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Crossing the Streams: Hibbs on 3/21 and 3/28

Brian Hibbs

Well, I didn’t do that much reviewing last week, but I think I made it clear, regardless that the 3/21 PICK OF THE WEEK was THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #2. Kinda decisively, too.

PICK OF THE WEAK? Dunno, let me think… looking over the week of comics, I’m sorta hard-pressed to find THE “yuck” book, but I guess I’d lean towards CONVENTION CONFESSIONAL #3, which makes the “standard” indy comic mistake of trying to blame everyone and everything for misfortune except for one’s own work.

BOOK / TP OF THE WEEK is a lot easier — my clear pick is FAFHRD & THE GRAY MOUSER. Rollicking adaptation by Chaykin, lovely art by a pre-HELLBOY Mike Mignola, I’m really glad this is now in print after something dumb like 15-20 years.

(A CLOSE follow-up would be BUDDY DOES JERSEY, packing HATE #16-30 in a single book, albeit without color. Actually, it works better without the color. Bagge was really on a roll in this period, and this is a very dense, and very funny read.)

Let’s start to roll forward on the books for 3/28, eh?

BLACK PANTHER #26, FANTASTIC FOUR #544: I think I’ll deal with these as a piece, since BP is basically FFII now. What’s sorta interesting to me is that BP had things I felt should be in a “FF” comic (most notably the stuff happening at the negative zone prison), while FF had stuff that felt like it more belonged in the “BP” comic (Primarily the “bombs in the embassy” thing). If you’re wondering about “order to read in” BP definitely comes first (so much so that the non-subplot portion of the comic pretty just ends with “go read FF”)

Oddly (or perhaps not, really), the two stories only kinda jibe — there’s two different takes on the first meeting with BP & Storm and Ben & Johnny, and they don’t fit all that well together; there’s also two different “T’Challa redecorates the Baxter building” sequences that felt written against one another to me.

Reading them together, I think I might have figured out why Hudlin’s Panther isn’t working for me, because it stands out juxtaposed against McDuffie’s take. Both are writing about one of the smartest men on the planet, a tactical genius, and so on. But it seems to me that Hudlin gets him there by writing all of the OTHER characters as idiots. HIs Ororo is weak, and fawning, because it makes T’Challa look stronger. Hudlin’s Ben Grimm is a idiot, and so’s his johnny (well, Johnny probably IS an idiot, but not Grimm, no.) McDuffie, on the other hand, just writes T’CHalla “up”, without undercutting the rest of the cast.

McDuffie also begins to play off threads he left in the BEYOND mini-series, and the back half of the issue becomes properly cosmic like a FF story should be.

I thought BLACK PANTHER #26 was very OK, and I liked FANTASTIC FOUR #544 enough to give it a GOOD.

WONDER WOMAN #6: Oh. Ouch. Lots of problems, not sure where to begin. Let’s start with the “naivete to the ‘modern world'”. Cute (-ish) once, but Picoult tries it out three different times in one 22 page story. Overkill. Further, Diana isn’t *that* naive. Second: Since when is DIana overly concerned what people think of her? It seems vain and empty-headed to me, and not the thoughts of one of the world’s premiere super-heroes. Thirdly, I can’t see Diana acting like that in regards to Sarge Steel’s demand that WW be captured — let’s not forget she was once (recently, even!) the Goddess of Truth. The Diana I know would simply fly up to Sarge Steel one day and say, “I heard you were looking form me?” (if asked how? “mm, Batman?” would probably work). Finally, we get to the big reveal at the end and… and… Circe? Again? The LAST Circe story was just a couple of weeks ago… and that one didn’t even CONCLUDE! I don’t know, the art was pretty good, but the story? fairly AWFUL.

That’s it for tonight… what did you think?


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