Friday, January 19, 2007

Wonder Man #1-#2

Wonder Man #1-#2
In spite of Simon Williams' presence in this book, it's quite GOOD. It's quite unapologetically and self-referentially a superhero retelling of Shaw's Pygmalion. It abounds with Eliza Doolittle references, and even the title of the story is "My Fair Super-Hero". If you don't get the joke, then there's something sorely lacking in either your English Literature background or your pop-culture database.
What makes this title so good though, is exactly what hasn't been advertised overtly in the solicits or even on the covers: it's Peter David's portrayal of Henry McCoy. As one who's so brilliant that he needn't even make an effort - or so he thinks.
The "dark future" scenes are largely throwaway - unless Peter David is hinting at their placement in the 2099 universe populated by his characters from Spider-Man 2099. The main story doesn't seem to have anything to do with these scenes.
The art is also a bit offputting.
But taken as a whole, this is really GOOD stuff, and should, at least for those among us who enjoy the classics, at least be perused.

Smallville 6x11 "Justice"

Smallville 6x11 "Justice"
EXCELLENT!! Finally, the episode we've all been waiting for, ever since we were first introduced to Bart Allen. Then we were introduced to Arthur Curry who mentioned the Junior Lifeguard Association. Then Cyborg was introduced. Finally, Oliver Queen came to town to finance the whole operation, which is described in this episode as "J.L. International, a satellite orbiting..." Fanboygasm! So we get the five member Justice L. International, consisting of Green Arrow, Aquaman, Cyborg, Impulse, and Boy Scout (had he been able to pick his own callsign, what would Clark have picked? Farm Boy?), controlled from Queen's headquarters by "Watchtower", a.k.a. Chloe. What an EXCELLENT episode. (Plus, Alan Ritchson reprises his role as A.C. from "Aqua".) I can't wait for J'onn J'onzz to come into focus next week.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

52 #37

52 #37
The following are my comments on this issue, as directed towards the readers (and writer) of Douglas Wolk's excellent site "52-pickup".

The Gauntlet: Kara must have delivered it to Bats after her other self kicked the crap out of Luthor.

Good observation last week that Supernova was in a footballer's pose.

JLA Storage: I'm sure that every member keeps extra costumes and utilities in the JLA headquarters, wherever that may be - because you've GOT to replace torn outfits, and have GOT to have backups for equipment which was damaged or used up in fights. We know Ray made at least two belts. Why not more?

Since Supernova utilizes Phantom Zone technology, which has often been used as a means of teleportation, he must have just teleported into the cave.

Hawkgirl's N'th metal: He could take it from "JLA storage (or JSA storage)" or just grab a piece of her GIANT wings when she came back from space.

Superstrength: Just because he's being Supernova doesn't mean that Booster will have relinquished all his former powers.

Teleportation via the Phantom Zone:
STEP 1: Enter the Phantom Zone.
STEP 2: Navigate to a point within the Phantom Zone corresponding to the desired destination.
STEP 3: Exit the Phantom Zone.
I can't bring specific citations, but it HAS been used like this before.

I read the Ollie quote as a comment on the fact that part of the greatest part of loving someone is knowing how and when to let them go. Interestingly, remember how Ollie had, at one time, wanted kids, and Dinah nixed that idea (Longbow Hunters #1)? Ollie eventually let her go without a fight, and today it seems that motherhood is Dinah's raison d'etre. Thus, Ollie let Dinah go in order that she could develop emotionally to the point where she is today. They're obviously still close.
Then again, maybe he was really pondering the fact that Dinah seems to have something of a death wish - jumping to a flagpole without a safety line.

Firestorm: Pretty pointless to feature a character whose introduction is recent. Wouldn't it have been more interesting to explore the origins of the Firestorm elemental force?
And no wonder it's been cancelled: since Dan Jolley left the title, it's pretty much sucked.

Is anybody besides Calimike actually reading Ion?

The Jurgens Titans title featuring a regressed teenage Atom has been ignored since it was cancelled. The only holdover from that series is Argent. All else is a big "whoops!" a'la Hawkman.

And on the Multiverse still being around? Well that's just stupid. I mean, I'm happy about it and all, but the fact remains that two massive miniseries with a multitude of crossovers were dedicated to getting rid of it. And none of it succeeded? That's just ridiculous. Not to mention that even following the first Crisis, various writers found different ways to reintroduce worlds and dimensions that they felt they wanted. One of the most recent was Grant Morrison's Earth 2 series, whose characters crossed over into the JLA title two years ago. And even today, after IC, we've seen many hints in the OYL titles of the multiverse still being around, primary amongst them the existence of scads of Monitors. So I really must ask, what in the world did Infinite Crisis accomplish? Why did Conner die? Why is Pantha's head a'rollin? Why is Ted Kord dead? These things were supposed to have meaning, but now that Didio has come out and told us that "yes, kiddies, the secret of 52 is that the multiverse still exists"? Pshaw. That's the big secret? 37 weeks of mediocrity (or worse) for this? Ridiculous. If I actually paid for this title, I'd stop buying it.

[This post has been reprinted over at Sequart]

Monday, January 08, 2007

30 Days of Night

30 Days of Night
Well, I promised that I was going to get around to reading this, and I just finished everything up until the current series. I'll go through the series one by one.

30 Days of Night - Wizard Prologue
The major fault here is that this doesn't stand on its own. It can't. Then again, these things rarely do. But for its eight pages, it gives us a chance to become semi familiar with Ben Templesmith's art style, and also warns us that we'll need a magnifying glass to read the vampires' dialogue. Taken together with the rest of the series, it's VERY GOOD, but if I were forced to give it an independent rating, I could only go as high as OKAY.

30 Days of Night #1-#3
This series was GOOD. It took me quite a while to get used to Ben Templesmith's art, and to tell the truth, it took longer than this series. In fact, it seemed that even he didn't come into his own on this series until the next set of books. The third issue in and of itself was EXCELLENT, though, with a very fitting climax, which serves to cement the mythos surrounding Steve Niles' version of vampirism. He views it as something akin to a disease which can be spread through exposure to the saliva or blood of one who's already infected. His vampires burn in the sun, but short of that, nothing less than decapitation will kill them for good. They're certainly tough bastards. He has them sporting claws and a full mouth of razor-sharp teeth, and huge four-foot-long prehensile tongues, which can curl and snake. My major complaint about the art is that every close up of anybody's mouth, even the humans, looks vampiric. Unless that's just Ben Templesmith trying to say that the fundamental difference between humans and vamps is their morals. But I think he just likes drawing people with poor dental hygiene. Also, he draws scenes so dark and sketchy, that at times it's extremely difficult to figure out what's going on. Not Bachalo difficult. Just harder than it should be. Also, he tends to take shortcuts in his art, but which I mean that instead of illustrating something so that we'll know exactly what he's trying to convey, he makes a sort of collage with [words in brackets] to describe what he can't figure out how to convey graphically. It's interesting, but it's still cheating.

30 Days of Night - Dark Days #1-#6
This series is much better. The main plot of this one is that Stella, the Sheriff's wife, has written a book about the attack on Barrow, entitled, you guessed it, "30 Days of Night", and is in L.A. doing publicity for it. The publicity is more for the sake of informing others about the vampire threat so that they can defend themselves against the hitherto unbelievable. She has surrounded herself with mercenaries, and developed specialized weaponry for fighting vampires. It's VERY GOOD, and herein Templesmith shows that he's settled into his groove. Either that, or I just finally figured out how to interpret his art. Probably a bit of both.

30 Days of Night Annual 2004

A collection of short stories by Steve Niles set in the universe that he has created. Read this before the next miniseries, as it contains the introduction to a very central character in that series. It also ties up two loose ends from the previous series. Everything a good annual should be, and not at all what you'd expect from an annual. I know that that may sound cryptic, and so be it. Titlewise ratings, by story: 1) The Book Club - EH. It's completely useless. It doesn't contribute whatsoever to the general mythology of the world Niles has created, except to tell us that Stella published those sections that were removed from her book by the publisher on her website. It's not incompetent storytelling, it's just pointless. It's actually reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street". 2) The Hand that Feeds - GOOD. The art by Szymon Kudranski is competent. This is the first story to tie up a loose end from the last series. 3) Agent Norris: MIA - OKAY. This story's art by Brandon Hovet, Bill Williams, and Tom B. Long is extremely out of character for this series. It's almost cartoonish. And waaay too bright. This is the second story tying up loose ends. 4) The Trapper - VERY GOOD. This one has art by Josh Medors which reminds me simultaneously of the illustrations of Arthur Szyk and the covers for those old Isaac Bashevis Singer books. I can't really explain why. Very European. It's quite lovely. It introduces a main character from, and segues into the next series.

30 Days of Night - Return to Barrow #1-#6
A few years later, the vampires decide to mount another attack on Barrow, this time wiping out any and all survivors. But since the first attack, the survivors have prepared themselves, learning the mythology of their adversary, amassing weapons, fencing in what remains of the town, setting up generators at multiple points, and installing UV lights at the periphery of their compound. They believe they'll be prepared. So do you...until the vampires start shooting! EXCELLENT series, with the best ending of any of the books. These issues all contain short prose pieces in the back, which I haven't read, so will not be reviewing just yet.

30 Days of Night - Picking Up the Pieces from IDW's Tales of Terror vol. 1
This story serves as an epilogue to Return to Barrow, and also as a prologue to the 2005 Annual.
It's a VERY GOOD short story (10 pages), but Templesmith cheats a lot.

30 Days of Night - Bloodsucker Tales #1-#8
Alright now, this one is a bit of a mixed bag. Each issue has three stories in it, two graphic and one prose. The prose stories are of varying quality. Mostly they're okay, a couple are good or very good, but there's one which quite obviously doesn't fit anywhere into the Niles mythology. It's just a random story about a vampire. And as such, it has no business being in a 30 Days of Night book. The story itself is good, but its inclusion is quite puzzling. Prose is prose, and some of you may not even bother reading words with no pictures, but as a whole they're worth reading. I'm not going to rate them in this column though. Maybe some other time.
The graphical stories are 1) Dead Billy Dead, written by Niles and illustrated quite excellently by Kody Chamberlain. This story, about a young man who gets turned but manages to keep his thirst under control, is VERY GOOD. 2) The second story, Juarez or Lex Nova & The Case of the 400 Dead Mexican Girls, by Matt Fraction with art by Templesmith, is not. It's hard to follow, and even upon the conclusion I had very little idea of what it had been about. The art is not clear either. In fact, this is Templesmith's shoddiest work throughout the entirety of this series. This one's CRAP.

30 Days of Night Annual 2005

This one directly follows the short story from Tales of Terror mentioned above. It's a GOOD story, but it includes a very unfortunate fate for the hero of an earlier story, and what is decidedly a non-ending. The art, this time provided by Nat Jones, is competent, but is not what we've come to expect. And, for the first time ever, the lettering is sloppy. Words are misspelled, words are left out. It's annoying, especially since it was perfect until now. And for the first time, stakes are used, whereas shotgun shells would be MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE.

30 Days of Night - Dead Space #1-#3
Okay, now I really don't understand what could have possessed Steve Niles to write this total piece of excrement. It's really, really, bad. The main premise is that on the night before a shuttle launch, the mission captain hooks up with a vampire prostitute. Even though he's married. It takes him half a day to turn, and he proceeds with the launch even though he's aware that he's turning. And AASA (NASA?) lets the launch proceed even though his vitals are substandard. So, just after launch, he vamps out and turns or kills the entire crew, resulting in the shuttle's exploding. So AASA (read ass-a), sends another crew up, fearing vampires, and they find the captain's floating unprotected in space, with no damage. They take him on board the international space station, where they get sent because AASA doesn't want them bringing the body back to Earth. And he wakes up on the autopsy table and kills or turns everybody on the space station. And then the lone survivor is headed back to Earth with a vampire riding his escape capsule like Slim Pickins on the bomb.
Problems: A space shuttle launch is ALWAYS preceded by the total quarantine of all flight members for at least 24 hours before launch.
Vampires wouldn't do very well in space, as they'd be subjected to more sun then they'd ever get on the planet.
Vampires would still depressurize in a vacuum.
An acetylene torch lit inside a space shuttle would cause the pressurized Oxygen inside to combust. And what use would it really be against vampires anyways? Use something heavy!
A vampire would burn to a crisp upon reentry into the atmosphere.
And those are just the glaring errors.
This series was cowritten with Dan Wickline, and you've got to assume that as it's completely different in tone and quality from ANYTHING else in this series, that he's the guy responsible for this CRAP. The art is done by MILX - whatever that is - and it's just completely wrong for this series. And there are problems, once again, with the lettering. Completely ASS - for trying to sell a bullshit storyline under the 30 Days of Night title.

Overall, this series is very high quality. I'm looking forward to reading the current miniseries.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Manhunter #27

Manhunter #27
You gotta love that cover. Seriously! If you were even the slightest bit pissed about Countdown, you've really got to love that cover. And it does such a great job of lampooning current comics with their not-so-secret big reveals on the last page: Spider-Man unmasks? Wait, didn't I read that he was going to in the New York Times? Supergirl joins the Legion of Superheroes? Gee, it's not like the title gave it away or anything! The other Nightwing is Jason Todd? Nice of the next issue box to tell us! So this issue ends with the return(?!!) of Blue Beetle Ted Kord and sets up a new story, while furthering the main story of Kate's defense of Wonder Woman. One of the reporters outside the Grand Jury courthouse asks a question which still hasn't really been made clear in any of the books: what happened to Diana's diplomatic immunity? I suppose we'll find out, but I'm guessing that she's surrendered it voluntarily in the hopes of restoring her name.
Also, Cameron Chase's father was a superhero, and she's got meta powers [Edit: apparently she's been portrayed in the past as having the subconcious ability to negate meta powers when under stress]; Mark Shaw may become the new Azrael (interesting, since Kate uses Az-Bat's gauntlets); Sasha Bordeaux thinks that the video of Wonder Woman snapping Max Lord's neck is a doctored phony - which leads one to wonder what she believes the truth to be.
Another EXCELLENT issue of a truly EXCELLENT title. If you aren't reading Manhunter yet, then shame on you. It's because of you that quality comics get cancelled while piss poor periodicals proliferate. Read Manhunter!
Edit: [Okay, so I did some research since writing this. Apparently, it was revealed that Cameron Chase's father was the hero named Acro-Bat in Chase #6, which was supposed to be a peripheral Bat-title. Yeah, I didn't read it either. Apparently nobody did, and it was cancelled without any fanfare after ten issues, the tenth of which was #1,000,000. What a way to go. Anyways, it's interesting to note that one of the members of Walter Chase's team was the Bronze Wraith, later to be known as the Martian Manhunter! This was revealed in the likewise short-lived Martian Manhunter series, though several more people actually read that one. Cameron's father appeared in flashbacks in two issues of that series. And that's it. He hasn't been mentioned anywhere else, before or since, in the entirety of the DCU, and neither has any other member of the Justice Experience (except for its Bronze Wraith, of course). The only member besides Wraith in the JE with any apparent superpowers was Song Bird, who had wings and could fly. They were to be a continuity implant meant to fill the void in the 60's and 70's when there were few or no other active superheroes. Had the book which introduced them not been speedily cancelled, and their name not sucked ass, we might have seen more of them over the years. I'm impressed that Andreyko was familiar with this forgotten piece of DCU lore. Even the usual sources don't have very much more than I was able to present herein, so, kudos.]

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nightwing #128

Nightwing #128
Well, Marv Wolfman's first arc comes to a close. I would have much preferred a more cosmic, Monitor related story, especially to tie up the plot thread wherein Nightwing heard a voice saying "you should have died". Instead, he's been fighting guys in armor suits for the past four issues, getting buried alive (which is pretty stupid - seriously, kill him first), hunting someone who was killing scientists, and getting his own tech guy. Until this issue, we actually had no idea why any of this was happening! Expository dialogue in the issue explains that when Luthorcorp went bankrupt, the project heads of the Raptor project took it, along with some other projects, to set themselves up privately. But one of the heads is very morally corrupt, so he hired a contract killer to murder all the scientists who knew that he was the project head, and added Nightwing to the list for some unexplained reason. And then, as field testing, he has the man in the armor go on a rampage in New York. Yeah, that's a good idea! And there's apparently a radiation core leak in the suit, so anyone using it gets cooked. And then, it turns out that this project's "client" was none other than Luthor himself, who says "nobody steals from Lex Luthor" and explodes the floors they're on, killing everyone. I was thinking okay, but now that I've written it out, it's really more of an EH. I expected more from Wolfman, although, I was recently reading some Titans issues from the 80's and 90's, and they really weren't very good at all! So I suppose that I should have known better. I hope it gets better, but judging from the next issue solicitations, it appears that it will get worse first. Whatever, it certainly can't be as bad as Bruce Jones' stuff, can it? Can it? Gee, the more I think of it, the more I wan't to say that this issue was crap...

Quote of the Week #9

Quote of the Week #9
As I promised, it comes from Incredible Hulk #102. But since it's just one page, and worth seeing, I'll reproduce it in its entirety. It's funny!

The line that earns it this week's QotW is Iron Man's: "I just did."
The strip can also be found on Chris Giarrusso's site, and was also printed in this Joe Fridays column.

X-23: Target X #2

X-23: Target X #2
VERY GOOD. I don't often read minis until they're finished, or close to it, but the art drew me in on this one, and the wit has kept me reading. Very VERY GOOD. I actually even laughed at the scene where X-23 gives a dissertation to her French teacher about the best methods for information retrieval. (Also, I REALLY like her outfit.)

Superman/Batman #31

Superman/Batman #31
I'm not even going to bother reading this. Maybe if I hear really good things. **** you Verheiden. You suck. And this title has arcs that go on waaaay too long.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #25

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #25
Well, the beginning of this issue seemed pretty messed up, as if Glorith were about to undo continuity the way she did prior to Zero Hour, but by the end of the issue, Valor was back (following the events of Superboy #13, I'd imagine), and trading blows with Kara. Brainy made the antidote, as we all knew he would. But that's tangential to the main plot, which still remains something of a mystery. It's not all a rehash, only the details are similar. Oh, and the shadowy hooded figure turned out to be Mekt Ranzz. And the Dreamgirl plot continues in Brainy's brain. At least we get a few pages of exposition explaining what's been going on with the anti-Legionnaires, herein dubbed The Wanderers. I still don't understand it very well, but I can still enjoy it. OKAY.

Ptolus: City By the Spire #1

Ptolus: City By the Spire #1
AWFUL. I can't figure out what's going on. It seems to me that the only people who will enjoy these books are those who are already familiar with the world and characters within. This new venture should be good as a jumping on point if Marvel or Dabel Brothers want to attract new readers, and if the last few books I've read are any indication, they're not. Even the Alvin Maker books aren't very good. They're okay, but that's because they're a direct adaptation of the second book in Orson Scott Card's brilliant American fantasy series, The Tales of Alvin Maker. That book might also be better if it came out with any sort of regularity. But it's been released only once in each of the last two years, which is completely unacceptable if they desire to draw in new readers. If there's any series that deserves more readers, it's the Alvin Maker series. But to my mind this entire Dabel/Marvel project has been an utter failure so far.

Justice League of America #5

Justice League of America #5
Well, I gave it a shot, but truly, this series is shaping up to be quite AWFUL. In this issue alone, Mari loses her mind, Roy sees Hawkgirl and starts blubbering, the entire league act like the densest asshats the world has ever seen, and Kathy exhibits precognition. Among other things. This is really...quite...bad. The only good part is where the new Amazo uses old panels of reddy in action to reboot himself. But even that doesn't really make much sense. This whole arc is turning into a huge incoherent mess. Besides which, does Meltzer expect this arc to be 12 issues long? And the art is merely competent.
Why can't anybody consider the possibility that Grundy isn't evil? Doesn't anybody remember that he was friends with Jack Knight? Why does Roy Harper wear a mask if his identity is publicly known, then wonder why people know his name? If Mari's talisman is so essential to her, then why wouldn't she wear it inside her costume where nobody could grab it? Ridiculously AWFUL.

Jack of Fables #6

Jack of Fables #6
EXCELLENT. A bit of tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation by Willingham and Sturges breaks up this tale told by Jack to his new companions Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Alice, on how he was once Jack Frost. So not only was he Jack Horner, Jack the Giant Killer, Jack of the Beanstalk, Jack-Be-Nimble, Jack of the Lantern, and the Jack from Jack and Jill, but now also Jack Frost, apparently. Anyways, what good would an issue of this title be without a hot babe? And here we have the coolest of all hotties: Lumi the Snow Queen. And of course, Jack got with her. I was wondering whether Willingham could produce monthly with this title, but so far, it seems to be living up to the standards he's set for himself in Fables.

Incredible Hulk #102

Incredible Hulk #102
VERY GOOD. I haven't been paying very close attention to this book, because I'm not much of a fantasy/warrior fan, but I've still been scanning the book monthly. And it's GOOD. it's a clever direction to have taken the Hulk, and I wonder how much longer it can last. Hopefully, for a good while longer. Long live King Hulk!
The Mini Marvels backup strip is hilarious. Heck, I'll give it quote of the week.

Exiles #89

Exiles #89
GOOD. For a one-shot fill-in issue, which is basically what Bedard's run has been since Claremont fell ill. Personally, I prefer him. He started this title, and he deserves to stay on it as long as possible. In this issue, the Exiles hop to twenty worlds in three weeks (we don't see them all), Blink gets incapacitated by the Sinister Six, Miggy gets clobbered by the Serpent Society, Sabretooth fights an alternate reality son (Graydon Creed), and Emma Frost almost undoes Morph's behavior modification. Also, apparently someone must have pointed out to Bedard that way back when he may have goofed, by having Proteus lay claim to a "metal" crown. So a quick expository scene explains that Proteus may have overcome his weakness to metal. And in Thunderbird's dreamstate within the walls of the crystal palace, he manufactures a happy ending for himself where he's married to TJ and having a from which it's foreshadowed that he may soon be released to find that TJ is now with New Excalibur (perhaps Bedard is actually setting up a Claremont storyline? One can only hope.) - poor T-Bird. Like I said, pretty GOOD. I'll continue subscribing to this title as long as Miggy remains, but I worry about what may happen once Claremont returns.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #212

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #212
I don't often read this title, and have avoided it like the plague since the conclusion of Justin Grey's AWFUL arc, as Bruce Jones - that hack - was doing an arc, but when I saw that this issue was a one-shot being written by Adam Beechen whose Robin issues I've enjoyed so much, I decided to give this issue a look. And I wasn't disappointed. A done in one story about a nerdy guy who hooks up with a shallow girl on the merit of having saved her life when he and she get caught in the middle of a fight between Batman and some random mercenaries. It's cute, if basically shallow, but it's done in one, and nowadays very few writers are able to pull that off. Paul Dini has been doing an EXCELLENT job of it on Detective Comics. So, I'd have to say that this issue is a very solid GOOD. And if more issues were like this, focusing on people whose lives have been affected by the Bat instead of just more stories about the Bat, I think that I'd read this title more regularly. Sort of like a Tangled Web for Batman. Once upon a time, the Gotham Nights mini did the same thing. It'd be nice to see this become a regular theme in this title. But of course, that's not going to happen, and of course, nobody listens to me, so why even bother reading the next issue? But this issue is a very solid read, if you're bored.

The Helmet of Fate

The Helmet of Fate is beginning in two weeks. This five issue miniseries will lead into the new Doctor Fate series, written by Steve Gerber, who has already confirmed on his blog that Ralph Dibny will not be in it. What a shame. I'd love to read Dibny's diary every month based on issues of the new Dr. Fate series.

The five issues have been advertised as being the following:

Detective Chimp is being written by Bill Willingham who's done a great job with Bobo ("Don't call me Bobo!") starting with Day of Vengeance and continuing into Shadowpact, so I'm pretty sure that'll be a good issue. It's being illustrated by Shawn McManus who illustrated the VERY GOOD Thessaly miniseries with Willingham, so that should be a pretty good fit.

Ibis the Invincible
is being written by Tad Williams, who wrote The Next miniseries, which was OKAY, although really pretty throwaway, and is scheduled to replace Busiek on Aquaman with issue #50, which I'm already dreading. Busiek will thereafter only be writing Superman, but at least he's scheduled to be around until at least issue #662. It's being illustrated by Phil Winslade who did the "Blitz" storyline culminating in Flash #200, which I haven't yet read, but the covers are nice, if a bit cartoonish. I'm not sure that he'll be the best fit for this, but we'll see.

Sargon the Sorceror
is being written by Steve Niles of 30 Days of Night fame, and illustrated by Scott Hampton. I must confess that I haven't gotten around to reading 30 Days yet, but it's in my pile, but I've heard good things about it. However, Niles was also the author of Batman: Gotham County Line, which was left waaay too convoluted at its resolution, and as he's only got one issue here, I truly hope that he doesn't do the same thing. In B:GCL, Niles came up with a strange, nigh-insane, nearly nonsensical mystical afterlife type plot, with curses, alternate realities, time loops, and other ridiculousnesses, and although he managed to pull a competent story out of it, it just wasn't very good (EH). He did that one with Hampton too. Hampton won a Harvey Award in 1993 for his EXCELLENT work on the Batman: Night Cries graphic novel written by the late, great, Archie Goodwin, so I'm sure that his style will be equal to the task on this book.

is being written by Steve Gerber and being illustrated by the excellent Peter Snejbjerg. You may (or perhaps not) remember that Gerber was the creator of Howard the Duck, and Snejbjerg, of course, worked on many issues of James Robinson's Starman, among other projects. As I mentioned above, Gerber is also going to be continuing as the writer of the ongoing Doctor Fate title, so this may be one of the best of these five issues.

Black Alice, which concludes this series, is written by the incomparable Gail Simone, and is illustrated by Duncan Rouleau. I personally hated Rouleau's work on Blue Beetle, but his New X-Men issues have been nicely done (for a slaughterfest), so this may go either way. Judging from the cover photo, it may be okay, but I'm holding my breath (well, not really - this book is coming out in March, and I really don't think that I can hold my breath that long).

Overall, I'm looking forward to at least three, if not four, of these books, so I'm hoping that my expectations will not prove to be unfounded. In other words, this had better be good...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ultimate Power #3

Ultimate Power #3
Well, unlike Hibbs, I've got to give credit where credit is due, this issue was finally interesting. The last two were nothing but completely gratuitous fight scenes. This one at least has a plot. Whereas I agree that this should have been told chronologically, logistically, the way this asinine story was constructed, that became impossible. And the Supreme Power universe also gets short shrift herein, but I'm hoping that next issue will be devoted mainly to its exploration. At this point I'd like to say this issue on its own is okay, but Greg Land's lightboxed stolen images really ruin everything this issue had going for it. Seriously, someone whose world is being attacked by an unknown biological entity is expressing her fear to a teammate, yet she has a model's smile plastered on her face as if it belonged there. Uh, what? Yet, in a very slight few panels, it seems that Land is actually doing new drawings. But he might just be copying from himself, something that he has been known to do. EH.

Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures #3

Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures #3
I've read the first three issues of this series, because I like vampires, and I like vampire slayers. But each issue has left me hoping even more for a coherency of plot in the next issue. And each issue has disappointed me more than the one previous. This is nothing more than a trashy romance novel dressed up in supernatural clothing and illustrated. The concept itself is very rich, which is why I'm so disappointed: Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and the like having become integrated into American society and its legal system is a fascinating concept. But instead of exploring that (for those of us who've never read any of the AB books), we just get creepy, trashy monologuing about glorified mind rape and forbidden attraction in page after page, and pictures of perfect body vamps with open shirts, and gratuitous shots of our heroine having her clothes torn off and being mentally dominated. This is not a good series by any stretch of the imagination. This is not even an okay series. This series is completely and utterly ASS. Is anyone actually buying this? What is the logic behind it? Even that title is so preposterous and pretentious that it's insulting.