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Five for Friday, but not the Spurgeon kind: Hibbs on 5/15/13

Brian Hibbs

Sorry, this is so late, but lots of stuff going on this week. Under the jump for four new #1s, and something that shouldn’t even have been printed!

(Really, that was a pretty shitty week for comics — I kept most of what shipped LAST week up on the shelf too, just to fill in room….)

AGE OF ULTRON #8 (OF 10): So, I’m reading this and I’m literally thinking, “Why am I reading this? This doesn’t count, this story didn’t happen being the inner-level alternate reality of an alternate-reality-driven comic. The last page when, dunno, something huge drops on New York, and the city goes up in hellfire and destruction? I’m thinking “Yeah, and…?” I mean, it didn’t happen, and it’s all just time-travel, alternate-reality nonsense, and there’s eight and one half minutes of my life that I desperately wish I had back. Wake me when the Angel-girl shows up to unthread this…. AWFUL.

AVENGERS ENEMY WITHIN #1: This is the first part of the CAPTAIN MARVEL / AVENGERS ASSEMBLE crossover, conveniently not attached to either series. I don’t know, this is pretty drama-free to me, because, just like AGE OF ULTRON above, I’m fairly confident that Kelly Sue DeConnick isn’t going to murder Carol, so “the enemy within” of her comic-book illness isn’t really much of anything at all, now is it? This also wasn’t really written with a new reader in mind — I felt like it thought that I knew what was going on when I opened page 1, and I really don’t, especially. And, more importantly, nothing on display here warmed me to Carol or Captain Marvel, or made me want to read or learn more about any of it. Foo! Also? The art was really bad, I thought — Scott Hepburn doesn’t seem to have basic control of anatomy or human proportions. I also have to give this one an AWFUL, though that’s more a limitation of the SavCrit scale… “Very EH” might be slightly more accurate…

DOOMSDAY.1 #1 (OF 4): John Byrne has been killing it with these sci-fi books now — I thought this was very much a airport best-seller from the 70s or something, and that’s not even slightly a complaint: there is an easy level of craft and professionalism on display here, with many dramatically distinct characters. This isn’t saying a LOT, since, like I said “shitty week of comics”, but I thought that this was easily the best thing that I read this week. VERY GOOD (and available on our digital store, he said fruitlessly)

DREAM MERCHANT #1 (OF 6) : One of two named “Dream” books, and the one I couldn’t really follow very well. The art by Konstantin Novosadov has some nice ethreal qualities, but it gets colored far too dark in too many places, and he kind of bobbles the faces again and again. The writing I thought was too self-indulgent, and should have covered twice the ground in half the space. WHAT IS THE ACTUAL PREMISE OF THIS COMIC? It’s really not in issue #1. A very very low OK. (You could also get this at our digital store… and the coloring might be tuned to a screen, for all I know)

DREAM THIEF #1 (OF 5): Our other “Dream” comic is much easier to follow as Jai Nitz gives you a reason to care for the protagonist, and set out a controlling mystery very effectively. And I thought the art by Greg Smallwood was extremely effective in the flashback-to-dreams sections. The story is kind of Little Nemo in Slumberland meets The Spectre, and while I found the mystery compelling, I’m not sure that the body count produced makes the book really my cup of tea. Still, this is a very very solid GOOD, maybe even a bit higher.

That’s what I thought at least, what did YOU think?


11 Responses to “ Five for Friday, but not the Spurgeon kind: Hibbs on 5/15/13 ”

  1. Brian, maybe this be attached to the tilting at windwills post but it it seems to fit here too:

    Why is Marvel still “killing it” each month? Every time I look at the monthly sales, I see Marvel way ahead with some stunt book or relaunch or rehash or reheated NEW version of the same old same old?

    How long can it last? It seems like forever. Is that right? Can Age of Ultron and its AWFUL SCR (Sav Crit Rating) be published every month and succeed? When will the emperor having no clothes be noticed?

    Too many question marks? Let me know. I can change.

  2. I realized sometime last week that the plot of Age of Ultron is the same as the final season of Fringe, except without all of the terrific emotional beats.

  3. @DUncan: “Why is Marvel still “killing it” each month? ”

    Double shipping and having a cover price 1/3 more expensive than “standard”.

    Its just math at a certain point.


  4. I thought Age of Ultron was the big Marvel crossover thing? But it’s an alternate reality story? Is it a What If sort of thing? I thought people didn’t like Marvel’s What Ifs. I thought DC’s Elseworlds was the only alternate reality game in town.

    Wow, I’m out of touch!

  5. I’ve thought Byrne has needed a real editor to work with him for a long time, but Hibbs is right on. There’s a basic level of storytelling competence on display in DOOMSDAY.1 that simply isn’t there with so much that’s on the shelves.


  6. Haven’t read “Doomsday” yet, but I just discovered “Next Men” about a year ago in those great hardcover collections that IDW put out and I absolutely loved it. A total roller coaster ride. Not the John Byrne I remember from the 1980s. Looking forward to “Doomsday.”

  7. So your criticism of Age of Ultron rests on that “it didn’t happen”?

  8. There’s a lot of problems with Age of Ultron–the pacing started out glacially slow, plotwise it can’t seem to decide where it fits into continuity, and for a crossover called Age of Ultron, it’s been distinctly lacking in Ultron, as someone else has pointed out. But it’s biggest problem, in terms of story arc, is probably the “it didn’t happen” issue, in my opinion.

    The story starts with Ultron destroying everything, which clearly hasn’t happened as all the other Marvel titles seem to be chugging on quite merrily. So it’s already set up to happen in an alternate timeline. Then when Wolverine creates ANOTHER alternate timeline, it’s a law of diminishing returns. It would be like if Age of Apocalypse had ended by segueing directly into House of M–if you replaced both premises with timelines that were much less interesting. (Because honestly, who cares about Morgan Le Fay?) Yes, they’re ALL imaginary stories, ala Alan Moore, but when the reset button is built in so clearly and the story itself is rather perfunctory, then it’s hard to get enthused.

  9. Age of Ultron: I’m starting to think of AoU as Bendis trying to take a very Morrisonian approach to a big event and getting most of it wrong. To be fair, there are a lot of things in Final Crisis I wasn’t a fan of, but at least Morrison’s super-brisk pacing gives you a better idea as to when something is a cool idea being thrown in to give things some pop and when something is a genuine story turn. (More or less, give or take.)

    Bendis’ “if I keep it in first gear, we have time to look at the scenery and have a nice chat!” pacing snarls all that up: reading it, you do get the sense you’re supposed to care about the destruction of post-Pym New York but…how could you?

    I dunno. I could’ve written all that in a separate post, couldn’t I?

  10. Oh Jeff, that first gear analogy is lovely.

  11. I’ll have to repeat here that Bendis doesn’t do alternate timelines. He only does single-timeline stories. The storyline might not make sense unless it’s placed in an alternate timeline, but that’s an example of the reader doing what the editor is supposed to do.

    The ramifications of AGE OF ULTRON probably won’t show up until the last issue. Whether they’re valid or not can be debated then.


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