Posted by: Brian Hibbs on November 28, 2009
I spent almost all of last week sick and in bed — damn the plague bearing children!
But I owe you some reviews, I think, let’s see what I can do, in that Old School format…
BLACKEST NIGHT #5: Really all that one wants out of a big Comics Event (well, or any comic for that matter) is to be surprised a little, to have that “Neat, I didn’t see THAT coming!” moment. And this issue of BN certainly gave me that pretty substantially. I also liked that the Rainbow Squad did exactly nothing. I’m going to go with VERY GOOD here, especially given that this is the issue a lot more people are likely to buy because of the GL ring attached to it.
Parenthetically, there’s a great deal of talk about “Superhero Decadence”, which made me think a lot about some of the issues raised in this article about Soap Operas. It really sounds incredibly similar to me….
CHEW #6: Second arc, and it starts promisingly. I thought the end of arc #1 was a bit telegraphed (I’ve probably consumed too much fiction over the years to be surprised), but I liked the dynamic set up here, and thought the funny was funny. GOOD.
CREEPY COMICS #2: A much better effort than the first issue (which I thought was, frankly, terrible) — I didn’t exactly LIKE any story in here, but I, at least, didn’t HATE them, which is a huge step up. Writing this kind of “Ironic Horror” story is really really difficult, it seems. A solid OK,and let’s hope it keeps scaling up.
DETECTIVE COMICS #859: It is almost tiresome how good this is — how can one keep heaping superlatives on a book month after month? I rather do think this is the best thing DC publishes each month, and it is a stupendous and ballsy project to have in DC’s “flagship” title. I even thought Rucka’s Lesbian Fascination has extraordinarily well done this issue, comparing it against the dictates (both legal, and moral) of her Army career. I simply can not wait for the Absolute edition of this book, because it is just that good. EXCELLENT.
Sales-wise, for us at least, we’re now selling nearly twice as many copies of ‘TEC as we are of generic-BATMAN at this point post-relaunch. And something approaching 80% of BATMAN & ROBIN (though that’s a function of Tan’s art on the latter more than anything else, I think — there’s been a pretty steep drop off between the first arc and #4-6).
GREEN LANTERN #48: Johns is doing a good job “fleshing out” scenes from BN to be full-sized stories in GL, without seeming like padding. That’s a neat trick. Now that the Rainbow Squad are all together, I find myself really really enjoying the Orange Lantern characterization. Solidly GOOD.
IMAGE UNITED #1: Jinkies. While I approve, certainly, of “getting the band back together”, and I think they’re doing a good job with the logistics of having everyone draw their own characters, hrf I think that was pretty sucktastic of a story. It felt more like a circa 1993 Image comic than anything they’ve published in the last ten years… and that’s not really a complement. Robert Kirkman’s main contribution, it seems? Pariah. Got to go with AWFUL.
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #20: Here’s where I don’t get Marvel’s marketing — this book has two covers. One is exciting and futuristic looking and encapsulates the story, and might even sell some comic books just on its own virtues; while the other one is a too-blown-up version of a (IIRC) house ad, that looks craptastic from being blown up, and blows the “punchline” by having it on the back cover of the book. When retailers say “Really, we’d like to be able to order covers as we want them in our store, please”, I think I might point to this as exhibit A — this decision will almost certainly have me selling FEWER copies of IRON MAN, than more.
Total shame, too — Fraction is doing astonishing work on this book, writing a futurist with a plan; I can’t even imagine how hard it is to write someone who is clearly that much smarter than the rest of us — and he’s doing it completely convincingly. Without a doubt this is my absolute favorite Marvel comic released each month right now, and, hopefully, this arc will keep the quality as high. VERY GOOD.
JUSTICE LEAGUE CRY FOR JUSTICE #5: Its getting better. OK
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #39: This, on the other hand, is as generic of a BN-crossover as one can be. Wow, Vibe AND Steel? I’m scared! AWFUL.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #33: Since the start of this arc, we’ve lost over half of our readership for it. And when they split this into two titles next week (“JSA ALL STARS”), I think we’re going to lose half of it again. This is a classic case of “What the hell are you thinking?!?!” While I guess I like a DC management who wants to publish many JSA comics more than I liked the DC management who once famously said “No one whatsoever wants to read about these characters” when canceling the Mike Parobeck run, one needs a plan a bit more substantial than “publish a lot of books, maybe someone will want them”. This story arc couldn’t even be arsed to hint at why all of these characters were attacking, or why they weren’t attacking the SSK, all the while rubbing the “Heh, see the A-storyline has NOTHING to do with the B-storyline WHATSOEVER” in the audience’s face. Completely AWFUL.
NEW AVENGERS #59: Pretty preposterous that everyone acts that stupid because the plot dictates that they do, and, god, will I be glad when “Dark Reign” is over (and, based on my sales, my customers are even more eager for that then I am), but if one were to ignore all of that, this was a solid enough action-packed issue. OK.
NEW MUTANTS #7: With better art this could have been great. Heck, with backgrounds (instead of just swaths of color) this could have been great. Instead, it’s just kind of EH.
POWERS #1: Two years later? Lost a lot of momentum. Not really feeling it anymore, but maybe that will change again if issues come out regularly. OK
SECRET WARRIORS #10: What happened to the premise of the book? You’d especially think that in the run-up to the end game of “Dark Reign” this would actually be about the “Secret Warriors” rather than just one character, but maybe that’s me. OK.
SUPERMAN #694: While this felt more like a “Superman” comic than any other recent issue, it’s still just a Mon-El comic in somewhat different clothes. Which is fine, I guess, but not what people want from “Superman”. Our sales have been really atrocious on this whole line lately. OK.
SUPERMAN SECRET ORIGIN #3: This is closer to what I was hoping for from this project than what we got from the first two issues — actually adding facts and information and perspective to the legend of the character. I’ll go solidly GOOD on this one.
THOR GIANT SIZE FINALE (BY JMS) #1: Dismissing the story he’d been writing up to this point in about 5 pages, the rest putting the Don Blake/Thor status quo back to where it was in 1968… “There’s no heart to this” drips from every page. Too bad, this was one of the most exciting Marvel projects in a bit, and now it’s been folded awkwardly back into the general Marvel U — I’m expecting the sales to drop back pretty Darn Quick. EH.
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #4: Sometimes I wish Millar wasn’t as enamored with being as clever as he thinks that he is, and that he was just clever once again. OK.
What did YOU think?