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Brian catches up on 2/24 and 3/3

Brian Hibbs

One more bit of housekeeping: when we switch, sometime later this week, to our new hosting provider, the site will go black again. Kate says “about 3 hours”, but I’m going to say “up to 24 hours”, just to be safe. Once that passes, however, we should be good to go for the long run (he said, his fingers crossed)

Plinking out things I’ve missed over the last two weeks…

FALL OF HULKS RED HULK #2: Maybe it is me (it often is!), but if I were buying a book called “Red Hulk”, I’d expect to read a story about, oh, dunno, the Red Hulk maybe? I might even hope that it would tell me something (anything!) about the character. But it doesn’t. this comic is instead about Thundra. Which, like, fair enough, calling it “Fall of the Hulks: Thundra” might have not sold at all. The entire FOH storyline makes me think of LOST, season 2 — where they really didn’t have any idea what they were doing, and they just kept piling on mysteries hoping that the mystery itself would keep you interested. In my case, it sure ain’t, and I thought this was pretty AWFUL

THOR #607 SIEGE: Huh. Did, like, they tell Gillen to write this, and then not tell him anything about the story that was going on, whatsoever? I mean, it is bad enough that there’s a bunch of stuff about Tubby that directly contradicts what is happening in SIEGE EMBEDDED (not that, in and of itself, that’s a horrible thing, but you’d think that some editor, somewhere would say “Hey, hold on…!”), but I have dire and epic problems with the portrayal of  Loki here — Loki is shown DIRECTLY killing and imprisoning his fellow Asgardians. Uh, yeah, no. That’s not Loki — Loki always works through catspaws, leaving himself completely blameless. Assuming that anything of Asgard comes out at the end of this storyline (and I imagine that it must if only because there is a movie coming out soonish), how is Loki not going to be executed for his actions here? Also: the title character doesn’t appear in his own comic, hurrah! I also thought this was pretty AWFUL.

Flash forward a week…

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #33: I find it fairly funny that Brad Meltzer, who is reasonably reviled in certain circles, is turning in the best scripts that anyone has managed so far on BUFFY. I’ve been, for the most part, enjoying BUFFY, but it has been fairly clear to me that the TV writers bounce around from “Only sorta getting” the rhythm of a comics page to outright “not getting it”. Meltzer DOES clearly “get it”, and the emotional beats and humor here is all really aces. VERY GOOD.

CROSSED #9: In which Garth Ennis proves, once again, despite being able to see into the sick heart of mankind’s limitless darkness towards itself, is actually a big ol’ sugar-bear softie in the inside. Aw, a happy ending, with walking off into the sunset and holding hands and everything. AWWWWWWWWWWW. I’ll go with GOOD.

FIRST WAVE #1: Just looking at the book itself, I thought this was a fairly solid and straight ahead creation of “Earth-Pulp” that worked very well — I’ll give it a GOOD; but I’m dumbfounded that DC isn’t giving the audience a chance to decide whether or not they like this approach before also launching DOC SAVAGE and SPIRIT *monthly ongoings* that both start next month. Really? Isn’t that basically what completely cut the legs out from under the Red Circle titles? When a series title has shown multiple times over the last decades that it has a hard time finding and attracting and keeping an audience, the solution is to bundle them together as a “line”? Even though the basic qaulity here seems a lot stronger than the Red Circle stuff, I can’t for the life of me imagine any of these books now taking off or doing better than, say, 5k-ish by month #6; nor do I think these will have legs in collected formats either. Too bad, this is a fine start, but you can’t over-saturate the audience before they’ve even decided the like the original product…

KEVIN SMITH GREEN HORNET #1: Same basic problem here. Launching a new GH, by Kevin Smith would seem like a rational move — but it’s deeply irrational to launch like FOUR more series from the premise before the ink is even dry on the first one. This issue sold better than I had thought that it would (I even had to reorder), but the expansion plans for the title already have me reconsidering my orders for the next issues — people might want one GH book… they don’t want five. I thought this first issue was fairly EH.

GIRL COMICS #1: Maybe it is just me (and, again, it probably is), but this really read to me like Marvel had commissioned too much material for STRANGE TALES, realized it, then commissioned even more work to fill out a second mini-series. That’s probably NOT what happened, but it is how it read to me — STRANGE TALES frontloaded most of the really terrific stuff in issue #1, and the quality dropped precipitously after that. This is ST #4, and except for the AWESOME Collen Coover introduction, just felt like a waste of talent and pages to me. I left it feeling extremely EH, and I’m not really looking forward at all to issue #2 (or 5, heh!)

JUSTICE LEAGUE CRY FOR JUSTICE #7: I’ve several problems here. The first is that, structurally, this thing is a mess — we start the story with Congorilla and Mik-Star seeking vengeance, and then maybe coming to the conclusion in the middle that “vengeance” isn’t at all the same thing as “justice”, and we end the series with Ollie throwing that all away with an act of murder. You can debate the value-or-not of that act (but I’ll pass), but thematically, this is just a muddled mess.

Then we can take issue with the “women in refrigerators”-style killing of innocents to simply deliver shock in the lowest-common-denominator kind of way, but David and Tucker covered that ground pretty damn well. I can’t add much other than “a city dead and his arm bloweded off ain’t enough, you got kill the guy’s daughter, too?”

But I honestly think my biggest problem is that you have a majorly Gardner Fox-style problem (your specific powers set off the bomb), and they didn’t go for the Fox-ian solution? SWITCH BOMBS, DUMBASSES. That’s JL 101, damn it.

There’s also let’s-make-Prometheus-a-non-joke-again, then-kill-him-off-on-the-last-page, or The “Wait, how’d Ollie defeat the guy who can shoot faster than the FUCKING FLASH can run?” or the “Wait, where’s Diana’s magic truth-telling lasso?” or… well, color me frustrated.

As I’ve said, now that Robinson is past this and the BLACKEST NIGHT tie ins, I’m really liking his “main” JL run so far, so maybe we can collectively write this off as some sort of editorially-mandated bad dream or something, but, damn, this was really CRAP.

ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #5
ULTIMATE COMICS NEW ULTIMATES #1: I honestly don’t understand how these two books relate to one another… or why they’d publish two books that seem to if not contradict one another, at least not support the other… or why they’d try high profile launches with good-artists-who-can’t-keep-rational-deadlines… or, to top it all off, TO SHIP THEM IN THE SAME DAMN WEEK.

What the FUCK is wrong with you people?

I thought “Avengers” was pretty EH and “New Ultimates” was reasonably OK, but when they invariably miss their next shipping dates, and the audience decides that they’ve had enough and they can’t figure out the continuity and, hell, what did we see in the “Ultimate” line in the first place? well, don’t come crying to me, chums.

I mean the majority of the books that I talked about this week are prime examples of Why Is The Audience Shrinking? and don’t the publishers see that? Don’t they GET it? I’m not very smart, but I can watch, in my own store, as the audience slowly leaks away, skulking off in the night, because they’re just sick of the behavior of the publishers… and it JUST DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY, HONESTLY.

Publishers make me cry.

As always, what did YOU think?

-B

8 Responses to “ Brian catches up on 2/24 and 3/3 ”

  1. Cry For Readers?

    And:

    “SWITCH BOMBS, DUMBASSES.”

    Seriously? I can see Prometheus lying about the triggers, so that the JLA switches up and they *still* go off, in an upending the Basic Fox Plot. But, no?

    Wow. And here I thought I couldn’t have any less respect for htis mini after the adolescent morality and the one-note characterization. And yet Robinson is the gift that keeps on giving!

  2. “before also launching DOC SAVAGE and SPIRIT *monthly ongoings* that both start next month”

    Wait: what the hell? I haven’t been paying attention to solicitations… They only waited a single month to launch spin-offs? ONE MONTH? How does that make any sense?

    The original article I’d seen on the project did say “Azzarello confirmed there will be new ongoing ‘Doc Savage’ and ‘The Spirit’ monthlies spinning out of ‘First Wave,’ as well as others series”… but I guess I’d assumed they’d wait … well, more than one month from the first issue. (I’d assumed they meant it’d spin-out after First Wave was over, that First Wave would come… first, but…)

    I thought it was a reasonable first issue, but if the criteria by which you judge it is “was it a good enough reintroduction that you could spin out two ongoing series a SINGLE MONTH LATER”– then it’s an abject failure. But… what could possibly succeed by that criteria?

    I mean, maybe I’m overreacting, but: one month? It sounds like they’re just murdering this thing in the crib.

    This is as interested as I am in a mainstream project, this First Wave thing. I’m even looking forward to spin-offs on this thing because– this just sounds like such a cool project to me. But… spinoffs this soon just sounds like such a mistake. How do you launch a Doc Savage spin-off before you’ve properly reintroduced Doc Savage to a new audience? I thought the whole point of First Wave was to do that– but … that takes more than a single issue!

    Are they going to force me to read the spin-offs to understand First Wave? I really can’t imagine they’d pull that one…

  3. Well, at least the spin-offs sound pretty good. Doc Savage has the guy who wrote “The Chinatown Death-Cloud Peril” working on it, and the Spirit has a Harlan Ellison-Kyle Baker comic in issue #2(!). $3.99 comics for these characters, though…? Mark Schultz writing the Spirit main feature, though… It seems like they’re making good moves in key ways but…

    I mean, I really, really like the sound of this whole project, really interested by the whole thing, but … what a way to roll it out…

  4. Aaaaaaaand Schultz is gone after Spirit #2.

    He overbooked and had to pull out.

  5. Brian, don’t stop reviewing. Ever.

    Not only are these reviews great, well-reasoned, and fairly consistently posted, but it really impresses me that 1. a retailer would willingly give his honest, and not always flattering, opinion about the week’s books, despite the fact he’s in the business of selling them, and 2. that you supplement your reviews with your impressions, from a retailer’s point of view, of what the intentions behind such projects are.

    The latter detail often rubs me the wrong way when people try the “mindreading” bit, but I don’t feel like you’ve ever claimed to know more than you actually do, and you always make it clear that whether or not you’re right about why certain books were put out, you have a pretty good idea of how well they’re going to do.

    So yeah, the effort to write these things is appreciated.

  6. I jumped right on First Wave and am interested in more. I especially like the idea of using Batman (Bruce) here while allowing him to remain dormant in DCU proper or whatever.

    52 universes and we’ve gotta rush the guy back into circulation in under a year? Color me a Grayson fan, I guess.

    Also, while the coloring was nice and Morales art looks pdg as always I was almost more interested in this as a B&W. his shading in the previews really gave the line work a great weight and heft. Oh well, one man’s opinion. As always, thanks for the reviews!

  7. Meltzer DOES clearly “get it”, and the emotional beats and humor here is all really aces. VERY GOOD.

    I haven’t read this book you’re reviewing, but I must still disagree with your review. I find it hard to believe Brad Meltzer could do good humor or anything competent much less “very good.” My guess must be that whatever preceded Meltzer’s work on this series was so awful it created the illusion that Meltzer wrote something good.

  8. I haven’t liked everything Robinson writes lately, but a CRAP rating? I think Robinson paid off why the JLA 101 bomb switch wouldn’t work (he’s considered every possible solution), no explanation for the GA ending whatsoever. Maybe an EH, but seems like it’s being penalized for things that Marvel routinely gets a pass on in their big event/repercussions throughout the MU for years to come. Especially Millar’s Avengers, which was nicely drawn but is lazy CRAP, and the current issue features at least one ‘woman in the refrigerator’ but gets by with an EH. And Loeb?

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