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Brian Gambols with 4/7 books

Brian Hibbs

What?!?!? Reviews of the books that aren’t even “5 minutes old” on the West Coast? Yeah, thought I’d try this for a week, and see the reaction. ReadySteadyGo!

AVENGERS ORIGIN #1 (OF 5):  I don’t know what all to say about the umpteenth retelling of the Origin of the Avengers — it’s a yeoman’s job on the writing, and the Phil Noto art is relatively keen — but I was much more interested that this is an “A” (ll ages) title from Marvel, and all of the house ads/etc, are aimed at a tween-or-younger audience. That makes it, somehow, not feel like the “real” Marvel U. I don’t really think the book looks to appealing to tween-or-younger readers, however, and the retro-nature of it (Cunning, angry Hulk, pointy-headed Jan, Clunky Gold Iron Man) also works against that audience. If you’re actually going for tween-or-younger, then more focus should have been put on Rick Jones and the other “kids” in his…gang? would that be the right word? But Rick is barely identified by name, and it’s wholly unclear that he’s the “leader” of the group, and there’s less than no understanding of Rick’s relationship to Banner… so I dunno. My point is target audiences are important things, and this wasn’t properly presented as an “A” book in the initial wave of solicitations. This issue was solidly OK.

BOYS #41: I’ve kinda drifted away from THE BOYS lately — feeling like Garth was sort of repeating himself over and over, but for some reason I grabbed the trades off my shelf when I went out for a smoke recently, and I chewed right through them in like a day. There’s a real long game going on that’s only barely discernible on an issue-by-issue basis, and there’s lots of mythology going on that’s just going to fly past you if you don’t read it in big doses. On the other hand, the Annie/Hughie thing is much less plausible on the Long Game canvas, so I guess it’s a trade off. I have to say though, I strongly disagree with the decision to mark “Herogasm” as THE BOYS v5 — that storyline, despite having a few important moments in it, sucks so much forward momentum from the series that it isn’t even funny. I think that’s the reason that my sales on v6 have been so disappointing. Anyway issue #41 is part 2 of a storyline, so not a place to jump back on the book, if you’ve drifted away, but I wanted to mention that the book maybe reads better in collection anyway, and, perhaps, this is as major and transforming work for Ennis as something like PREACHER, it just hides that nature in jokes about penises and assrape. #41 was GOOD.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #34: I’m not sure how I feel about the hand-grenade that has just been thrown into Slayer continuity with this issue. In fact, I’m not even sure if I understand that ending particularly well. But I’m intrigued enough to come back next month to find out. I just wish the likenesses were as strong as they were early on. I still can’t tell which character is which on more than a few pages. A reasonable GOOD.

FLASH SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS 2010 #1: Kinda-sorta “FLASH #0”, but I have to say that, especially for $4, I was pretty bored with this. Barry Allen just isn’t that compelling, and the continuity implant of his dead mom really isn’t compelling at all — it feels tacked on, and forced. The Flash shouldn’t be coming from a point of tragedy, but of joy and continuity (After all, Barry is the one guy in the DCU that we KNOW read comics as a kid, and specifically modeled himself on his predecessor, rather than falling into sideways [GL, The Atom]) On the other hand, I really really like the Rogues, especially the “classic kind”, so I’m willing to give the ongoing a chance. I guess I just feel like this is now the 10th issue of Barry, and I can’t muster anything better than an EH about the whole affair…

INVINCIBLE RETURNS #1: Don’t you have to go away before you return? A decent attempt at giving a jumping on point, but it just seemed like a lot of talk to me “I don’t want to kill, so I’ll change my costume”, but what’s going to happen when he walks back into war? I can’t see the essential nature of the character moving in any real different direction. Solidly OK, but not amazingly stellar, and I don’t think there’s much here that would convince a newbie they HAD to jump on the “real” book next month.

NEW AVENGERS LUKE CAGE #1 (OF 3): Pretty ugly I thought, and it didn’t seem to fill a point other than taking up a shelf-spot. Maybe too strong, but SC-scale-wise, I’ll go with AWFUL.

SHIELD #1 (MARVEL): On the other hand, I really liked this one. I can’t see how (at all) it has anything to do with Nick Fury, et. al., but, based on this first issue, I’m willing to give it the six months until they tell us the connections. It is kind of 1602-ish, except that it is actually IN 616 (at least I think so), and I can’t really see the “natural Marvel constituency” really getting into all of the 15th century hijinx, and a S.H.I.E.L.D series is a hard sell in the best of times, so this might not make it through the first year, but I really thought it was VERY GOOD.

TURF #1: On the plus side this is one DENSE comic book. There’s, what, 13 or 14 named, speaking characters? It took me TWO (different) smoke breaks to get all the way through this, and that’s pretty much everything you might want from a $3 entertainment package. The characters are compelling, well-drawn and distinct. The world is interesting and rich, and for a talk-show host, it is clear that Jonathan Ross has, in fact, done his homework and “gets” how to write for comics, bringing a distinct voice, and I very much would like to see more comics work from him, going forward. In fact, from a certain POV, this was probably the very best thing that I read this week, and I’m going to go with a very easy VERY GOOD. On the minus side, I want to say that I think this would have been a better comic if it had had a strong editor reining Ross’ obvious enthusiasm in just a tad — virtually all of the dialogue could have been chopped down by 10% and retained the same meaning and richness, because economy is also a virtue. Also, though we’ll see how it plays out, I’m thinking that Vampires vs Gangsters was probably enough for a first series without adding in the additional complication of the space aliens. We’ll see though — either way, I’m enthusiastically recommending that you check out this first issue.

WORLD WAR HULKS #1: This may represent what’s wrong with Marvel in a snapshot: trading on the name of a successful crossover, and filling it up with a bunch of completely and totally inconsequential filler. I mean, I guess it is nice to know that Bucky Barnes and Glenn Talbot have a cold war connection… but WTF does that have to do with the Hulk, or even the thrust of this storyline? There was no “World War” here, or even a page of actual “hulk”, let alone “(s)”, and they are still no closer to resolving any of the various mysteries about the “red” characters than they were before. AND it is $4, AND it leads (badly) into another mini-series that just seems utterly bankrupt in idea AND execution from what they’ve shown us so far. Gawd, I thought this was complete CRAP on all levels, and cynical and hollow to boot.

That’s what I have for you this morning… as always, what did YOU think?


10 Responses to “ Brian Gambols with 4/7 books ”

  1. It is interesting how fast Marvel has crashed The Hulk franchise. It seemed like, for the first time since Peter David left, they’d not only gained momentum and acceptance but also finally cracked the barrier of having more than one successful ongoing at a time; however, they got greedy and launched way too many books. Now I look at the solicits and it looks like utter nonsense.

  2. I’m with you on the Boys. I passed on the single issues due to the premise of the series sounding kind of blah. But for whatever reason I got the first four trades from my local library and tore through them. Really fun, really funny, its a pretty awesome book all around.

  3. Eric Canete don’t do Ugly, yo.

  4. Ugh. The Hulk thing has just been completely screwed. I was totally onboard for Planet Hulk, though WW Hulk was moderately entertaining but then had to walk away when they launched 3 books out of its non-ending. I’ve been following its progression on the various boards and have found it to be an in-cohesive mess. I’d like to buy a Hulk comic, just not any of these. Bleck. Is Marvel trying to scare its casual Hulk readers away?

  5. I gotta say, I’m actually enjoying the HULK stuff. Not because it’s GOOD or anything, because it isn’t – but at least they’re FINALLY starting to answer some of the random, endless mysteries that have been piling up on the book since it relaunched. Red Hulk killed Abomination so they could get his blood to mutate Rick Jones. Cool. Whatever. So long as there’s an explanation.

    My genuine for all this big fuckall crossover is that it will tie up all the loose ends (including the “Who is the Red Herring…excuse me, Hulk?” nonsense)that’ve been dragged out for what, two years now? And then we can start tell, y’know, real Hulk stories again.

  6. Agreeing on the Rogues, Johns writes them well as these gritty hardboiled criminals while they embody so many of the wackiest silver age stuff. Love the mashup

    “but it just seemed like a lot of talk to me “I don’t want to kill, so I’ll change my costume”, but what’s going to happen when he walks back into war? I”

    I believe that’s the point

  7. I dunno, Boys can be great and then there’s the odd volume that bores the hell out of me. The newest one, Self-Preservation society, was just awful. The art changes were messy and the story was completely redundant to what we already know about Vought American and their hold over the “supes” and the country at large.

    And there was virtually no progression of the Hughie/Starlight relationship. Very disappointed.

  8. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any reviews yet call S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel’s version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
    I’m torn on the book. Issue 1 was intriguing with some cool moments and lovely art, but there is a part of me that likes the idea of the modern Marvel U evolving from the 1940s and exploding in the Silver Age. Having all these aliens and such being encountered and fought in the past by historical figures takes some of that specialness away.
    And yeah, I can’t buy that Galactus came to earth BEFORE those issues of Fantastic Four. That’s just going a bit too far.
    I might pick up issue 2, but I’m waivering at this point. Don’t know if this is a Must Read for me.

  9. Avengers’ origin, no thankz.

    Boys I stopped this issue becuz of this review. i have a pile of Boys sitting around that i haven’t read since forever. tee.

    Invincible: never have, never will

    Buffy i got but i’ve been holding this Twilight business till the last issue of the story wraps. we shall see.

    Flash Sssshhh! Files I got in spite of not being impressed with Rebirth. i became bemused and curious with this issue. and i don’t even like Scott Kolins’ art.

    Luke Cage was gonna get but read a few early reviews and decided to live without it.

    SHIELD: fabo stuff. stopping here and t-waiting it. sold.

    Turf is a t-wait as well. set it and forget it.

    WWH(s) is a no-go. i’ve come thru the fall of the Hulks but this p.o.s.? i can’t go for that, no-oo-o, nocando.

  10. Avengers Origin is rated “A”, but for Marvel, “A” is “appropriate for ages 9 and up”. “All Ages” is all ages.
    Liked SHIELD (maybe its not Galactus, but aliens with a Galactus shaped balloon, intent on humans fleeing the planet-but not realizing we didn’t have space travel yet)?
    Bought Turf, but still haven’t gotten through it yet.(tried twice)!
    I was excited when I saw Flash #1 was out until I saw it was THE FLASH: SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS 2010 #1, and I put it back on the shelf.

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