Monday, November 26, 2007

Avengers Classic #6

Avengers Classic #6
For all that people talk them up, I had always thought that the original Avengers books were good. And then I began reading this series. And realized that they're not, not really. Sure, they've got some interesting ideas, most of which were revolutionary for the time, simply because there had never been anything like them before. And that's good. What I'd much rather, though, would be a series where Michael Avon Oeming retold the original Avengers stories - in the same issue format as they were done originally (done-in-one), but with the benefit of years of comics history and experience. No hackneyed narration, no monologueing, no out of character moments, some nods to continuity, no expository thought bubbles or dialogue. And definitely, no narrators. ("Run! It's the Melter!" Oh my god. The Melter. Ooooooh, scary.) There are some things that only ever existed because comics writers and comics readers hadn't yet figured out an alternative. And once they had, these ideas were retired. And deserve to remain so. I hate to call the original stories CRAP, but they're truly painful to read.

I love the Oeming shorts in the back, though, and this issue's is no exception. Those are GOOD.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Loners #6

The Loners #6
An unsatisfying end to an interesting book. Essentially a spinoff of Runaways, although not penned by BKV. Perhaps if it had been, this series wouldn't have been quite so uneven. The action never seemed to balance properly with the dialogue, and said action was poorly rendered by Karl Moline. So many of the plots and intrigues that filled the first five issues of this series end up not meaning much by the close of this issue. And it never made me care about any of the characters. Basically, the entire series was about getting these ex-superheroes in costume in the same place at the same time, in order that they be able to start over again as ex-superheroes. If it sounds pretty dumb, that's probably because it is. The best part of this series were its covers, which homaged teen movies of the eighties. Otherwise, the whole thing has been pretty EH. Also, I never thought I'd say this, but apparently there is such a thing as too much recap. This issue has a full page of densely spaced small text. I mean, for god's sake! It's just a miniseries!

Midknight #1

Midknight #1
Interestingly enough, this is the first lacklustre title from R5. I say interestingly, because all their previous books have been incredible. This book is definitely interesting. And the craft is really good. It's just, well, I feel a bit like I've entered in media res - which would be fine if I'd had the slightest inkling of who these characters were beforehand. But, the fact of the matter is, so little actually happens in this issue to inform us, that we're really left pretty much in the dark even at the end of the book. It's a very pretty book, very Timm-like. I'm just not feeling it deserves any more than OKAY. I'll try the next issue, but if nothing happens, I'm out. But as I said, the rest of this company's titles are EXCELLENT, and definitely worth checking out, especially when such high production quality can still be provided for an industry standard price. It's cute that Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith (as Jay and Silent Bob) have cameos, rooting for a team which is *this close* to being the New Jersey Devils.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Catwoman #73

Catwoman #73
When it seemed that the new direction for Catwoman was going to regress her to her old ways, I was somewhat dismayed. Happily, though, my fears have not yet been brought to bear. Though I still dread the supposed "new" direction, Catwoman is currently just struggling to stay alive. After giving up Helena, because really, what else could she do? Helena kept getting abducted and threatened by murderous psychos! and breaking all ties to her old life, Selina returned home last issue, passed out, and awoke to an empty apartment. Empty, that is, save for a bomb. Her mask was gone, her whip was gone, her goggles were gone...and then in this issue, when she goes to attempt recovery of her reserve stash, that's gone too! Somebody is gunning for our heroine, and I don't know why. Altogether too many people know her identity. And she relies on Calculator much more than she should. I mean, come on! Oracle would definitely take her calls! I suppose I can understand Selina's actions psychologically. She's just lost her baby and all last vestiges of her former life. To call upon the allies of the Bat - yet again - would just be too much for her psyche to take. So she's protecting herself by distancing herself. But it's backfiring. And I look forward to her figuring out that she has true friends in this world, and not merely acquaintances who don't want to kill her all of the time. Another VERY GOOD job by Messrs. Pfeifer and Lopez. Exactly why I return to this title every month.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Legion One-Shot

Legion One-Shot (nothing to do with LOSH)
Just got back from reading the Legion one-shot. Here’s what I can tell you: don’t waste your time, unless it’s to look at the pretty pictures. Or to be scared/horrified. Because otherwise, the story has little merit in the way of emotions or narrative.

And, in fact, it seems that the lesson in this story is that art will destroy the world. Unless I’m misreading it. Except for the fact that that’s EXACTLY what it says!

So, take that message along with comics as a medium which incorporates two artforms - prose and pictures - and it seems to imply that comics will destroy the world. Which is either the bleakest fucking thing I’ve ever read in a comic book, or the most pretentious.

Either way, this book aspires to much, yet achieves little. EH.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Supergirl #23

Supergirl #23
Wait a minute...what the HELL was that? After Tony Bedard finally writing Supergirl the way she was meant to be written (and Renato Guedes drawing her like a real girl), we're back to the same old CRAP, and if possible, it's even worse than before, especially since we now know that it could be so much better. I'm done with this series. Screw DC.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Most Popular DC and Marvel Characters

This post is in reference to a current posting over at goodcomics.

Finally, my #3 pick shows up, Grant Emerson/Damage. It’s nice to have him back in comics, even if his formerly pretty face has to be hidden. But the characterization is dead on, when he gets some time in the spotlight, so I’m a fan of the new JSA.

Yes, I’m a child of the 90’s in terms of comics. You know how Scott Tipton once said “the golden age of comics is five”?
Well, at least, I THINK it was him.
Anyways, for me, the golden age of comics were the days when I would bike 30 minutes to my comic shop after high school on Fridays. Those comics from back then, even if they are not critically hailed as being GOOD comics, or even ADEQUATE comics, were FUN for me. And that’s really all that matters to a kid. To a kid, it’s not about craft, it’s about excitement. And if stories like Knightfall and the Death of Superman can deliver on thrills for a teenage boy, well, then, that’s what it’s all about, now, isn’t it? Of course, it WASN’T all about that, which is why I eventually dropped both the aforementioned storylines and got hooked on Marvel’s 2099 universe. It was fun to be able to follow a universe from its inception, similar to what’s being done nowadays with the Ultimate line. When you’ve got a new universe (no pun intended - nut perhaps I should have...) with no continuity other than what you’ve just read, it’s extremely liberating for a kid of limited resources.

Anyways, when I saw that Ray was being drawn by the same man as had drawn the original Azrael miniseries, well, I just had to have it. And then when Jim Owsley/Christopher Priest had him cross over with Damage, too, well, I fell in love with that character as well.
Not to mention Triumph.
When is HE going to show up on this list?

Rereading these comics today, I sometimes find that they’re really NOT the shit, as I once thought they were. However, they provide me with that all important nostalgia fix, so that’s something, right?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Daredevil #101

Daredevil #101
Please don't tell me that Brubaker is clearing Milla from the playing field by having her comitted to Bellevue with no hope of a cure. Milla's and Matt's relationship has been one of the most wonderful things about this title since she was first introduced. Why can't any Marvel character other than Reed and Sue Richards stay happily married? Regardless, it's a great issue, and I don't think that I'll mind The Hood as much under Brubaker's pen as I mind him under Bendis'. What I just can't get is why he's all twisted and evil - which is not where BKV left him. Regardless, this issue is VERY GOOD.

New X-Men #43

New X-Men #43
Explain to me again why I should care about the identity of the youngest mutant at the Xavier Institute? At least it's been specified on the recap page that Indra (whoever that is) is not the youngest mutant on the planet, but merely the youngest at the Institute. Unfortunately for my flagging interest, it's still not been sufficiently explained just why being the youngest mutant at the Institute means that he's going to die, or is even a target. I can't imagine that the X-Men's enemies know who he (?) is any more than I do, nor can I figure out why they'd care either.
Note that as of the recap page, I remain unfamiliar with the character named Indra who is supposedly important to the kids. Let's see if, off the top of my head, without reading this issue, I can recall the names of some of the characters: Surge (Noriko?), Julian/Hellion, Josh Foley/Elixir, David Alleyne/Prodigy, Santo/Rockslide, Cessily Kinkaid/Mercury, Sooraya Qadir/Dust, The Stepford Cuckoos, Laura/X-23. That's all that I can remember. What does it say about the quality of the writing when new characters have been introduced and are featured in this book, and I don't even know who they are? It's not a good indication. I can't even identify two of the characters on the front cover! Whereas this may make it seem that yes, there are too many mutants at the school, I feel that were the background characters given as much depth and care for as the feature characters, I'd probably know them all. And care for them all. And, although I definitely don't want to see them slaughtered, something which has become a defining feature of this book since the last reboot...a car alarm just went off and I forgot what the point I'd had in mind at the beginning of this sentence was. Oh, well.

Why do two of the kids have Mister Sinister type gems on their foreheads? Are those gems? Or birthmarks? Or what? Whatever.

Interesting character development, making Laura a cutter - especially since it caan't damage her at all, yet is indicative of a troubled psyche.

If she is really as religious as she is portrayed, Sooraya Qadir should be extremely uncomfortable with being touched by a male, even more so that the average teenaged girl. And I can't believe that past characterization aside, Julian would be so insensitive to this fact. He's gone through a tremendous amount of character development since he was first introduces, because originally? Well, saying that he was a bit of a dick might be an understatement.

At least Santo realizes that IT DOESN'T MATTER who the youngest mutant is, they're all targets, by virtue of their being mutants...and X-Men. How much longer before Kyle and Yost figure this out as well? And realize that we couldn't care less either?

Good fact, Quote of the Week!

Finally, the ever versatile Skottie Young turns out a book which matches his talents. The issues of the New X-Men in hell, or limbo, or whatever, sucked. But this is good. I guess he's best (using this particular style) when not having to draw battle scenes. Unfortunately, this also seems to be his final issue. And if the pinup at the end of the book is any indication, the new artists have decided to age all of the female characters by ten years or so, and to turn them into overly muscled sluts. And to make Noriko not Asian.

Next month, Crossover!!


Flash #233

Flash #233
Acuna is missing, and somehow I prefer it that way. This isue provides us with a resolution of sorts to the tentcle/vagina monsters' attack from the last two issues. But mostly, it shows Batman and Superman exactly as Waid sees them: GIANT ASSHATS.

And so what if Jai knows that his life is fleeting? Wouldn't that merely convince him that his parents were doing exactly the right thing by allowing him to live whatever life he's got to the fullest? Suffice it to say, I've not yet been able to muster much enthusiasm for this revived series, and, though I'll probably give it a couple more issues, unless Waid's writing reverts to the type of craft which he's worked so long at perfecting, I won't be continuing to read this series, other than the occasional crossover, of course. EH.

There is a backup story in this issue, as well, cowritten with newcomer John Rogers, of Blue Beetle. This story revolves around an early adventure of Jay Garrick, and is full of the humor which is sorely lacking from the feature story. It's basically a standard done-in-one, golden-age type story of Flash saving an alien race from destruction but it contributes to the overall Flash mythos by providing the first introduction to the "speed force" and to the concept originally conceived by Gardner Fox of Flash's adjusting his vibrations to allow him to pierce the dimensional veil. GOOD.

Most intriguing about the backup feature is that it is the first part of a four part story which will
apparently bridge the first two arcs in the feature story and provide readers with a reason to continue reading this series beyond the conclusion of the feature story's first arc. Brilliant.

Sub-Mariner #5

Sub-Mariner #5
Well, now that we know that Namor is not dead, I can't say that I'm very interested anymore in reading the last issue of this incredibly EH series. What's most disappointing is that this series could have been much less of a waste. It could have been centered on Namor reasserting the power and status of Atlantis in the post-Civil War Marvel Universe. Instead, it's just a generic plot regarding terrorists who merely happen to be Atlantean, and a coup that is not a bit Atlantean in nature. Atlanteans are a different species from humans. So why must they always act the same? Ideally, a writer should utilize them as extraterrestrial beings living on our planet. Their culture and civilization are so different that it could be developed quite nicely over the course of six issues. Instead, we get throwaway material such as this. This series will not be remembered ten years from now, let alone next year. I'd hazard a guess that it won't even be remembered next month (if not for the imminent publication of the final installment).

X-Men #204

X-Men #204
I read this issue! And it was the first issue I've been able to read for quite some time. The art is strikingly detailed, yet rooted in basic reality, as opposed to the art from the past year or so. The writing is on a high enough level that I'm able to jump right back in to the book without feeling lost about who the characters are or what their motivations are. Good writing coupled with good art means a book that I will read, every time. As soon as Marvel figures out that Bachalo is only appealing to his fans, I will be very happy. Solidly OKAY.