Posted by: on March 25, 2009
Yeah, OK, so I lied to both you and myself about my scheduling. I’ll be better in the future, I promise. I’ll also try to be more… savage… in my criticisms, hopefully regarding some books that aren’t *too* obvious of whipping boys. (What’s the point of making fun of Ultimatum at this point?)
So yeah, comics!
I read some good comics! And some mediocre comics, and even one utterly, completely, fucking terrible comic, which I will review since there were complaints last time I wasn’t “savage” enough. Let’s see how we roll now, bitches.
New Avengers #51
Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayamn! First: Billy Tan really isn’t very good at all, I’m sorry, and he needs to be put on a book more suited to big whiz-bang action sequences than this. It’s the same problem David Finch had with working with Bendis (although then again David Finch found a new home with Jeph Loeb) – he just isn’t very good at anything other than stuff that’s supposed to make you go, “Damn! That shit is BADASS!” If it’s not supposed to be badass – they can’t draw it. So it’s funny that the most BADASS sequences of this issue went to the immensely talented Chris Bachalo, while Billy Tan got to basically draw the Avengers version of chillin’ at your bro’s crib smoking a spliff and watching the Battlestar finale. But at least we don’t have any blatantly repeated panels, so we’re a step above last issue.
That said, the writing – I’ve talked a while ago on FBB about how I feel like Bendis really works better with long-term plotting, where he can drop shit out of nowhere in an issue where you’re expecting standard decompression that just surprises the shit out of you. I won’t spoil it for obvious reasons, but there’s absolutely one of those moments in this issue, and it was unexpected and genuine and really well-done on Bendis’s part. As flawed as the art is, I love these characters and Bendis’s plans on them so much that I’d honestly pay $3.99 just for a printed copy of the script if I had to. In the grand scheme of things it’s a Very Good chapter of a Good comic.
Amazing Spider-Man #589
Welcome to the Web-Heads, Fred Van Lente! HOPE YOU SURVIVE THE EXPERIENCE (of thousands of dorks emailing you asking when One More Day will be undone)
Siqueira does a good job on the art – he’s solid but the dude needs to continue developing his own distinctive style – but it’s Van Lente who’s the star here, rehabilitating the Spot (from the place he left him in the Super-Villain Team-Up: M.O.D.O.K.’s 11 miniseries) and making a certain joke I won’t spoil work that absolutely, positively, definitely should have been the dumbest, nerdiest, most unnecessary reference ever. But in the script – it works, and it works really well, especially with Cory Petit’s assistance. Other than that, it’s another Good issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which has done a pretty admirable job not being a shitty comic despite having so many chefs in the pot, especially considering the lineup of relative winners they’ve had since “New Ways to Die.”
Immortal Iron Fist #24
Another oneshot interrupting the main story that’ll probably be collected in a separate trade, but I don’t really care, because the book is just brimming with ideas. I’ve never read D-Swyz’s prose work, but I was a fan of his since I read his first issue of Cable – not because it was especially good, but because all of its problems were symptomatic of getting your brain around the medium, not of a lack of talent in the first place. The potential that I saw has been completely fulfilled since, and his work on Iron Fist – perhaps Marvel’s most fertile idea-soil of a franchise in a long time – is what’s done that. I mean, a pacifist Iron Fist – when Fraction and Brubaker rebooted the character in 2006, they came up with ideas like Iron Fists with guns and stuff, but the… simple complexity… of a pacifist Iron Fist could lead to any number of stories, one of which is told here and perfectly fits in to the recently-established history of K’un-Lun. Very Good.
Incredible Hercules #127, Captain America #48, Daredevil #117
Do you really need me to tell you these books are pretty great?
Oracle: The Cure #1
So, uh, yeah. This was… a comic? Kevin VanHook said he got this assignment “primarily because [he’s] a computer geek.” Look, I’m used to some technical inaccuracies in comics like this, I can accept them – when you’re dealing with macroscale technology like Ultron or a Mother Box, I’m fully willing to accept some sort of superintelligent or divine variable that I can’t fathom. But I work dealing with programming and computer logic, and this is some serious bullshit from both mathematical and logical perspectives. The Anti-Life Equation represented as a set of numerical constants transformed into diamonds that when combined blow someone’s head off? Are you fucking serious? Kevin VanHook’s script is internally consistent and his dialogue is relatively grounded, but there’s a certain fetishistic quality to the book – especially in the shower segment drawn by Julian Lopez – that makes it fail on both the personal/microscale and big-ideas/macroscale levels. Awful.