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Hibbs says "Hi!" to the New Year’s First Batch

Brian Hibbs

I’m going to try REALLY HARD to do an old-school review each and every week throughout all of the first quarter. Not sure if I’ll make it, but I’m going to TRY. Probably on Monday mornings.

AUTHORITY #18: Well, at least it has a nice looking cover, but, honestly, this latest semi-reboot of the WS properties doesn’t work any better than the last five; and it is stuffed and packed with so many characters that I really don’t care about any of them. Sad Panda says AWFUL.

BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #40: Sam Kieth is such an interesting creator — I don’t know that I much LIKE most of what he does, but I’m always fascinated by it. Sam gets back to the bat, with a 75-foot long cape, and lots of mood, and it’s not for me, but there’s a big squad of people who wander in once or twice a year asking if he’s got anything new. If you’re not up for Lobo, then here you go. OK

BLACKEST NIGHT WONDER WOMAN #2: Comics have a shaky enough entertainment/cost ratio these days that I think it is pretty much the cardinal sin of all cardinal sins to have an “and the last 21 pages you just read? Just a dream!” ending, like you get here. On the other hand, this exactly follows BN #6, and makes the sudden Black/Pink switch a smidge more palatable, so I’ll add a few points for that. But, no, “Just a dream!” keeps this at AWFUL for me.

BPRD KING OF FEAR #1: If you’re in the “I want Superheroes, but I’ve lost interest in Marvel & DC” camp, this really is pretty much THE book for you — it hits all of the powered soap opera notes one wants, and does it self-contained, and with extreme wit and verve. VERY GOOD.

CABLE #22: I just look at that issue number and shake my head in wonder that this storyline with Hope and all that has gone on this long. It isn’t badly executed or anything (in fact, this issue is at least OK), but that’s a long time for this particular thread to be running on and on, isn’t it? And what can CABLE even be about once it finally gets played out?

DOOM PATROL #6: Giffen tries to knot together the various (and contradictory) versions of the DP (and Negative Man, in particular), and does an at least decent job at it. I’ll be honest: I’d have been just as happy with “it was a bad case of indigestion”, but at least he gave it the old college try. Shame that this version has very little chance of even having as many issues as the Rachel Pollack run (which ran what looks to be 23 issues). I’ve grown bored with the Metal Men backup, too, sadly. EH.

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITTS MUSIC BOX #2: The trick, I think, to doing a good “Twilight Zone” style story is to have it flow inevitably from the premise, but not to foreshadow the twist at the same time. But the second they showed that staircase (page 2 or 3 was it?) I knew everything that was going to happen from then. Yikes, go back into the box! EH

JSA ALL STARS #2: Two issues in, and I have no idea why this book exists. Like every other “proactive superheroing” book (with the possible exception of portions of the original THE AUTHORITY), it looks exactly like every other superhero book out there. The JSA-CLASSIFIED-level backup feature and the extra $1 price isn’t helping matters, either. Preorder/subscription numbers on this title are about 1/10th of the parent book for me, and, looking at first week sales on this issue, I sort of don’t imagine I’ll be racking more than 1-2 copies by issue #4. It’s pretty EH, sadly, and the market is losing all room for Eh-level material.

SIEGE #1: Douglas had a lot of this right (as did Rich Johnston’s piece on much the same topic), though, ironically, I liked the “assembled army” picture that Douglas ragged on — I thought they were trying to channel “300”.

But, art problems, and stupid sloppy embarrassing production errors aside, the story just don’t WORK: while I understand the call-back to CIVIL WAR, why would Citizens of Marvel U think of Tubby as any different than a million other superhero characters, and, thus how could this lead to resetting the status quo? Even if the Civvies are dumb enough to buy the Dark Avengers thing, how does that explain the U-Foes showing up at the end, and wouldn’t THEY be blamed? And the whole sequence with the President simply doesn’t parse at all. Also: did I dream the whole Asgardians-are-living-in-Latveria bit? I don’t get how those storylines work together. Bottom line: this isn’t very good comics, at all. AWFUL, sadly.

SIEGE EMBEDDED #1: though this one is sort of worse: Tubby is just wandering around aimlessly, and no one notices, except when reporter guy just happens along? Muh? Then it starts with the “can we ask you a few questions?” thing, but it doesn’t look like they DO ask any questions at all? Plus you know that any comic with superheroes covered in blood spatter (scene does not appear in comic) is a winner. Pretty much CRAP.

STUMPTOWN #2: Even better than the first one. I love that subdued color palette, as well. Issue #1 looks like it has fallen out of print already (c’mon, Oni, you need to fix that!), and we’ve sold more copies of #2 in the first week than we did of #1 at the same time. That’s a CHEW or WALKING DEAD pattern. VERY GOOD.

SUICIDE SQUAD #67 (BLACKEST NIGHT): Solicitation-wise, it’s really stupid to me to have a differently titled one-shot leading back into an ongoing book (SECRET SIX) as part 1 of 3. Why not just have it be an extra issue of SECRET SIX without the numbering game, that is sure to confuse and befuddle consumers? It isn’t as if this really hit the SUICIDE SQUAD notes to fill me full of goodwill and love — it’s more or less Just Another BLACKEST NIGHT crossover. Strongly OK, but I despair of the marketing here.

SUPERMAN WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #11: Speaking of Confusing Storytelling Choices, this book (as well as POWERS!) HAS to learn that if you’re suddenly going to switch from single page layouts over to double-page reading flow, there needs to be much much more visual clues to do that, and, further, there really should be story reasons (other than, “I’m getting bored drawing 3×3, or whatever”) to do so. This is going to be ass in a bound format when the gutters swallow whatever small visual hints there are here. What? This issue’s story? Oh, it’s perfectly fine, but storytelling choices make me say EH.

WEIRD WESTERN TALES #71 (BLACKEST NIGHT): Adding nothing to nothing, Dan Didio tries to personally get some of the sweet BN money. Smells like Teen Cash Grab, and reads like it was written between stops on the subway on his way home at night. AWFUL.

What did YOU think?


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