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Groggy Morning Breakdown: A Few Reviews from 6/1 Comics.

Brian Hibbs

Guh. I’d planned to wait one more week before diving back into the funnybook game but since Hibbs is apparently an even lazier bastard than me, lemme eke out just a review or two….

AQUAMAN #31: I flipped through this pretty fast, but I get the sense the writer wrote it slightly faster. We get flashbacks to Aquagirl getting her ass beat by the serial killer and then disappearing (thus creating whatever actual tension the issue has) and then at the end of the comic she just pops up, safe and unharmed. Why and how? Oh, because the issue’s over? Oh, okay. Awful.

EMO BOY #1: Wrong cover if you ask me, because it suggests we should take Emo Boy and his emoness somewhat compassionately, something the cartoonist has no interest in doing whatsoever. I guess if you really, really hate yourself some emo, you’ll like this, but I usually like my “ha ha ha, everyone sucks” humor to either have more compassion or more obvious talent, which is why I find, say, Clowes’ takedowns to be brilliant, and this to be merely Eh.

EXILES #65: Clever, but there better be a clever “similar but different” change-up in the next issue or this book’ll have no reason to exist. Hibbs and I spent an absurdly long amount of time as to whether “lost and get home” series (Lost In Space, Quantum Leap, Sliders, etc.) really work for longer than three years before everyone loses interest. He says yes, I say hell, no. Either way, though, these guys may have clevered themselves out of a job unless they have a dynamite follow-up. OK.

HOUSE OF M #1: Bendis’ most accomplished big hero spectacular to date, which is mighty faint praise, I know. It’s more or less a very accomplished issue of Secret Wars II (all the superheroes get together to debate whether an unstable person with reality-changing powers should be iced) with a last page twisteroo that made me yawn. But Xavier and Magneto at least sound like themselves and not like David Mamet, and the art is pretty so what the hell? A very high OK, I guess.

INCREDIBLE HULK #82: A fill-in issue with really pretty art. Nothing more, nothing less and on its own terms, Good.

SEVEN SOLDIERS ZATANNA #2: I’m more or less underwhelmed–although this wasn’t terrible or anything. Art’s good; dialogue is witty; and I guess it’s kind of clever that there’s an Emily The Strange analog running around, but there’s some crucial way I’m not connecting with the material I can’t quite figure out–I guess I kinda can’t figure out what Zatanna’s whole deal is here. A lowish Good because it’s still pretty good compared to what’s out there this week but I have me some reservations, yessir.

SHANNA THE SHE DEVIL #5: Yes, yes, dinosaurs, boobies, “Holy Buckets,” got it. If I was ten years old, or it turned out Frank Cho was, maybe I’d be thrilled. On the other hand, if I was ten, I’d probably still be wondering why this was seven issues instead of two. My disgruntlement inclines me toward Awful.

STRANGE #6: Well, at least Clea turned out to be from another dimension after all. So I guess there’s that but the rest of it stank pretty heavily. As long as all involved pretend to forget it ever happened, I’m willing to let it off with an Awful.

SUPER FUCKERS #1: If this had been $2.95, no problem: it’s a cute little spin on The Legion of Superheroes, if they had really acted like teenagers. But seven-fuckin’-bucks? I can’t wrap my head around why this book has to cost that much. The price tag makes it Awful.

SUPERMAN BATMAN #20: Loeb’s bizarro dialogue really hurt my head, but Batzarro was really fuckin’ hilarious regardless. But the real problem was the rest of the book–it seems to be working up to a critique of the Ultimates approach to grim and gritty rebootings of classic superheroes, a position Loeb would be better suited to criticize if he hadn’t just had an arc where Superman strangled Wonder Woman with her golden lasso and other creepy shit. On the other hand, Loeb is such a lunatic when it comes to plotting, who can really say where this’ll end up? A very high OK just for Batzarro alone.

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE #1: Like this week’s Nightmare book, a much better representation of the films than the previous Friday the 13th one-shot, although this suffers from being tied to the recent remake and its cast of thousands approach. Burrows’ art is also surprisingly perfunctory in a lot of places, although his gore is as nasty-looking as ever. OK.

WALKING DEAD #19: The book I liked the best this week although I also have some quibblage about it. (Those zombies from Block A sure arrived at one hell of a convenient time, didn’t they?) Still, let’s call it a Good and hope the pacing evens out a little–I feel like Kirkman is driven to produce bigger and bigger shocks each issue and that may end up missing some good character beats. But somewhere between Good and Very Good.

PICK OF THE WEEK: King Crabbypants liked Walking Dead #19, but what the hell do I know? I spent most of this weekend reading Sgt. Frog, Vol. 2.

PICK OF THE WEAK: Shanna The She-Devil #5 and Strange #6 are so much less than the sum of their parts, I’ll give it to both of them.

TRADE PICK: WE3, no question. Don’t know why the higher price point than Seaguy (yes, yes, nice paperstock and all, but…why?) but so darn lovely I guess I don’t care. The one to get.

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