Posted by: Brian Hibbs on May 2, 2005
Not much to say this week (very, very skimpy wordcount for these reviews) but before getting to the saying of it, I just wanted to mention The Shrew Review as a fine ol’ place for comix reviews. I forget how I ended up finding it, but if you like the reviews that cover what works and what doesn’t and why, you should check it out. Good stuff, and when I can wrap my brain around it, I’ll try to add the site to the side links.
In other news:
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #639: The Supes/powersuit fight I liked because it seemed like there was some thought put into it, which made the whole “Lois acts utterly out of character and Clark doesn’t catch on because the plot needs him to fall for it” stuff even more disappointing. On the low side of Eh.
AUTHORITY REVOLUTION #7: I liked a few things about it, and disliked many, many more—you’d think the fact that she’s called Jenny Sparks and not Jenny Electricity would have tipped Brube off when coming up with Jenny Crusades and Jenny Dark Ages. I also think both Jenny Spark and Jenny Quantum are avatars of changes that have affected everyone in their age, while most of the Jennies shown here seem Western European biased: I don’t think Jenny Crusades means shit-all to the Chinese, for example. But that’s just crabby frosting on the Awful cake.
BATMAN #639: I liked the scenes between Batman and Zatanna, and Batman and Green Arrow, thought the rest of it was a wash: does this take place before the opening scene of the Red Hood arc, then? After? Has Countdown happened? Then why hasn’t Batman connected Amazo and the kryptonite from several issues ago to the events there? I’m no continuity geek but when that’s supposed to be part of the hook, and the only editorial note we get indicates that it takes place before Blood of the Demon #1…well, color me nonplussed. Eh.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #5: I’m sure Ed was mighty tickled when he came up with the Bucky angle (“He’s not a goofy sidekick! He’s a brutal black-ops killer! Who’s fourteen!”) but I don’t like it at all for any number of reasons. Lovely looking, to be sure, but I’m giving it a very antsy Eh until where we see where this whole arc ends up.
DAREDEVIL #72: Much better than the previous issue as far as the character drama goes—that was actually quite good in fact—but the logic of bombing Foggy makes no sense to me. At all. Good, but not great.
DAY OF VENGEANCE #1: Some nice character bits, but too much stuff jimmied in there that didn’t quite work (If the Spectre is showing up wherever magic users gather to destroy them en masse, why in Christ would you go to a bar solely for magic-users?) OK, I guess.
DOOM PATROL #11: Bits of neat storytelling (liked that inset of the bullets breaking the panel of the character’s hollering face) in the service of an incredibly dumb and dull story. Who knew the Chief’s origin would be so lame? Awful.
EXILES #63: I kinda hope that’s not the real origin of the Timebrokers because (my mantra for the week) it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’m enjoying how all the little character bits get set up and paid off. A very high OK.
FANTASTIC FOUR FOES #4: Continues its string of super-stinkiness, and not just with regard to the FF and their allies—those pages with the prison building guy are so flat and obvious and clumsy, I spent most of the issue trying to figure out if Kirkman is outsourcing this job to, say, his brother-in-law: I don’t think anything in The Walking Dead or Invincible has read nearly as amateurish. Really, really stinky Crap.
HUMAN TARGET #21: Last issue’s horribly blasé cliffhanger makes a lot more sense now, although Milligan screwed things a little bit with his set-up: I almost think this would have worked much better as a stand-alone issue where you’re really left in the dark as to who’s really Chance. Plus, if I’m remembering it right, don’t the previous issues of the story show Tim turning into a homicidal lunatic the instant his mask starts to slip? Kinda mitigates for me what’s otherwise a Very Good issue and a dynamic finale to the series.
JUGHEAD’S DOUBLE DIGEST #112: Didn’t read it, but just now noticed how much it sounds like a porno out of context.
MICHAEL CHABON PRESENTS ADV O/T ESCAPIST #6: Probably the best single issue of this, with really great stories by Best and Campbell, and Offutt and Yeates, and an enjoyably demented melodrama by Grant and Breyfogle. The Eisner story is essentially beyond criticism: if you like Eisner, you’ll appreciate seeing a last bit of his work. A bit pricey, like all the issues, but Good.
NEW AVENGERS #5: I can see stripping Iron Man, but why the rest of the Avengers? Were the villains having too much fun undressing superheroes to stop with just one? I guess I have to be honest: if these last five issues had been written by Ron Zimmerman, I would have written them off as the cynical and klutzy shambles it so obviously is. So I think I’m done, pretty much. Awful.
PUNISHER #20: An enjoyably fucked-up little issue, probably one of the best in a while. I’m not really optimistic about this title, but I’m kinda sorta getting there. Good.
PVP #16: Very, very glad about the format change and even despite not playing City of Heroes (no crack cocaine for me, thank you), I enjoyed the stories this issue. Skipped over the potentially disturbing letters column, so: Good.
RED SONJA #0: Sure, the story was skimpier than Sonja’s outfit but for a quarter? Pretty damn Good, I thought. Sexy Barbarian Death may not play any better in today’s marketplace than Sexy Ninja Death but it works for me.
RICHARD DRAGON #12: Would’ve liked it a whole lot better without the last page, but Good stuff.
SLEEPER SEASON TWO #11: Weirdly, didn’t work for me because I can’t see how the previous issue’s narration makes any sense if the whole thing were planned: maybe if Gretchen had tried to get more power from fucking over Tao as well, or something. And the last two pages didn’t really work for me, either. I guess the last issue could pull the whole thing out, so we’ll see. Eh.
SUPERMAN BATMAN #19: Only in a book as apeshit as Loeb’s Superman/Batman could the Supergirl Batgirl scene have worked, because I fully expect Loeb to disregard any logic or continuity in an effort to keep you turning the pages (I assume Luthor’s not wearing the Infinity Gauntlet on that last page, because I don’t think Loeb would be that crazy…but I almost kinda hope he is). A lot of stuff I don’t like, the story makes no sense, and yet still: a very high OK. Go figure.
SUPREME POWER #16: For what it’s worth, I think taking Supreme Power out of the Max line will hurt the book a bit: part of what I like about it is the feeling that anything could end up happening in it whereas, at the Marvel Knight level, I feel like there’s less at stake somehow (kinda similar to why PG-13 horror movies are usually a mistake). And that feeling—that anything might happen—really helps with issues like these, where hardly anything happens. But maybe I’ll be proven wrong. Good.
ULTIMATE SECRET #2: I got really crabby and irritated by the time of the last three pages and am not sure why. Because the rest of this was very smart and clever and enjoyable: the implication that Galactus is the explanation behind Fermi’s Paradox is very smart and more than a little chilling. I don’t know if it was superhero overload in those last three pages or what, because I did think this was Good.
WONDER WOMAN #215 The new art team is making me give this another go and Rucka’s done a very good job of beefing up the minor characters, but, uh, I dunno. Still kinda Eh, if only because that was a tremendously half-hearted cliffhanger.