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A Quick Look at 01/12/05 Comics

Brian Hibbs

So, you may notice Hibbs never showed last week. Not surprising, I guess, since he was working on a Tilting at Windmills that just got published over at Newsarama (and I should really remind him to pop in here and post links to this stuff like I just did–what’s the point of a blog, after all, if you don’t remember to contintually self-promote?), but, still, he might want to show up for his blog at least once in a while.

Of course, yesterday at the store, he swore he was going to be on top of reviewing books this week and then added, “Although it’s Tzipora’s birthday on Saturday so we’ll see. It depends on what she wants to do.” Now, Tzipora is an incredibly great wife but I can’t see her saying, “Well, Brian, for my birthday, what I’d really like to do is read your review of New Thunderbolts #4.” Just. Can’t. See it.

So, just in case:

100 BULLETS #57: I thought the two conversations jumping back and forth in time read surprisingly well–gave Azzarello more to do with his predilection for wordplay than just craft puns–but I’ve hopped off the 100 Bullets train, I’ve realized. I stopped caring I don’t know how long ago, and so couldn’t tell you if the emotional resolutions here were properly set up and paid off from previous issues: I haven’t bothered to remember what happened in any previous issue enough to know. Seeing Eduardo Risso’s art every month for only $2.50 is a thrill, but I’m either waiting for the trade from here on out or dropping out entirely. Maybe better than OK but I just couldn’t tell ya.

ACTION COMICS #823: Imagine if Jerry Bruckheimer got Neil LaBute to write the next Superman movie and then got Michael Bay to direct it. That was this issue of Action, kinda–lots and lots of splodey with a few quick scenes centered specifically around sexual jealousy. Sadly, that sounds more interesting than it reads (cuz it reads, frankly, pretty damn crappy) but I wish Austen had the time or talent to flesh out his ideas: all we’ve got here currently is a pretty looking train wreck. Even though this is awful, I admit I eagerly pick up each issue of Action to see how awful it’s gonna be and that counts for something.

AQUAMAN #26: A lifetime of evil twin stories leads me to believe this is the “Mirror, Mirror” of the current Aquaman setting but, interestingly, there’s no particularly clear indicators this is so. It’d be great if someone picked this issue up cold and thought the first twenty-five issues had been about this bastard Aquaman sinking a city and subjugating humanity, wouldn’t it? Eh.

BLOODHOUND #7: It’s not that anything here is particularly original (I groaned aloud at the impending “child traumatized by death of pet” scene), it’s just that Jolley and Kirk really do it well: all the blood flying on the last page was shocking, but it’s the close up of Clevenger’s upset face that sells it. Bloodhound‘s officially a dead man walking and I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’m frustrated nonetheless. Good.

CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON #11: A very pretty looking issue, but I think they screwed things up by only having two Captain Americas and two MODOKs in this storyline–as it was, I could almost maybe understand it. If Priest had worked just a little bit harder, he could have put in two Falcons, two Nick Furys, and maybe a set of six or seven Sharon Carters…kind of a shame when a writer slacks and lets his story approach coherence, isn’t it? Eh.

DEADSHOT #2: Not sure I liked the last page (although, really, where else could it go?) but I really enjoyed the rest of this–for us urban types, the idea of one unstoppable bad-ass with no scruples cleaning up a neighborhood is an attractive one. I doubt the last two issues are going to meaningfully examine the dangers and fallacies in that kind of thinking, but as a little slice of nasty darkly comic noir, I’ll bump this up to Very Good in its own right.

HARD TIME #12: Some sort of lesson in supercompression here as Gerber jams almost all his plotlines into one speedy wrap-up. It’s not as satisfying as things resolving at the established pace, but still a Good read. Again, another book I’ll miss. And yet, when I read a blurb on the back page promising a “Season Two,” I weirdly found myself almost hoping it won’t come back. Sometimes it’s just better for a book to end (particularly when you get as poignant a final page as here) and let the creators get a chance to try something different.

JLA #110: There’s always a good scene or two in each of these issues but, uh, why hasn’t anything happened yet? And by anything, I mean, you know, socking and punching and giant green power ring head noogies and stuff. I may come off like a philistine here, but one would think the appeal of having the JLA fight a team of evil counterparts is obvious: you don’t need five issues to set it up. May read great in a trade but on its own very much an Eh.

JSA #69: It’s kinda interesting that Geoff Johns just finished a Teen Titans story where the Titans meet their future selves (or counterparts) and here he’s just starting a JSA where the Society meet their past selves (or counterparts). These types of stories used to be a staple of DC Comics and, as always, Johns seems very aware of that. Unfortunately for me, unless someone ends up as their own grandfather I get kinda bored. Clearly Good, but I guess my biases currently leave me blase about the whole thing.

MARVEL TEAM-UP #4: Donnie may hate Scott Kolins’ work but I’m actually enjoying it more and more all the time (and I think the colorist does a great job keeping all that thin line work from flattening out on the page). So I like this just as nice art at a nice price and will leave the whole Iron Doom/Golden Child storyline to more discerning critics. From here, it doesn’t seem particularly interesting but I’ll watch Kolins draw Iron Man any day. OK.

THE PUNISHER #16: The Punisher getting his ass kicked by a combat-trained short person hidden in a corpse’s backpack? Hell, yes! But everything else remained remarkably dull apart from that. Eh.

Finally, gotta mention TOYFARE #91: after several very lame and flat Twisted Toyfare Theaters, they bust out one of the funniest things I’ve read in months as Daredevil decides to sue Ben Affleck for the lousy Daredevil movie. Absolutely hilarious dumb fanboy humor and the closest a $4.99 price tage may ever come to being justified by a mere eight pages. Really great.

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