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Crazy crazy crazy nights

Brian Hibbs

It’s been a pretty insane week — between Halloween, the World Series (it’s a big deal in SF), Election Day, man it feels like there’s 40 billion things to do and see.

But I want to keep my hand in, yes I do, so here’s a couple of reviews for you…

Couple of “reboots” this week…

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #44:  Marc Guggenheim and Scott Kolins come on to JSA, after the failed reboot with Bill Willingham, and the results are pretty good. I haven’t thought a lot of Kolins as a writer (seriously, how do you do a sequel to KINGDOM COME and have *no one* care, pro OR con?), but as an artist, he’s fairly effective with layouts that zing, and clear storytelling skills.

Guggenheim’s writing is reasonably strong, but there are a few odd plot developments here that don’t do a lot for me: the opening page sets up a thread that could conceptually be interesting if it didn’t seem completely out of thin air (and then pretty much ignored for the next 21 pages), while the tragedy-building events for Mr. Terrific and GL seem odd — too “I don’t know what to do with a smart guy” in the former case, and too “This isn’t reflecting the Just Established New Status Quo” on the latter.

The ending of the issue is kind of horrifying (I think they should have flipped the last two beats, but that’s me), but I wonder if it will have a strong enough follow through — the aftermath of responsibility is one of the major themes that superhero comics haven’t really touched in many in depth ways.

All in all, this is a pretty solid start to a run on a title that hasn’t really had a solid direction pretty much since the renumbering to #1 (and the fracturing of the team with the JSA ALL-STARS title, and the various recent one shots) — I thought it was fairly GOOD.

TEEN TITANS #88: I’ve given JT Krul some shit for some of his writing in the past, but I thought this soft relaunch was fairly solid — it “felt like” the Titans (it doesn’t hurt that it is back to “the core cast”, not that I have anything against Static, Bombshell or the Martian chick, but much like JLA the book is usually at its best when it features the sidekicks of the “Big 7”), and that counts for a lot.

The art, by Nicola Scott, is her usual nice stuff — she’s not flashy enough to be a “superstar” artist, but it feels solid and grounded in the real world, which is always a plus.

This isn’t going to, dunno, win an Eisner or something, but it is solid enough superhero material, something that has been missing from the Titans comics for a couple of years — a (weak) GOOD here from me.

(Though I think that both TITANS and JSA would have benefited immensely from canceling the satellite books at the same time as these new creative teams came on…)

ACTION #894: I remember the “Good old days” when we went through cases of SANDMAN each month… soooo many “civilians”, gahd, that was wonderful.

So, it was charming to see Gaiman’s Death return, even if it is in a mainstream comic book starring Lex Luthor (seriously: what the heck?)

While the story is a BIT of a cheat (“near death” and all that), I was charmed and entertained by the appearance of the perkiest grim reaper, and all of the dialogue rang very true (Gaiman apparently went over it?) — Paul Cornell has pulled a neat trick with this book where every issue sells a smidge better than the one before (this is, currently a VERY RARE occurance), and this issue has (so far) spiked up about 20% in real sales for me. Hopefully the audience will stick around. I thought it was VERY GOOD.


Not comics:

THE WALKING DEAD “Pilot”: I loved it.

Seriously, the adaptation bits were pretty note perfect, and virtually all of the bits they added were, I though, good, strong additions. The two bits that didn’t work for me were (oddly) the opening, which I thought kind of undercut the start of the story by flashing forward (then not being clear where it fit in the episode), and the glimpse of the “rest” of the cast — I understand exactly why they did both, but I didn’t think either scene “flowed”

I also thought some of the FX work was a bit off (especially “Bicycle Girl”), but it more than made up with that by the crowd scenes and that awesome final tracking shot.  I’m way looking forward to watching this weekly — but I’m sad we’ve only got six episodes in the first season (already!) — I thought it was VERY GOOD.

The best part is it couldn’t happen to a more deserving comic — TWD is consistently one of the best reads on the shelves, and Kirkman has done just about everything right in the last year or two (that evil Image Lateness is just plain gone, yay!), keeping multiple formats in print, being smart and nimble in reaction to retailers and so on. Somewhere Dave Sim is probably smiling wide (if he does that, still)

I also caught “Dead Set” on IFC this weekend, which I guess is a year or two old for America — nice, creepy mini-series which sets the zombie apocalypse on the set of “Big Brother” and has a few interesting observations on fame and television and voyeurism, but which was slightly marred by the arc being kind of obvious — nearly everyone died in the exact way I thought they would after the first few minutes. I almost would have preferred it to be recut into a movie rather than as five “episodes”, since it is a single story (and ran about the length of a film, anyway, once you deducted the commercials); but I thought it was still solidly GOOD.

“Dead Set” has “fast zombies”, which are way more terrifying than “Romero Zombies” — one sort of can’t see how humanity could possibly survive the Fast zombie — but I’m not sure I bought the way they portrayed them exactly… if they’re dumb enough to not be able to climb a fence, or figure out how to get out of a hot tub (hahaha), then I sort of don’t think they’d be able to run — it isn’t that they can’t use that muscle power, but I see them more as falling over a lot, tripping, not being able to keep their balance, that kind of thing. Sort of like a 4 year old in an adult body.

I actually think about zombie invasions a lot — it is one of my rare pieces of complete irrationality. I don’t have any real weapons at home, but I think I could secure the house just well enough, if we had the proper warning. I take comfort in the fact that we’re well up in the hills based on the possibly inane conclusion that given a choice between going downhill and going uphill, the zombie will let gravity dictate their course. Plus, San Francisco has NO cemeteries within the City (our dead are largely buried in Colma), so we go from “no chance” to “maybe a small chance”.

Not with fast zombies though!

Anyway, the new comics will be here in a few minutes, so let me end this here…

What did YOU think?


4 Responses to “ Crazy crazy crazy nights ”

  1. I also thought the Walking Dead got off to a great start. The only complaint I have is the music they played during the final tracking shot. If they had only had the sounds of zombies, it would have been chilling. The song was too self-aware and willfully ironic in that “Hollywoody” way.


  2. I thought the Walking Dead was Masterful TV.

    I can’t wait to rewatch it though, because I viewed it at 200am this morning after I got done participating in the Giant’s partying in the Mission… sadly the Mission didn’t quit partying for another 4 hours or so.

  3. Don’t worry too much about the zombie apocalypse, Brian: http://www.cracked.com/article_18683_7-scientific-reasons-zombie-outbreak-would-fail-quickly.html

  4. When Dead Set was shown in the UK, Charlie Brooker, the writer, said the fast zombies were used due to production costs.
    The budget from channel 4 and the size of the cast didn’t allow for as detailed zombie make up desired.
    It seemed a fair compromise at the time. Nice to hear it’s being shown in the US now.
    We get to see TWD tomorrow night.

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