Posted by: Brian Hibbs on December 5, 2005
IMAGE COMICS HC: Well, that’s a pretty….astonishing document, isn’t it? From a production stand-point, this is a pretty terrible looking book — the chapter pages with that dot pattern straight out of WHO’S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE (except with rainbow colors!), stories that bleed into the gutter (The SAVAGE DRAGON story was hardest to read because of that), text pieces that are laid out so your eye doesn’t track them properly, numerous typos of all kinds and stripes (Mistaking “loose” for “lose” is one of my biggest pet peeves of all), etc. and so on.
Content-wise, it’s weirder than weird, too — a SAVAGE DRAGON story that makes the character a repulsive beast; a CYBERFORCE story continued into JLA/CYBERFORCE, a comic that came out, what? 18 months ago?; a SPAWN story that was the very definition of “phoned in” (besides the utter lack of anything to say that hasn’t been said 27,894,356 times before, you really have to wonder how Toddy thought he could get away with a number of spot-illos, rather than doing panel-by-panel continuity — THAT took him 4 years to draw?!?), and a perfectly adequate SHADOWHAWK story, again, predating the current comic.
There are text pieces that feel schizophrenic — moving from celebrations of creator ownership, to Todd’s listing of the Work-For-hire people he has doing spawn, and back again as though it is all the same; or that “Image timeline” that reads more like it is actually about MARVEL than Image. Or what about the back cover text that made me feel like the other Image founders are dead or something (“Well, they’re dead to us, man!!!”)
It is really hard to think of this as anything other than AWFUL, except that, in many ways, it is a perfectly perfect presentation of the schizophrenia of Image, which might, thus, make it a GOOD as a document.
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #646: Loved the art, really really loved the coloring, and liked much of the beat-by-beat content (Except for the Lois bits, which don’t parse very well), but WTF on the Ruin reveal? That’s nearly as clumsy as “It’s Vice President Pete Ross!”, which was very clumsy indeed. Despite that, a very solid and high OK
AMAZING FANTASY #15: I don’t think this “Spider-Man” character is going to catch on, I mean, who likes spid…. er, wait, wrong AMFAN #15! Actually, this one was an earnest and well-meant little package, but I don’t see any of these c-listers sticking around at all. None of the stories felt like an entire thought, either — I had the sense that this was written by everyone involved between subway stops as they waited to get home that night. I chuckled once or twice, and kinda grinned once, but, overall, I’ll go with EH for the whole package.
BATMAN #647: Largely prolonging the story without adding anything new to it, I still thought this was a pretty solid single issue, looking at it alone and by itself. a low GOOD, I think.
DOOM PATROL #18: Let’s start a poll to see how long it takes before someone retcons this away as a Crisis-related alternate earth, or a bad dream sequence or something. I say…. 72 hours! EH.
EXILES #73: the celebration of the New Universe continues, and I found myself suprised and nodding that, huh, I actually have a certain amount of vestigal affection for those guys. I also really liked the use of Proteus, and was pleased that they (at least for now) had the stones to do what they did with Calvin. This isn’t art — it is superhero silliness, but I am shockingly entertained by this book, and feel OK about giving this a (low) VERY GOOD, as long as you understand all that they’re referencing.
FELL #3: No real problem loving this issue to pieces; we’re three-for-three now, and I think it was EXCELLENT.
GENERATION M #1: A somehwat interesting lead, a nice “human angle” on the HOUSE OF M stuff, well written, decently drawn — well, it may be ultimately superfluous, but I liked this issue enough to go with a low GOOD.
INCREDIBLE HULK #89: Our HULK sales have dropped into the basement lately — I think a lot of people had a lot of hopes for the Second Coming of PAD, and when that… didn’t exactly work out….decided, en masse, that they could finally walk away from the character. Sadly, not much here is going to change anyone’s POV, I don’t think — Nick Fury seems wildly out of character (Kill the Ruskies! KILL!!!), and the premise of asking Banner to get the Hulk to do something makes it seem like that nobody up there has read a Hulk comic in the last 3 decades. On the low side of AWFUL, but AWFUL nonetheless.
JLA CLASSIFIED #14: Colorists should read the captions on the pages they’re coloring, yes. This is pretty by-the-numbers JLA-fluff, sorry to say, and I got real bored of it about halfway through. EH.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #12: Graeme’s review (below) is just about perfect — this absolutely should have resolved this issue. ALso, am I the only person who doesn’t see Supergirl (be it the new one, or some sort of a Power Girl-becomes one scenerio) as fitting in in this team or world at all? I’ll go with an OK for this issue, but expected much more….
MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2005: The Ultron story was charming and funny (but was about 1/4 too long — would have been much funnier and poignant if it was chopped down), while the other two were pretty instantly forgettable. Still, who expects anything from a holiday-theme package of superhero comics? So…. OK
NEW AVENGERS #13: I thought Echo was deaf? So, how is she reading everyone’s lips through that big ponderous mask, while thier heads are turned? How can she understand ANYthing Iron Man has to say? His lips never move! I also thought she was mute, too… or at least, y’know, deaf-speech, but that might just be a false reading on my part. If you put all of that aside, I suppose this was OK… but I can’t put that aside at all — IRON MAN HAS NO LIPS TO READ, man! AWFUL.
PLASTIC MAN #19: This gets a “GOOD” just for the “Shirtless Fighting!” stuff, but here’s a comic aimed at an audience not reading regular DCU books, referring incessantly to DCU books. No wonder it can’t find either audience. Still, that “Shirtless Fighting!” stuff was just fucking grand.
TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #35: Worth it just for the pictures of the Darth Vader/Slave Leia wedding pictures at the back. Honestly. How fucked up can the Direct Market really be when stuff like this has found 35 issues worth of an audience? AWFUL, but in a subversively enjoyable way…
ULTIAMTE FANTASTIC FOUR #25: This seems like a non-starter of an idea to me – while it is a very clever twist (and, really, the best part is that Lester was wrong about Namor hitting on Sue’s mom), there doesn’t seem to be anywhere whatsoever this can possibly go. I’m also starting to get a smidge sick of the stiffness of Land’s art. — some individually pretty pictures, but there’s no flow or life to it of any kind. PLus namor’s hair looks fine in battle, but like complete shit in the non-fighting panels. I’ll go with a very low EH.
USAGI YOJIMBO #89: An interesting pre-emptment of the “if you don’t see a corpse” thing. If there was any justice in the world, this comic would be selling 100k copies a month. GOOD.
WOLVERINE #36: Lots of nothing in the first half, while the last few pages of everyone buring documents and smashing computer screens (?! Sure, that will help!) sets up… well, very little. Does anyone actually care about “the secrets behind Weapon X”? I know I sure don’t. OK.
WONDER WOMAN #223: Again, Graeme has the right shape of things (below) — two years of various buiuld-ups all seemingly thrown on the ash heap of INFINITE CRISIS. The individual content of this issue was acceptably OK (But, much like the Asgardians, or the Atlanteens, I honestly don’t care about the Amazons, except in direct connection to Diana), but in the grander scope, this is AWFUL.
X-MEN #178: Surprised that G didn’t touch on the Shocking Last Page Surprise where they can’t apparantly even wait a full month before undoing some aspects of HOUSE OF M. Hopefully, this is a feint of some kind, but, even if it is, it is way too soon, and crosses that fine line between Clever and Stupid. This is why my X-MEN sales are at the lowest nadir they’ve EVER been at — if we continue at this rate, they’re going to vanish below 25 copies in another 6 months. AWFUL.
PICK OF THE WEEK goes to FELL #3 (no real surprise)
PICK OF THE WEAK is the lip-reading in NEW AVENGERS #13
BOOK/ TP OF THE WEEK probably goes to the supplemental book to the ABSOLUTE CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS HC
What did YOU think?