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Hibbs assays 1/20

Brian Hibbs

I really REALLY should be working on the new TILTING (I finally got the BookScan numbers, and it’s like a 20+ hour job to write that column each year), but promises are promises….

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #31: Comics like this really make me say “Double-you-tee-eff” out loud, and get my six year old asking me “What does that mean, daddy?”. I decline to state for Ben, but for you? Look, the problem with this comic is it literally could have been any character in the Atom role. Oh, sure, he’s the only one who naturally shrinks, but there wasn’t anything besides his power that he added to the story. Couple that with a Joker origin that doesn’t match any other Joker origin anywhere, and I’m wondering what’s going through DC’s head. I’m of the mind that the Joker works (or, maybe “works”) because he’s transcendentally insane, not because he’s a garden variety crazy person who kicks puppies, or whatever — I mean, if you’re going to contradict Alan Moore, then you really need to be much better than him. And this isn’t that. JMS said in some interview somewhere or another that these B&B stories are going to add up to something down the line — but I can’t see anyone but the most extreme DC completest staying the course until he gets where ever he thinks he’s going. So far he’s had issue after issue of showing he doesn’t really “get” most of the characters he is writing about, and they’re just puppets acting out ill-fitting roles. Puppet show or Spinal Tap? I’ll take Spinal Tap, please — this was purely AWFUL.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #602: I kind of like the conceit of having the follow-up to the Cap/Bucky thing being called “Two Americas”, and not having Steve Rogers have anything to do with it whatsoever, but I think I would have liked this a lot better if we hadn’t had to have that 8 month (or whatever) gap. I trust Brubaker to go somewhere with this, but it FEELS like Time-marking here, and CAP really didn’t need to have been interrupted to have told this story. I might have gone with a “Good”, but, damn, that “Nomad” story is totally out of place here in tone and craft, and it raised the price by a buck, and even DC seemed to quickly figure out that the concept of “extra content” doesn’t go far for the extra price. Downgraded to OK because of “Nomad”.

DARK AVENGERS #13 SIEGE: Another serious “double-you-tee-eff” moment here as Bendis rewrites Sentry’s origin YET AGAIN to not only suggest he’s a junkie thief, but also is, apparently, God, with a Capital G. Either that, or Capital G God isn’t actually God, but it, dunno, an Alien or something maybe? Who knows what Bendis is thinking here, really? The big problem with Sentry is he’s become like a Silly Putty transfer from a comics page — all stretched out and weird and not looking very much at all like the original any longer. The big problem with this comic is it really isn’t a “Siege” tie-in, except in some sort of nominal and distant way — anyone picking this up BECAUSE of the branding is, I think, likely to be extremely disappointed, unless something bugfuck happens in SIEGE #2 or later. At least it was pretty to look at. EH.

DARK WOLVERINE #82 SIEGE: There’s something wonderfully creepy about Dakan and his sexually charged powers. Not something that I would read for pleasure, no, but at least it is sufficiently different than anything else I read this week. The cliffhanger was entertaining, too, though one can’t imagine that’s going to stand, and, if it does, this is a pretty major spoiler… OK

JOE THE BARBARIAN #1: I liked this quite a bit. Not quite loved, because I thought the writing of some of the transitions were a bit awkward, but I just loved the art to death, and the premise seems like it has solid potential. I was also pretty thunderstruck by how well it sold — we were out by Friday, and I placed a reorder of 50% of my initials, which basically never happens, unless you’re talking about initials under 5 copies. My initials here were my third highest order of the week. VERY GOOD.

OUTSIDERS #26: Really, the Eradicator? Eh.

PHANTOM STRANGER #42 (BLACKEST NIGHT): I don’t understand how the Black Lantern rings can control the Spectre, which is an aspect of Capital G God, but I guess it makes sense to someone, somewhere. I also don’t like the Phantom Stranger being much other than DC’s The Watcher — he actually DOES stuff here which seems wildly out of character, but then what do I know? Merely OK

RASL #6: This, on the other hand, was really superb — it’s taken a while for RASL to get up to speed, but now it is cooking on all burners, and I’d really quite like to read the next issue now now, right now. EXCELLENT.

STARMAN #81 (BLACKEST NIGHT): You may not be able to go home again, but you can at least do a drive by. I’m not certain I agree with all of Robinson’s choices here, but who cares what I think — these are clearly his characters and his Proper Voice, and I think I’m glad that he’s been writing some not very good comics this last year because I went into this with low expectations, and had them greatly surpassed. I thought it was VERY GOOD.

SUPERMAN / BATMAN #68: The Hat Trick in my “Double-you-tee-eff” week as I wonder why anyone thinks that anyone is interested in post-game “Our Worlds at War” crossovers. Plus, it kinda wasn’t anyway. This is now official a comic book series Without A Point. AWFUL.

As always, what did YOU think?


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