Posted by: Brian Hibbs on August 19, 2004
Jesus. I’m putting together this month’s newsletter and I know Hibbs has a Tilting deadline on his back, but this is ridiculous. Thanks to the miracle of blog-time, it feels like nobody’s posted anything here in eleven million years. So, since I’m tired of trying to figure out new ways to hype books I haven’t read (and didn’t even know about before this morning), I thought I’d throw in my two pennies on some books from last week. I dunno, for those of you who might be hitting the store a week late or something.
BLOODHOUND #1 &2: I picked these up only because Hibbs recommended them; the solicit text for the series didn’t grab me (something like “rogue serial killer profiler” or somesuch, a hook that’s just way too overused in movies, comics and TV these days) and the Dave Johnson covers, surprisingly, actively turned me off (how he made the link between rogue serial killer profilers and the colorform sets we had when we were kids is beyond me). But the art and story on this are fab, some very confident and even subtle storytelling going on amidst all the eye-gouging and toilet-throwing. Lord knows they could screw this up really easy (I’m really liking the lack of metahuman blabbity-blab but I bet that won’t last too much longer), yet for now I’m quite impressed. Good.
JSA #64: The Brute & Glob incarnation of Sandman comes around yet again, and it’s almost as creepy as Gaiman’s turn on it. I wishI knew what it was about this silly Simon & Kirby series that makes guys like Geoff Johns write dialogue like “I’ll fill Sandman’s pillows with your innards!” It’s not like I’m going to become creeped out by Brute & Glob, you know? Wake me when the JSA fights those crazed gang-rapists, The Dingbats of Danger Street. Eh.
POWERS v2. #3: Oh, right. Calista! I remember her. Nice stuff, although for once I wished the characters would just stop speaking Bendis and tell each other what was going on. Still liked it though. Good.
PUNISHER #10: When is a good comic not a good comic? Sweet art, good dialogue, decent plot–and yet I didn’t like it at all. I’m a big fan of big noir emptiness, but even, I don’t know, James Ellroy, for example, makes you feel for at least one or two of his nasty fuckers. There’s just no “in” with this story for me, so I don’t care much where it goes. It’s a drag. Eh.
SOAP OPERA: I really liked Emily Blair’s one-shot about two friends who bonded over soap operas slowly growing apart–so much so I did all these other reviews so I could mention it. Not perfect (the black and white woodcut-styled art looks lovely but occasionally stiff and I think Blair biffs the story’s climax by giving two of the three main characters confusingly similar hair color and outfits) but the dialogue is strong, the ideas well-developed, and the ending tender and apt. Blair’s got the potential to become a signficant talent, and I hope she gets the attention she deserves to become one. One of my favorite books of the week. A high Good.
SPIDER-MAN #5: I liked this more than the previous four issues which I’m afraid isn’t saying too much. Millar turns down the grit-o-meter some, but it still feels like it’s being written far too fast. On page three, Peter’s caption boxes talk about how his spider-sense is allowing him to sense Mary Jane distressedly opening an envelope in the next room, and on page four he’s completely shocked there’s someone in the same room with him. And although Frank Cho is an extremely talented artist, his women all act strangely tranquilized and his perfectly drawn figures seem as light as balsa wood when they’re put into action–and that’s not even mentioning a brief scene with a bus that seems to come out of nowhere due to some bad staging. I know this is me sweating the small stuff, but the underlying current of what’s either sadism or cynicism just rubs me the wrong way. Not quite Eh, not quite Awful.
TEEN TITANS #14: Kind of an interesting contrast to the Spider-Man title above. When Johns either tries too hard or gets over-extended, he, like Millar, turns nasty and sadistic–throwing hints of vivisection into a story about kids turning into big green animals doesn’t make the story any less dumb, it just makes the story nasty and dumb. But the scene between Robin and Superboy points to a Geoff Johns who can actually use characterization and empathy to make his stories work. I worry we’re seeing more and more of Johns the former and less and less of Johns the latter, which is pretty unsurprising in these Identity Crisis days. Kind of a drag, though. OK.
There. Enough reviewing of the comic books. Now back to–writing about comic books!