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Countdown to Killing Joke Headlines: Graeme is done with 1/16

Graeme McMillan

Man, Heath Ledger, huh? That really depresses me, for reasons I’m not entirely sure about. If nothing else, he was so young. CNN are, apparently, already hinting that playing the Joker contributed to the whole thing on air, which is both tasteless and the kind of thing that Warner Brothers marketing are both cringing and excited about simultaneously. Shall we think about comics, instead?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #547: The cheap joke would be to leave it at “Well, at least Spider-Man shows up this issue,” but that aside (And it really does feel like a cheat, the way the whole “I’ve quit being Spider-Man, even though I keep wearing the costume under my clothes! Hey, now I’m Spider-Man again!” thing is done so off-handedly, as if the only reason it was there was to keep Peter out of the outfit for the first issue to build suspense), this was more enjoyable than last issue for the most part – Slott does good Spidey dialogue, and the bad guys are enjoyably forgettable, which felt like a nice throwback. The story fits the weekly pace, as well, and so the whole thing seems enjoyably Good.

ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL #3: Wait, what? Admittedly, I missed the second issue, but someone seems to have had a word with artist Franco Urru, because everything’s actually easy to follow this time around… well, artwise, at least. Plotwise, I’m still lost, especially with that last page cliffhanger. That said, it still reminds me of the TV show’s weird off-kilter aesthetic more than the Buffy comic, and still seems pretty Okay to me.

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #15: Things continue to happen! And I continue to not care! Eh, if only because the ideas here should be much more compelling by this point.

THE FLASH #236: The first couple of issues of this revamp were wonderful, wonderful superhero comics with an energy and sense of purpose to them… So why did I find it hard to care about this final part of the storyline? Part of it may be down to the shift in art (I have no idea why I find Freddie Williams’ stuff less appealing here than I did when he was doing Mister Miracle, but I do), but it’s also that the stop-start nature of the threat – and the tenuous way it was revealed to be linked to the retconned piece of the Flash legacy that’s only been mentioned in the back-ups over the last few months – seemed to undermine any momentum the story tried to build for itself. I loved the character interaction, and the idea of the superheroing family is still fun, but almost everything else about this run seemed to slow down from a running start to this faltering, uncertain, Okay finish.

I still look forward to Tom Peyer’s run, though; I loved Hourman, way back when.

NEW EXILES #1: Finally, Chris Claremont has a book where he can recycle all his favorite character bits and fetishes without having to deal with continuity or what anyone else is up to! I’m not even that sarcastic in saying that; there’s something perversely compelling about seeing just what he’ll end up doing with this new team made up on pet characters and characterizations (C’mon, this Sabretooth is really just mid-80s Wolverine but taller) given relatively free reign. Also interesting/depressing: He really wrote a good Fantastic Four for those couple of pages before they died. Does that mean I’m stuck in the past? Nonetheless, more Okay than I would’ve expected. Almost Good, in fact.

STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION: INTELLIGENCE GATHERING #1: It’s as if someone at IDW had said “Take Graeme’s least favorite two ST:TNG characters” – Yes, I really do like Deanna Troi more than Data. I’m sorry, all – “and make a slow, but nicely illustrated mini-series starring them.” Reading like one of those dull filler episodes that you’d watch because nothing else was on at the time, but with cartoonily wonderful art, it took me a couple of minutes to remember that I haven’t liked Star Trek comics since Peter David did ’em. That, alone, has to be worth an Okay.

What did you all think?

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