to it next month, as Gail is known, for, among other things, always getting her books out on time. Let's hope that tradition continues with this cute little title.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wherein Robin rescues Teekl from a tree, takes him home, tries to find his home, and protects him from a giant Chimera type beast known (according to the next issue box) as the Judgement Beast. Oh, and Klarion turns up on the last page, which is really the point of this posting.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't Robin and Klarion met before? Specifically when Klarion turned the Justice Leaguers into kids, and Young Justice into adults? I was willing to overlook the fact that Morrison's Klarion story was basically an origin story, as none of the Seven Soldiers books seemed to really make any definitive chronological references. But this? This is ridiculous. Is Beechen just not aware that Klarion had a history before Seven Soldiers? Or does he just not care?
Klarion aside, this issue was OKAY. Robin has to deal with not telling his tutor that he was okay following the "kidnapping", and has to deal with Teekl as well. Mostly, he has to deal with Teekl - who actually seems to take a liking to him. I'll read the next issue to find out how the story develops.
I haven't really been enjoying this series much, mostly because it seems very poorly thought out. This issue is no exception. In this issue, Guggenheim presents us with some very intriguing questions (and their respective answers), questions that we may have never thought to ask, but intriguing nonetheless. Unfortunately, so much time is wasted "obsessing the details", that Marc forgets to concentrate on the largest detail of all - giving us a proper story.
It's interesting to learn how Blade supports himself. However, if said support comes from what would otherwise be referred to as burglary, wouldn't he have the sense to cover his tracks? Wear gloves, or some such detail? Not much obsession to detail there, eh, Marc?
Likewise, it's interesting to note that many of the vampires that Blade dispatches have actual identities, and are missed (though by whom, I couldn't say), when they're dusted. So, again, wouldn't it just be prudent to wear gloves?!!! And perhaps to check for the presence of witnesses first?
Still, this could have been an okay story, if the ending hadn't been such a cop out. I realize that it can't extend longer than 22 pages, primarily since Guggenheim seems to be focused on keeping each issue independent of those previous. Still, this independance, while commendable, should not have to come at the expense of what might otherwise have been a good story.
Still, I enjoyed it somewhat, which rescues this issue from the domain of CRAP, but only barely, so I would have to rate it at sub-EH.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
So everything the Outsiders did since the beginning of the series was planned by Dr. Sivana? If you say so, Mr. Winick. Nearly four years of this series, which at times has been good, yet at other times, very, very bad, and this is all we get? Sivana monologues to the Outsiders, then cures them, so Katana unleashes Sabbac from her sword to destroy his plans, and all Sivana can say is that he's "proud of them"? Really? That's it? That is so unbelievably ASS. Sorry, there's just no way around it: ASS, ASS, ASS, ASS, ASS.
Remember James Robinson's Starman? How at the end, it was obvious that the entire series sixty plus issues and several crossovers had been scripted from day one towards a single goal? How on rereading it, everything made sense? And it was sastisfying! Well, sorry, but going back to the beginning of this series, I really, really, don't see that Winick planned for this...or at least he definitely didn't have the decency to drop us the occasional hint. And if we couldn't figure it out, and now he tries to say, "ha, I fooled you all!", well, then his sentiment is truly a hollow one, isn't it. Had we been given the clues and still not tumbled to his plan that would have been another matter entirely. But as it is, ASS. Not to mention that the timeline for all of this is off: since Villains United happened following Countdown (or so we've been led to believe), how is it possible that Sivana had joined the society before this series even started? It truly seems like an afterthought on Winick's part. God, why do I keep torturing myself by reading this, even when it sucks?
Monday, December 11, 2006
Um...so, haven't I read this before? It's almost exactly like Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns", except with Spider-Man. Even the internal monologue sounds like Frank Miller. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you, DKR was some of the most excellent writing ever to appear in comic book format. And Peter Parker does seem to be in his eighties here. It's just, well, it seems like a rerun...watched many years later - when you remember the basic plot, but the details have since slipped your mind. That's exactly how this seems.
Not to be picky, but I haven't seen anywhere - except in the pages of Transmetropolitan - where an elected official has the right to postpone elections specifically because "he's working on something". Not in this country, at least - in some African and Middle Eastern regimes, it happens all the time. So, um, yeah.
Also, since it's obvious that Peter is the main character here, why try to hide that fact from us? Why doesn't his spider-sense go off when he's in danger? And seriously, how crappy a florist must he be to get the order wrong when his job depends on it? And is Mary Jane alive? Or is she preserved there like Norman Bates' mother?
I was going to say this is OKAY, but it just keeps getting worse on further reflection. I'm still somewhat intrigued, so I guess I'll at least read the next issue, but this one gets an EH.
Friday, December 08, 2006
As I've neglected to update this site regularly in the past few months, this feature has fallen by the wayside. Either that, or nothing really stood out. Well, this week, we've got two standouts! The first comes from Supergirl #12:
Sure, it's a bit out of context, but it's still funny.
Next we have Dwayne McDuffie's dialogue from Beyond! #6, which, so far, has proven to be the most welcome surprise of the week. But in this case, there's just too much good stuff to go posting all of it. Buy it, read it, enjoy it.
The Irredeemable Ant-Man #3
Say what you will, I really like this series. The "protagonist" is just such...an...@$$HOLE! It's kind of refreshing. This book makes no pretentions whatsoever. It announces on the cover that he's the "world's most UNLIKABLE super hero", and he certainly is...
In this issue, Eric mooches off his dead best friend's parents for all he can, tries to come on to the girlfriend of his dead best friend, tries to have sex with said girlfriend on her dead lover's fresh grave (then wonders why he couldn't score), tries to have sex with a girl he just met, invades the apartment of this girl he just met, sits on top of the shower to watch her naked...he's such a little creep! Oh, and while using this stolen suit he punches through an artery in some guy's neck...and only cares that he got drenched in blood.
So he did possibly save Nick Fury's life...if in fact it was actually Nick Fury, and not an LMD. Was it Nick Fury? Or was it an LMD?
Still, what a little creep. That should be the title of the letter column..."little creep"...or something like that. Ugh.
Yet I like it. Why? Probably because of Hester and Parks. Without them, it'd be just another title. A good title, but I probably wouldn't have really taken notice the way I have. They make it something special.
They should experiment with changing the cover's tagline every issue, much like Eclipso once did.
VERY GOOD. I hope this lasts.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wow, that was actually VERY GOOD. I really didn't expect that at all. Since Secret Wars I was too complex for me in all of its ramifications (I was a little kid at the time), and Secret Wars II: Beyonder the disco god was crap, I really had very low expectations for this. But, wow. I read it all in one shot, starting last night, and have got to tell you, it's a great story, very well done. Featuring a similar concept to Secret Wars I - supertypes get kidnapped from Earth, transported to Battleworld, forced to fight each other in order to return home - yet at the same time completely unique. I'm not going to spoil it by, well, spoiling it. Suffice it to say, leave questions as to the exact point in continuity or the exact universe in which this might have occurred aside, and just enjoy it for what it is: Good Solid Storytelling.
Well, this one's all over the map. About par for the course considering Chaykin's recent work. Sentences leave off or continue from nowhere, the narrative seems to have very little logical flow, Chaykin's art is Liefeld-like sketchy, and all characters motivations are very obscure.
However, for all its flaws, I enjoyed this, for a few very simple reasons:
2) Guy Gardner being Guy Gardner
Although G'nort is written much more competently than Giffen ever portrayed him elsewhere, it actually works, because in the opening pages of the book we are "treated" to scenes of his entire planet being slaughtered in the crossfire of the ever continuing Rann-Thanagar war. Gratuitous as it may be, such things will serve to make one grow up really fast. And G'nort has grown a pair as well...just take a look at the way he talks to Guy.
Guy Gardner is a womanizing, Guardian-hating boor, but his heart is always in the right place, and his skills as a Warrior are unparalleled.
And I always love the occasional scene set in his restaurant...but it seems to have gotten a major facelift since last we saw it.
So, I've got to say, I did like this, sloppy art and storytelling aside. In fact, Chaykin's sloppy line work actually contributes a great deal towards selling the new and improved G'nort. So I'll rate this a low GOOD.
Wow, completely not what I would expect from this book at all, although with new names Palmiotti and Gray on the cover, I'm not surprised. What does surprise me is Amanda Conner's pencils actually toning down the cheesecake level...in fact, there's even a scene where she pokes fun at her own renderings of Power Girl! This issue was a standalone issue, and it made sense. That has been so rare throughout this series - things making sense. It's like, maybe I'm dense or something, but I never realized that this "Boomer" she was living with was actually Captain Boomerang's son...I thought she was doing him or something, or that perhaps this was a new character along the lines of the last Supergirl's Buzz. Now it finally makes sense. The art is even nicer, in a cartoony way. VERY GOOD. I'd love to see more issues like this one, and if I do, then I will definitely resume reading this series.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Well, as good as last issue was, and it was VERY GOOD, this one is bad - so bad it's AWFUL. How does that happen? Last issue we finally got the exposition we needed to explain what happened to Hal during the lost year, because God knows we weren't going to get it anywhere else, and it was actually a pretty good story. Stupid, sure, but very good nonetheless.
Now this issue, on the other hand, is just one huge extended fight scene between Hal and the apprently brainwashed Global Guardians. And there's something unrelated going on with Hank Henshaw's skull. And something happening on Qward too - which seems to be aimed at inducting Abin Sur's son into the newly formed "Sinestro Corps", somewhat of a hackneyed concept, but if done well, one that I could certainly get behind. However, the other upcoming plot development alluded to in this issue is just retarded. Turning Cowgirl into the New Star Sapphire? That's got to be the stupidest plot development since making Hal crazy in the space of three issues. Please, I hope that's not going to stick. For once, it'd be nice for Hal to have some sort of normal home life. What is it with DC's fascination with messing with the private lives of their Green Lanterns? It seems like every one of Earth's Green Lanterns has suffered horribly in their personal lives, from the original to Kyle. At least this issue came out one month following the previous one, but note that it still has a cover date of 2006. That's just stupid. It's as if, by dating late titles by the month in which they were supposed to be released, the comic companies can retroactively change recent history and claim that they were released on time! Whatever, I'm just about done with this series.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Obviously, blogging is a highly narcissistic pursuit, however altruistic one's motives may be. That said, it encourages me to write more often when people let me know how I'm doing.
So let me know!
Can Darwyn Cooke ever do any bad work? I swear, everything of his I've ever read has been EXCELLENT. And this is no exception. Being too young, or mainstream, to have had much experience with The Spirit, I can't say how accurately he fills out Will Eisner's shoes. However, having read many golden and silver age Batman tales, I can say with certainty that Cooke captures the Spirit of those golden (and silver) comics perfectly. Likewise Jeph Loeb, who, more recent misfires aside, has always done a superb job at telling tales set in the past. This book is truly a treat, and serves as a fitting entree into Cooke's upcoming Spirit monthly. Like I said, this is EXCELLENT, and I've truly gotten to the point where I'd expect no less.
Friday, December 01, 2006
After the first issue, which basically had nothing to do, whatsoever, with the Supreme Power universe, until the very last page, I can't stress enough how unimpressed I was. And then there's this issue. Oh boy, I didn't think that I could be let down any further. I was completely wrong. This issue is nothing more than one giant fight scene, featuring the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The X-Men, and The Ultimates - basically, everybody in the Ultimate universe who has a regular series - fighting the Supreme Power heroes. Until the goddamn last page. Again! Nothing f'ing happens in this issue, until the last page! Who writes this CRAP? Okay, so just like everything else in the Ultimate universe, it's written by Bendis...but seriously? A chimp could do better.
For the first 16 pages, this book was a lot of fun. Well written, intriguing concept, competent execution...and then it took a turn towards WTF-land. This series gets back to the long forgotten concept of Danny Rand being just the latest in a series of mystical warriors gifted with the Iron Fist, which herein is portrayed more as a mystical ability than as a martial arts technique which anyone could learn - as Bendis hinted at during his run on Daredevil. That's not a problem for me. What is a problem, however, is the conflicting origin stories told herein by Brubaker...one which has Danny's father dying, and one which has him disappearing...within the pages of the selfsame book. To me, that's just sloppy, but perhaps he's going somewhere with this. I'll have to keep reading the series to find out, I guess. It would be interesting to me to find out exactly where this falls in the DaredevilFist chronology.
A very solidly GOOD first issue.
(Is it just me, or is Danny's Iron Fist costume really gay?)