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Hibbs and the Single 11/30 (part one)

Brian Hibbs

Haven’t finished reading everything yet for the week, so this is just part one… but I’ll be pretty close to Old School Savage Critting, here…

ANGEL & FAITH #4: I’m kind of loving this book. I suspect that’s because both the premise, as well as the motivation of the protagonists is significantly more focused than over in BUFFY SEASON 9. The art’s fab, too. I honestly think this is VERY GOOD stuff.
BATMAN ODYSSEY VOL 2 #2: What. The. Fuck? I didn’t read #1 (and stopped reading v1 at #4, I think?), but whoa this has taken a serious turn towards the inexplicable with Caveman Batman and Robin, and dinosaur riding and man oh man Neal Adam’s style is kind of inherently “serious”, y’know, and completely works against what I think is meant to be a Silver Age Pastiche. Or tribute, maybe? Hard to actually tell. His Batman is zooming all around here, at one point really even sounding like a teenage girl (with an “I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.” as he starts to ride a giant flying bat, followed by a big ol’ “I love this!”, yowsers!) I m just utterly baffled at what Adams is going for, and it is ultimately stiff and awkward and weird. So much “Work For Completionists Only”, and kind of crazily AWFUL, sorry.
DAREDEVIL #6: The idea of a villain with sponsorship patches, like an anti-Booster Gold, is sort of amusing, but that was a bloodier end to the fight than maybe was needed. The McGuffin of the patch was likewise interesting, but I guess I just don’t see what the stakes are for DD. The art as is nice as always, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how this was a Daredevil story, and not a Spidey story. still, even with that, it’s still a low GOOD.
FF #12: I didn’t say last week, but I thought FANTASTIC FOUR #600 was pretty terrific, but no I didn’t like this. Maybe it’s because in a FF book, I want to see one of a quartet of individuals specifically driving the action; or maybe it’s because Bobillo’s art (dunno for certain if it’s a change in base-style, or the inker’s work) went from sweet cartoony (like in his run of SHE HULK, man, those are great) to like harder edge euro-styled art. Like, dunno, Alex Nino, and that whole school of Philippine artists that was most prolific at Warren in the 70s? Either way, not a change I liked personally. So, yeah, while I can appreciate the intricacy of FF, this left me feeling pretty distant, so best I can must is a weak OK.

FLASH GORDON ZEITGEIST #1: Back to the top start again on this venerable property, and it is done with adequate style — more enjoyable than the BUCK ROGERS reboot from last year, say. I’m just kind of loath to recommend any Dynamite book to people because I know if it show the slightest chance of catching on, Nickie will commission three different spin-off series, and we’ll lose all of our readers for it, and have to stop ordering it. But, anyway, that’s too meta! There was also an interesting choice at the end to have the rebel aliens come to Earth before ever encountering Flash, which would seem to me to be extremely likely to dramatically shear the central appeal of Flash which would be “Rugged American Individual goes to weird (and primitive, except for the spaceships) alien planets, shows them how incredible fucking awesome Rugged American Individuals are”. Tell me you can’t picture TEAM AMERICA’s “America: Fuck Yeah!” playing behind any filmed Flash Gordon to date, right? Well, we’ll see how that thread plays out, but I’m not optimistic on that. The rest of it I quite liked, though — and that is a pretty awesome Ming, so, sure, I’ll say this comic is a strong OK.

GAME OF THRONES #3: A lot of good choices in this adaptation, but the art’s a little cutsie to work, I think. EH.

HAUNT #19: New Direction! Jump On Now! I thought the Kirkman/Capullo run was just too much trying to evoke a Spawny/Venomy kind of 90s feeling, but Joe Casey and Nathan Fox really change it up well here. I’m going to put the bulk of that on Fox, I think, as this looks pretty much the opposite of a Capullo comic. Solidly GOOD, though I can’t say I would rush to buy another issue, necessarily.

STAR TREK ONGOING #3: Loving this, as well. Really, it’s kind of a brilliant idea to adapt the old episodes with the new cast, they’ve got 150+ issues of material on tap, without having to generate a new story idea, yet they seem fresh because of the new dynamics among the characters. Solidly GOOD.

THUNDER AGENTS VOL 2 #1: A much better first issue than the last one — action, AND plot movement, AND mysteries for the future AND soap opera is really the format that each issue of a super hero comic should deliver, and the first run had issues with only half or less of those in any average issue. Still, dang, in any incarnation of these characters, I’d have to say I think the appeal tended to be the artists drawing them (from Wood to Kane to Perez), and this is a writer-driven run, I think, from Nick Spencer. That’s not to say that CAFU isn’t fine (he [?] is), but not really in that same kind of weight class as many of the others. Ultimately, I kind of don’t care about these guys outside of that art nostalgia, so you’d have to be exceptionally exceptional for me to say anything better than an OK on this. And while this is competently done, that’s about it. If you have a jones for these guys, you’ll probably rate this much higher than I.

THUNDERBOLTS #166: I’m going to kind of recycle the last few lines of the previous review for this — this is competently done, but I have nothing emotionally invested in these characters, and this issue doesn’t do anything to change that, so, sure, it is therefore kind of EH.

ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #4: First issue of the 4 that I liked on its own merits. I think this miscalculated on scale — millions more dead, and this after the earlier devastation of New York… these things would dramatically change a world and how it operates, and it’s exhausting as a reader to boot.  THIS issue seemed a lot more personally driven, and so worked for me much better. It’s a low GOOD.

UNCANNY X-MEN #2: That’s all weird, and not really very X-Men-y (though, yes yes, I get “new premise” and all; whatever, I stand by that assessment), and it doesn’t suck, but it sure ain’t for me. OK

WOLVERINE #19: I like Funny Jason Aaron, I think, better than All Serious one. Very enjoyable, low GOOD

X-MEN LEGACY #259: I feel like I can see the sets, and someone left the script pages in the shot, and no no no no, you’re supposed to emote, dear! and it’s just little stick figures being moved around, and it’s no different than the rest of Carey’s run, mostly, and I think its unfortunately pretty AWFUL. I almost upgraded that just so we wouldn’t end this session on a down note, but ugh, can’t do it.

Right, more tomorrow (I think!), what did YOU think?

-B

13 Responses to “ Hibbs and the Single 11/30 (part one) ”

  1. I’m not one who generally finds things “so bad they’re good”–I regret wasting the time I spent watching Troll 2 and Plan 9 From Outer Space, for example.

    But I think Batman: Odyssey is so AWFUL it circles back into AWESOME. It’s such a bizarre comic I find it strangely compelling (I feel the same about Wolverine: The Best There Is, the first six issues of which read to me like Spain went insane and got a job at Marvel by trying to write like Steve Gerber).

  2. I have to agree with DanielT about Batman: Odyssey. It is wonderfully, magnificently bad. Awesomely bad. And I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

  3. Very sorry to her about Bobillo on FF, especially as I share your assessment of his She-Hulk work (that was actually something of a Marvel gateway book for me, which is either weird or very appropriate). I was all set to go buy it after #600, but your review comes on the tails of my LCS owner tweeting a much harsher assessment on the art than what you just made (and early Wednesday too!). Maybe I just think I should buy Shade instead, since that might well get canceled and FF won’t, for better or for worse.

  4. Yeah, I have to agree the art on FF #12 was a real turn-off. It was too jarring a switch from previous issues.

  5. I’d argue that Carey’s X-MEN run started out INCREDIBLY strong – but that may just be my Humberto Ramos love shining through. Still, his first year or so on the book had some great character moments and dovetailed really nicely into the MESSIAH COMPLEX crossover. It’s to bad it began its slow, unstoppable decent into utter shit just after that story wrapped up – becaming totally unreadable dreck to even to a twenty year x-vet.

  6. The fact that you gave the Ultimates book the same grade as Daredevil seems slightly perverse – the latter is one of the best-received and gorgeous new mainstream launches in years, and the other is The Ultimates.

    I will miss Carey’s X-Men, however, simply because it’s the one x-book out of them all that was written by someone who seemed to have actually read an x-book released between 1985 and 2001.

  7. I think the whole point of the Mongo folk coming to Earth is a realization that you CAN’T just roll out another retelling of the classic Flash Gordon story without giving it some sort of tweak and I credit them for realizing the Ming-Hitler connection would not be enough on its own. I’ve seen a lot of books go to hell after a good first issue, but I’m really interested in where Zeitgeist heads from here.

    Mike

  8. Haven’t been able to stomach Hickmans FF run for a while but that’s been much more of a writing problem than an art one. At least before killing Johnny he had to put up pretence of writing the other Fantastic Four members as major characters. He’s gotten so obsessed with his collection of kid genius’ that fans who like a character other than Reed may as well not bother reading. The high point though had to be where he gave the book over to the Inhumans for two issues of filler that didn’t mention the title characters at all.

    Combine that with the passionless, mechanical style of his and I’m at the point where I can’t wait for someone else to get a crack at this book.

  9. Thought Carey would have been a home run on X-men, but I gave up around issue 220-something. Just wasn’t feelin’ it.

  10. Okay, now that I’ve seen FF I will say I really liked the art. The problem is that it’s not the right art for the book. The real problem, though, is the book has no reason to exist anymore. But if FF is going to focus only on the ancillary characters I imagine it’ll be gone sometime next year anyway.

  11. I used to get such a buzz when the new Carey/Bachalo X-Men was out. I hung in there throughout the fill-ins (here’s hoping better for Aaron) and nearly dropped the book more than once. But he kept drawing me back in and I enjoyed the hell out of the Age of X mini-crossover. Carey is a good storyteller with genuine affection for the X-Men. He will be missed.

  12. I just don’t get some of the criticism that “FF without the main cast has no reason to exist.” If you’re a fan of Hickman’s run and the numerous plots he’s been weaving, then it’s reason to exist is to further those stories. Could this have been contained in one title? Sure. But, again, if you’re a fan then a twice-a-month dose of Hickman’s FF is great.
    And for those who don’t like Hickman, well, suck it up. As an Avengers fan I’ve had to deal with two and soon THREE!!! Bendis Avengers titles on the shelves. Eventually you’ll get a creative team on FF that you like. But in the meantime I’m going to enjoy the heck out of what Hickman’s doing.

  13. Dynamite is such a bad company in so many ways. I’ve been enjoying the Kirby Genesis main book but then 3 consequative months of ongoing spin off launches by third tier creators (except for the covers of course). Not good for anyone and I’m about to bail.

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